LaVar Roberts passed away in the early morning hours of October 6, 2023, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Murray. Across the span of his 91 years, he was farmboy, a veteran of the Korean War, a businessman, a father, and an aficionado of the great TV westerns.
He was born on March 11, 1932 in Austin, Utah to farmers James Able Roberts and Caroline Conder. LaVar was the curly-headed youngest son of 11 children, the rest of whom called him simply “the Kid.”
In 1951 he married the love of his life, Varona Taylor. After settling briefly in Aurora, the married couple hauled off to Florida when LaVar enlisted in the US Navy. With a bit of clever maneuvering and a fair amount of bluster about typing skills he did not actually possess, he secured a position as the captain’s administrative assistant. He served in this role aboard the battleship USS Iowa from 1953 to 1955.
After the war, LaVar and his family, which now included Varona and two children, returned to Utah. He attended Snow College for two years and then was the first in his family to graduate with a college degree: a Bachelor’s in Industrial Education from Utah State University. He accepted a job with Phillips 66 By the mid ‘70s, he and Varona had six children, spanning from Dave and RaVae, the eldest and in their 20s, to baby Sheridan born on Christmas Day, 1975.
He was known as the Roadrunner to his friends and fellow gas station managers for the way he burned rubber to get to coffee and breakfast with them before they all opened their shops. They maintained this tradition long into retirement, even as LaVar stopped tending his gas pumps, and began instead tending to his roses and tomatoes at his home in Murray. Over the 60+ years he lived there with Varona, nary a yellow patch of grass could be seen.
In all, LaVar and Varona were married for 72 years. He was the last surviving member of his 13-person family and is survived by Varona, their six children, Dave (Debbie), RaVae (Ray), Vanette (Rich), Verlyn (John), Shanna (Mark) and Sheridan. They have 17 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.
LaVar was a man of many words, but always charming. With his family, he often let his big, bright, infectious smile say everything that needed saying.
There will be a viewing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 13th, at the LDS Farmhill Chapel on 1250 East 4800 South. There will be another viewing Saturday, October 14th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the same location. The funeral will start at 12 p.m. Following the funeral the grave-side dedication will be held in the northwest area of the Murray City Cemetery at 5490 S Vine Street.
The family would like to express their most sincere thanks to the RNs, CNAs, Chaplin Mike, active hospice including nurse Traci, and Casey his aid, and all others for the kind and loving care they provided for LaVar.
Flowers can be delivered to the LDS Farmhill Chapel on 1250 East 4800 South between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday the 14th.