The longest-serving editor in the history of the Baptist Courier held leadership positions including the board of directors of Associated Baptist Press.

By Bob Allen

John Roberts, the longest-serving editor in the history of The Baptist Courier, died Aug. 15, the South Carolina Baptist Convention news journal has reported.

john roberts editorRoberts, 85, died at the Rolling Green Retirement Community in Greenville, S.C., following a brief illness, the newspaper reported. Don Kirkland, his former longtime associate who succeeded him as editor, said Roberts “raised the bar of professionalism significantly higher.”

“His professionalism coupled with a love for, and a commitment to, Christian journalism and denominational service deserve highest praise and appreciation,” Kirkland said.

Roberts, a native of Shelby, N.C., graduated from Gardner-Webb College, Furman University and the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He joined the Courier staff in 1965 as associate editor and business manager. The following year he succeeded S.H. Jones as editor, and held the job until his retirement in 1996.

Before coming to the newspaper he was public relations director for Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina in Thomasville and editor of its publication, Charity and Children. He began his career as a school teacher in Gastonia, N.C.

Roberts served as president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 1979-80. He also was chairman of trustees for the former Radio and Television Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, and president of the Southern Baptist Press Association, which now is the Association of State Baptist Papers. He also served on the board of directors of Associated Baptist Press.

He was a member of First Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C., where he was former Sunday school teacher and deacon chair. Roberts is survived by his wife, Helen, six children and eight grandchildren.

Visitation will be held Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 from 9:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. in the narthex of First Baptist Church, Greenville, with the funeral service following at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary. Burial will be in Woodlawn Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 847 Cleveland Street, Greenville, S.C. 29601 or The Paladin Club c/o Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, S.C. 29613.