Andrew Hamilton Roberts “Drew”, a loving husband and father, a raider on the rugby field, an authority on subsea wellheads and best mate known for providing good counsel and expert facilitation of shenanigans died Nov. 6, 2016 at his home in Houston. He was 65.
Roberts’s accomplishments as an athlete, student and businessman sent him to all corners of the world. When Roberts left his homeland, New Zealand, he carried a resolute calmness and a durable jacket, both enduring trademarks of his personal style.
Roberts was a standout on the rugby field. In high school at Wainuiomata College he was a captain of the First XV and led the school to the Wellington Regional High School first division championship. Over the course of his playing career he represented the senior first sides for The University Club at Victoria University (Wellington, New Zealand), Bay of Plenty (New Zealand), Aberdeen Grammar FPs (Aberdeen, Scotland), Garioch RFC (Kemnay, Scotland), and Scottish Northern Midlands, among others.
His athleticism was instrumental in bringing him to Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia as the first recipient of an academic and rugby scholarship. The Dominion Sunday Times in Wellington memorialized the accomplishment in an April 26, 1970 article titled “Rugby Boost for Virginia.”
During the latter days of his playing career, Roberts’s play was described accurately in a Scottish newspaper, “[a]ll that remained was for New Zealander Drew Roberts to make it 32-14 with a swashbuckling try in the right corner.”
Roberts’s accomplishments were not limited to the field. Roberts was a prefect at Wauinuiomata College, and his grades and leadership enabled him to attend Victoria University, Hampden-Sydney College, and Auckland University during his undergraduate education. Dr. John Hinchcliff of Hampden-Sydney College recognized Roberts’s success in a letter to the Dominion Sunday Times, “Andrew Roberts has acquitted himself exceptionally well academically, socially, and of course, on the rugby field.” At Hampden-Sydney, Roberts was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity. Roberts was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement where he drove African-American voters without transportation to register to vote.
He returned to New Zealand to finish his undergraduate education, earning a Bachelor of Science from Victoria University in 1976. Roberts received his post-graduate degree from the Secondary Teachers College Auckland and entered the professional world as a high school math and science teacher. Correspondence dated September 14, 1978 from the Principal of Mount Maunganui College indicates that his classes were “well under control in a secure, pleasant, and diligent atmosphere.”
Roberts’s sense of adventure led him to London, England where he began a career in the oil and gas industry that spanned over thirty years. His career was marked by many technical and sales achievements, including a major role in the research and development of the MS-700 Subsea Wellhead System. His wealth of knowledge will be sorely missed by his customers and colleagues. Roberts’s loyalty was unparalleled, with thirty plus years of his career dedicated to Vetco Gray, its various acquirers, and ultimately GE Oil & Gas.
While working in the North Sea oilfield, he met the love of his life, Rebecca. They were married in a small Catholic chapel in Corgaff, Scotland on April 22, 1983. Their marriage led to the birth of three sons, Alasdair, Calum, and Hamish, his pride and joy and greatest accomplishment in life. “Dad was a hero to me growing up and my mentor as I got older. I'll never forget the lessons he taught me about life in the time we spent together. He was great dad and a great friend” said his son, Hamish. One of his greatest joys was the addition of two daughters-in-law, Andi and Susan, whose love for his sons brought him endless happiness.
Roberts’s success in the oil industry, combined with he and his bride’s love for adventure and opportunity, brought his family to Melbourne, Singapore, and ultimately Houston. Despite a perpetual love for New Zealand and Scotland, Houston became home and in 2010 Roberts became an American citizen. Roberts’s longtime connections in the oil and gas industry led to the renewal and further development of many lifelong friendships during his time in Houston. Roberts will be remembered by his friends and family for his loyalty, sense of humor, kindness, and love. “I’m honored to have had Drew as my best biggest brother, lifelong friend, confidant, and sometimes partner in mischief” said his sister, Patricia Roberts. His final days were honored by multiple trips from New Zealand and Australia by his brother, Tony and Patricia. His personality really was larger than life. His lifelong friend and Best Man, Frank P. Thomas, III remembers him as a “solid gentleman.”
In addition to a successful rugby career, Roberts was an avid hunter, hiker, and gardener. Roberts could often be found walking the neighborhood in a rainstorm with a good pair of hiking boots, one of his trademark jackets, and his beloved Labrador Curam on a stormy night. “I treasure our friendship and the things we did together climbing mountains and having long discussions” said his father-in-law Richard Hurley. He loved hunting with his dear friends in Dilley, Fredericksburg, and Evant, Texas.
Roberts generously provided his time to charitable causes, particularly CYCLE. The organization focused on three things particularly dear to him: children; reading; and physical activity. “Drew was a tireless volunteer, Core Team member, and generous donor” said David Entrekin President of CYCLE Board of Directors.
The night before he died Roberts was joined by his wife, sons, daughters-in-law, Tony, and close friends to watch his beloved New Zealand All Blacks play Ireland. That night embodied everything Roberts loved: family; friendship; good wine; and a dram or two.
Roberts is survived by his wife, Rebecca; sons, Alasdair, Calum, and Hamish; daughters-in-law, Susan and Andi; three brothers and one sister; parents-in-law, Richard and Patricia Hurley; brothers and sisters-in-law; and numerous nieces and nephews. Roberts will join his loving parents Andrew William Leonard Roberts and Elizabeth Margaret Roberts in heaven.
A memorial mass will be said at 11:00 am Monday November 14, 2016 at Saint Ignatius Loyola Church 7810 Cypresswood Drive Spring, Texas 77379.
In lieu of flowers, please make charitable contributions in his memory to CYCLE: http://cyclehouston.org/in-memory-of-andrew-h-roberts/