CHERRY HILL, NJ – Burton Roberts is a 1938 graduate of Newburgh Free Academy. Today, March 3, he is celebrating his 100th birthday at his Cherry Hill, NJ home.
Roberts had wanted to join the Navy upon graduation, so he took an entrance exam in New York City. On his way back, he ran into a friend who encouraged him to take the test for the Merchant Marine and that is where he began his career.
Following his sea duty, he joined the Navy where he served for two years, from 1944 to 1946, as a lieutenant junior grade deployed aboard USS McLanahan during World War II.
At one point during the war, McLanahan returned to Boston and he was sent to damage control school in Philadelphia, where he met Mary Ann Tate, fell in love, and have been married for 75 years.
Following his stint in the military, he returned home and followed in his father’s footsteps in the produce business, and at age 49, he and his wife founded Burt Roberts Company, working for 35 years as their own produce dealers.
Now, at age 100, Roberts reflects on his life. “My time in the Navy meant a great deal to me. I was happy to do what I had to do, and I was very happy to come home and live a normal life.”