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Former longtime Antrim Township supervisor dies

October 07, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- An 18-year Antrim Township, Pa., supervisor and longtime supporter of emergency services in the Greencastle area died Sunday at Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital.

B.J. Roberts Jr. was 68 and had battled cancer.

"He was a visionary to make sure the next generation and generations beyond had a good quality of life," said Ben Thomas Jr., former Antrim Township manager.

Roberts, vice president of Medic 2 Advanced Life Support, lost a re-election bid in 2005, the same year he drove a tractor-trailer of donated supplies to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. He served as a standby snowplow operator for Antrim Township in the past.

Roberts, whose given name was Bissett Jeremiah, and his wife, Margaret Elizabeth "Scooky" Roberts, bought a 50-acre farm on Wingerton Road in 1970 and opened Holiquin Riding Center, best known for its youth summer camp. B.J. grew up on a dairy farm and later improved his horsemanship at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa.

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He trained thoroughbreds for the racetrack in Charles Town, W.Va., and worked with polo ponies.

Thomas remembers directing U.S. 11 traffic with Roberts during inclement weather several times in the early 1990s. Thomas was a police officer at the time, and Roberts had recently become a fire policeman.

Roberts always teased Thomas for stopping to buy peanuts on the way to the scene.

"He joined me in directing traffic and eating peanuts because we knew we'd be there for several hours," Thomas said.

The former township manager said Roberts, who served several years as chairman of the supervisors, took a special interest in the Mountain View Reclamation Center in Upton, Pa. Roberts wanted to ensure the landfill operated within the best interest of the community and negotiated fees that continue to generate revenue for the township.

"Thanks to several agreements he helped to negotiate, there will be funds coming in to support emergency services, and parks and recreation for years and years to come," Thomas said.

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