Henry Philip Roberts, age 67, passed away on March 17, 2019. He was born in Nassau, Bahamas, on May 5th, 1951 to Percy and Audrey Roberts. To say Henry accomplished a lot in his life would be an understatement. An example of the American Dream would better suffice. A peace officer, semi-pro wrestler, entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, philanthropist, husband, father, uncle, brother, and grandfather are just a few of the many hats he wore in his life.
Born and raised an “island boy” in the Bahamas, Henry learned martial arts at a young age which served him well in his amateur wrestling days as “The Great Kuma” and as a member of the Royal Bahamian Police Force. He took particular pride in being given the nickname, “Shaft”, by his Bahamian colleagues and said that when a man’s life depends on the person serving next to him, he quickly learns that a person’s color is unimportant.
In 1976 Henry married the woman who would be his partner in love, life, and business for over 40 years in Kelly Kane Roberts. They lived in Nassau before moving to Harlingen in 1977. Shortly thereafter they purchased a small bicycle shop that has grown to four Bicycle World locations across South Texas. A self-educated man, Henry was never one to accept “good enough”. His drive to succeed led him to travel the world, visiting 4 continents in search of business and motivational mentors that he could learn from.
His competitive zeal and desire to win could also be a source of amusement for his loved ones; like the time he challenged his brother-in-law to see who could run the farthest without stopping. It was enjoyment for all the family to drive and ride behind two grown men as they ran for miles through town; sweating profusely, neither wanting to admit defeat.
For all of his business endeavors, there was also a generous soul. Whether flying his Bahamian nieces and nephews to Texas to visit a Dude Ranch, taking candy bars to his Harlingen niece and nephew, or employing the handicapped when others wouldn’t, most good deeds were done because it made him happy to help. Years ago, his family decided that all profits from their Jalapeno 100 Bike Ride would go directly to the Harlingen Boys and Girls Club. Across the years they, and the Bicycle World staff, have spent thousands of hours and raised thousands of dollars for Harlingen’s at-risk youth. Henry also served Harlingen as a longtime member and volunteer at First United Methodist Church, was a Toastmaster, and would often speak to the Harlingen Youth Leadership Course on conquering fear of failure.
A proud father, Henry and Kelly became parents with the arrival of their sons, Tracy and Philip. He took immense pleasure in watching each of his sons grow into strong young men. He spoke proudly of how easily Tracy bonded with strangers and customers and how he wouldn’t quit or give up. He also was happy to see Tracy’s musical talents as it allowed for him to have live Bahamian steel drum music. He equally got great pleasure from watching Philip excel at sports and delighted in his son’s talent at debating and public speaking, and for inheriting his ability “tell it like it is”. And for all the hard work together as a family at the Bike Shop, there were the many hours with Kelly and the boys on vacations, at Boy Scout events, and Sunday dinners with family and friends.
There was a love of the beach, Bahamian food, ice cream (rumors say he occasionally stopped at two different Dairy Queens driving between McAllen and Harlingen for a Blizzard), throwing knives, breaking arrows with his neck, walking across broken glass and hot coals with Tony Robbins, and a great love of laughing and lovingly teasing those close to him. He certainly would give you his opinion and, as he said, “called a spade, a spade,”.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother, and many beloved family members and friends. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Kelly Kane Roberts, sons Tracy (Erin) Roberts, and Philip (Mallory) Roberts, sisters Stephanie Treco, and Lynne Key, brothers-in-law Terry Kane, Stanley Albury, and Tony Treco, nieces Alana Carroll, Lori Thompson, Lee Ann Albury, and Hilary Cronin, nephews Ryan Higgs, Joseph Albury, Kurt Key, and Thomas Key, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews, in-laws, and most recently his beloved grandchildren, Riley Roberts and Kane Roberts.
A memorial service celebrating Henry’s life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. J J Wicke officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations of $20 Target or Walmart giftcards for the Blue Sunday Foster Teen program, which can be brought to the service or mailed to PO BOX 531653, Harlingen, TX 78553. Giftcards must be in $20 values. Donations of peanut butter for the FUMC Back Pack Ministry are also welcomed.
Our Superman has hung up his cape, but we can still look to the heavens, knowing he watches over us until we meet him again at the Gates of the Big Junkanoo.