Funeral Mass was celebrated on April 18 at St. Bernadette Church in Los Angeles for Father Allan John Roberts, who died on April 11. He was 71.
Father Al, the son of Ernest & Eunice Roberts was born November 9, 1944 in Los Angeles, California. He attended Transfiguration grade school. He wanted to attend seminary high school but his parents felt he was too young to make that decision. If he still had the desire to become a priest, he could attend after high school. He attended St Agnes High School, which closed, and graduated from St John Vianney High School (later renamed Daniel Murphy). He was always sincerely devoted to his family and the church and attended St John's Seminary right after graduating from high school.
Shortly before finishing his undergrad studies, he left St. John's and joined the Navy March 21, 1966 as a signalman. He served his country with honor, performing 3 tours in Vietnam during the height of the war. Upon his return, he worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter for the Automobile Club of Southern California, followed by the launch of his own insurance company serving the local insurance needs of his community. During this time, he completed his undergrad studies at Loyola University. However, the call to serve Christ was still very strong. After less than two years of running his own insurance business, Allan returned to St. John's Seminary to complete his theological studies. On October 4, 1980, he answered the call to priesthood and was ordained.
Allan had a profound love of music. He started with piano lessons at the age of six and faithfully continued them well into high school. His music opened many doors for him, including the opportunity to work with and be mentored by Dr. Paul Salamunovich. Allan played the organ for many choirs, sang with many choirs, directed many choirs, had a small part singing for a movie and even tried writing a musical with two other priests. He had perfect pitch and loved singing the liturgy. His bass voice will definitely be missed.
Fr. Al's journey to the priesthood was the foundry that helped him hone his commitment to Christ and his community. Coupling the teachings of Christ with that experience, he was able to provide a deep empathy for those he served...and he served many. He served at many parishes throughout the southland including Maria Regina, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Francis De Sales, St. Dorothy, and St. Maria Goretti. He was finally called to pastor at St. Bernadette's, a church in the community where he grew up. Fr. Al was a man who never lost his commitment to Christ and his fellow man; an amiable and personable soul who was a delight to meet and especially to know; a man whose belief in Christ and the teachings of the church were unshakable even in the light of so many modern moral dilemmas.
Fr. Allan J. Roberts is survived by two aunts (Ada Rideau & June Palao), his siblings (Rosalie Roberts & Ernest Roberts), six nieces and nephews, ten grand nieces and nephews, and a plethora of relatives and friends, of which he had so many. Fr. Al, we all miss you. Though there is a hole in our lives with your passing, we know you go on to serve Christ in much greater endeavors.