That’s it. He’s outta here. Donald E. Roberts (aka Dr. Dirt) died peacefully on Saturday, January 6, at AngelsGrace Hospice, after a brief but hard fought battle with cancer.
He was born in Wales to Ruth and Gwilym Roberts on December 10, 1939 and grew up on the family’s dairy farm, Prairie Dale Farms. He resided on the property most of his life.
“Dr. Dirt” as Don was affectionately known, was a remarkable and spirited man who lived life on his own terms. He was an avid motorcycling enthusiast hitting the open road often and annually trekking to Sturgis on his Harley-Davidson Bad Boy. He made friends easily and was well-known wherever he went, whether hanging out at Elsa’s, mixing it up at Summerfest, frequenting biker bars and motorcycle rallies with his buddies or taking in a Badger football game in Madison. As a one-time student of UW-Madison, Don was a lifelong Badger fan. He left the university when duty called, returning to work on the family farm. As an avid sports fan he also rooted for the Green Bay Packers and Sundays were spent with family cheering on the Pack.
Nobody worked harder than Don. He proudly founded and ran Roberts & Son Landscaping and then Roberts Topsoil and he continued to work hauling dirt until the very end. Despite working tirelessly from sun up to sun down, Don also enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his six grandchildren. Don took pleasure in their shenanigans and the kids delighted in him. Don loved to meet his kids and grandkids Friday nights at Finn’s for a fish fry topping off the night with custard at Le Duc’s. For many years Wednesday night family dinners at the farm with Grandma Ruth were not to be missed.
Don, who was known for his generosity, frequently lent others a helping hand and was always ready to dole out advice, which the listener knew was coming because it would be punctuated emphatically by one of Don’s classic signature lines like “Think about it!” or “Listen to what I am saying!” While not a church goer himself, for years he made sure Jerusalem Presbyterian Church, his family’s parish, always had a Christmas tree.
Don was loved immensely and is survived by his children Kyle (Mary) Roberts, Marnie Roberts and Maria Roberts; grandchildren Shannon, Josh and Molly Lecher, Elizabeth and Megan Roberts, and Keegan Andersen Roberts. He is also survived by his sister Shirley (George) Conway and his brother Hal Roberts. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruth and Gwilym, his older brother Jack Roberts, his niece, Chris Enslow and his great niece Ruthie Green. In addition, he will be missed by nieces, nephews, extended family, friends and bikers too numerous to name. It’s been a helluva ride Dirt. We’re all going to miss you.
The family would like to thank the staff at ProHealth Care, including Dr. Saadati and the ICU staff, as well as the staff at AngelsGrace Hospice for their exceptional care during the last weeks of Don’s life.
Will there be a celebration of Dirt’s life? You betcha! Family and friends are welcome to gather at Jerusalem Presbyterian Church, Wales, on Saturday, January 13 from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The funeral service will be at 2:30 PM, followed by a reception in the church basement and then to Finn’s Bar & Grill, 220 Summit Avenue, Wales to remember good times and share libations. Burial will be at Salem Cemetery, Wales.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s memory can be made to Jerusalem Presbyterian Church.
And remember, as Dirt would always say, “Watch out for the other guys!”
Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, Crematory & Preplanning Services is honored to serve the family. For further information, please call the funeral home at 262-547-4035 or visit our website at
for directions or to leave the family an online tribute message.