City of Gulfport honors WWII veteran George Roberts on his 100th birthday

Today, Gulfport city leaders celebrated a long-time resident and decorated World War II veteran who just reached a big milestone.

The date was March 1st, 1921. The Roaring Twenties are getting into full swing and a boy by the name of George Roberts was born 100 years ago. “I was born in England. Came to this country when I was three, so I lived in Pennsylvania, lived in Pennsylvania until World War II.”

Roberts answered the call to serve in World War II, serving in the Army Air Force as a radio operator and gunner on B-17 aircraft for aerial missions over Germany. He also received the Purple Heart as a result of his service. George’s son, Gary Roberts, said, “He flew 31 missions. That’s well beyond what was expected of him and they’d always ask him ‘Can you do one more?’ and he’d say yes, and he did.”

In 1958, Roberts moved to Gulfport, where he quickly made an impact on the community, becoming active at his church, refereeing basketball games, coaching little league baseball. “Gaston Hewes, the judge, he had a team. Bert Jenkins had a team, so I was in good company.”

George’s son Gary says he was married to his sweetheart Norma for 72 years until her death in 2018 and has always been a devoted dad to him and his sister Ellen. “He was very generous and still is to my children and to his great-grandchildren. Just a remarkable person who’s lived a remarkable life.”

After receiving a proclamation from Mayor Billy Hewes and the Gulfport City Council on Tuesday, Roberts is reflecting on 100 years of adventures and life here in South Mississippi. “With God’s guidance, I’ve had a good life. I stay loyal to my church, to my friends.”

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