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Kevin G. Roberts, 73, Painter, Author, Beloved 'Poppy' In Westchester

Kevin "Poppy" Roberts, 73, at his favorite writing (and watering) hole: Black Cow cafe in the heart of Pleasantville. Photo Credit: Courtesy of family
Kevin G. Roberts Photo Credit: Courtesy of family

Kevin G. Roberts, or "Poppy" as he was called by friends and family, died peacefully in his sleep on Monday, April 22.

Born on May 10, 1945, in Lincoln, Neb., Kevin was the son of the late George E. Roberts and Cecelia Mahoney Roberts of Pleasantville.

He was a father to five, grandfather to four, one of seven siblings, and an uncle to countless nieces and nephews whose branches, roots and leaves grow throughout the Village of Pleasantville.

He typically graced the Black Cow, a popular coffee shop on Wheeler Avenue, where he was presented with an honorary desk name plate from the village mayor. This was where Kevin did the bulk of his writing.

He published one novel, "Decker," and was working on a second. Over the years, he published several featured Op-Ed pieces in The New York Times, a feat of which he was quite proud.

Right after graduating from Pleasantville High School in 1963, Kevin enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a soldier of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, known as the "Walking Dead;" they were the first U.S. combat troops in South Vietnam,  landing on the beach of Da Nang in 1965.

He returned from the war with spiritual scars that lasted a lifetime. But he was a fighter, a survivor, who prevailed and beat the odds.

He married his high school sweetheart, Linda Lewis of Armonk, in 1969 with whom he had two children, Tara Day and Kevin Jr., who both reside in Pleasantville with families of their own.

He was married again in 1980 to Dianne Ripley of Pleasantville. That marriage produced three children, Elizabeth, Mary and Douglas. Elizabeth pre-deceased him in 1995.

Kevin had the unique gift of being able to remain close friends with both of his former wives and they join their children and extended families in mourning and celebrating this very special man.

In 1987, he built a painting business from the ground up. His maroon swash signs could be seen all over town throughout the years and they remain standing even now as his son, Kevin Jr., took over the business several years ago when his father retired.

Kevin had a way of going full bore in his endeavors be it teaching himself yoga, learning to play the saxophone at age 55, or becoming a full on bicycle nut when he was in his late 60's.

Kevin returned to Vietnam for a Habitat for Humanities' project in 2009 that he found very healing.

He had an insatiable ear for music, old and new. And he realized his dream of becoming a disc jockey, hosting the weekly "Brother Kev's Killer Soul Show" on WVKR Vassar College radio.

His humor was wry and spot on, his laugh contagious, his temperament even, his empathy deeply felt, his smile always at the ready. His passion inspired many. He loved his children fiercely.

Kevin also is survived by his sisters, Karen Bucci (Marshall), Christine Natlo (William), Cecelia Passabet (James); and his brothers, George and Jerry (Suzanne). He was pre-deceased by his sister, Kathleen Roberts.

Other surviving family are his daughter-in-law, Carrie Roberts, wife of Kevin Jr. and mother to his grandsons, George and Cian Roberts; and his oldest grandsons, Samuel and Harrison Ermark, sons of Tara Day Roberts.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, April 30 at the Beecher Flooks Funeral Home in Pleasantville from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Burial with Military Honors will take place on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla.

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