In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Leslie Thomas (Les) Roberts


Able Seaman, RCNVR


Born: 08 Jan 2024, Vancouver, British Columbia


Died: 25 Mar 2021


ROBERTS, Leslie Thomas (Les) - was born in Vancouver BC in 1924. His parents, Harold and May, immigrated to Canada from Manchester England just after the first world war. Les was the only son in a family of six children so was used to being spoiled by all the women in his life. His family struggled through hard times for many years and because of this, Les' big dream was to play hockey for the NHL and buy his family a house of their own. Les finished high school in Vancouver and joined the Navy in 1943 as an able seaman. He spent two years at sea in the tribal destroyer HMCS IROQUOIS. The IRPQUOIS endured many perilous times, including a torpedo going under the ship. The vessel was renowned for taking Winston Churchill part way to Quebec on a secret mission, which Les later found out was called. "Operation Octagon". After the war they also had the honor of escorting Crown Prince Olaf back to Norway. Shortly after being discharged from the navy in 1946, Les met and married his first wife Gert. In 1958, following a few years of working at the historic Canadian White Pine Sawmill in Vancouver, Les, Gert and their two daughters Donna and Pat, moved to Penticton, where he had secured a job as lumber inspector for the valley. After that Les started his own recovery mill called Green Mountain Lumber Company. Les was always a natural at sports and became very active with the Penticton Soccer Club, playing and coaching soccer, as well as helping organize tournaments for a decade with Charlie Goeckel, icon of Penticton Soccer for many years. Les also played hockey locally, and was given credit for saving the Penticton Vees when he chaired a crucial meeting for the team. Sadly, Gert passed away in the fall of 1982 at a very young age. Les met his second wife Julie in the Naramata Choir, where they shared their love of singing. Les was a well-loved soloist around Penticton and was often paired in duets with Helene Scott, founder of the Penticton Tuneagers, and Carol McGibney, founder of the Naramata Community Choir. Les had a gift for writing, and was esteemed as Poet Lauriat for every organization he belonged to. He had a knack of reducing his audiences to tears with his many hilarious poems and monologues. Les will be remembered for his happy, optimistic outlook on life and his kind, giving ways. He was truly a friend to all. Les is survived by his wife Julie, daughters Donna and Pat, grandchildren Mason and Blake, step children Tammy, Robyn and Dustin, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. A huge heart felt thanks to the staff at Haven Hill who cared for him so well during his time in their care. His family always knew, even during the last challenging year, that he was in good hands there. Due to covid restrictions there will not be a public celebration of Les' life at this time. (Okanagan Valley Newspaper Group 08 Apr 2021)


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