Alan Cameron Roberts passed unexpectedly Sunday morning, March 7th, 2021, at age 81. He is survived by his wife (of 59 years), Laura Roberts, two children, son, Wesley (Wes) Roberts, his wife, Lisl Liang (co-owners of SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, FL), daughter, Laurie Roberts Porter, and her husband, Jonathan Porter, (co-owners of Smog City Brewing in Torrance, CA) and three grandchildren, Emmett, Griffin, and Piper. He also leaves behind many precious nephews and nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces, brother-in-law, John Garner, and John's wife, Diane Ford Garner. He was predeceased by his parents, Ben M. Roberts and Dorothy C. Roberts.
Alan Roberts was born August 6th, 1939, in Louisville, KY. Before moving to Florida, Alan attended high school in San Antonio, TX, where he played semi-pro baseball. Instead of pursuing a professional athletic career, he elected to attend Trinity University, where he earned his degree in homebuilding. It was at Trinity that Alan met his future wife, Laura Sarah Kay Garner. Following graduation, he entered the United States Army, where he served in the Quartermasters Corps as a 1st Lt. After his military service, he and his wife, Laura, moved to Sarasota in 1963.
His Sarasota career began first selling homes with Harlan Homes and then as an auctioneer for Sarasota Art and Auction Gallery in both Sarasota, FL and North Carolina. From acclaimed auctioneer, he was drawn to become an entrepreneur, spending the next thirty years as a prolific local builder and developer. As his final development projects were completed, he realized a new aspiration; writing screenplays, publishing several novels including Bakeur's Dozen and Never Forgive, Never Forget, and writing plays produced in partnership with The Players Theater. He was also the writer and producer of a full-length feature film, Armed and Deadly, an action-thriller that was nationally and internationally distributed.
Alan was a showman and larger-than-life personality. In Sarasota, throughout the '80s and '90s, he was the go-to auctioneer for area charities, hosting live-auctions for more than 100 fundraisers and raising unknown millions of dollars for any and every cause that asked for his help. Beneficiaries included: SPARCC, The Out-of-Door Academy, FirstStep, Pine View School PTA, Pine View Foundation, Spanish Pointe, Cardinal Mooney Catholic School, The Oaks Club, Founders Garden Club of Sarasota, Brandeis University Alumni Association, Sarasota Film Festival, The Players Center for Performing Arts, Sarasota Alzheimer's Association, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and so many more.
He served on boards in his time as well, including the Players Center for Performing Arts, the Siesta Key Association, and many, many condominium boards.
He left an indelible mark on Sarasota as a whole, and Siesta Key in particular. A prolific builder and developer, responsible for both the design and development of over 500 condos inclusive of Crescent Royal and Sunset Royal (four buildings facing the public beach), Sunrise Cove (four buildings facing Turtle Beach), Windward Passage (two buildings on Big Pass and home to Sarasota's first $1,000,000 penthouse), as well as another ten buildings in the community of Ashton Lakes on Clark Road.
Alan was a true Renaissance man: a diamond and antiques auctioneer, a land developer, an author, a filmmaker, a veteran, an interior decorator, an entertainer, a builder, a golfer, a tennis player, a sailor, and one of the world's great storytellers. He loved to say, "Although I've had jobs since I was 13-year-old, I've never worked a day in my life." and he meant it, he always loved what he did. He was an avid supporter of theater and enjoyed a nearly insatiable thirst for travel, which took him and his wife to over 139 countries. Above all else, Alan was a remarkable father and husband. Alan and Laura married on February 2nd, 1962, Groundhog Day (so that it was impossible for him to forget!), embarking on a marriage that lasted an incredible 59 years.
Some sense of the man is captured in the wild impression he made on visitors to Siesta Key during his developer days. He could often be spotted driving one of his two 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertibles—one red and one white—with the tops down, always. The glamorous, Elvis-style cars always had an old, janky, over-filled trailer attached to the back carrying furniture, building materials and faux ornamental plants from one building site to another or moving them between his many condominium models.
Words fall far short of capturing Alan as he was a force, a bright light, and a beacon for many across Sarasota, his family, and beyond. He made friends everywhere he went and never failed to remind new friends and old that "his door was always open," and he meant it.
Those who wish to make donations in Alan's name can do so through the Alan Cameron Roberts Memorial Fund housed at The Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Click the button below to donate.
Alan Cameron Roberts Memorial Fund
Donations in memory of Alan Cameron Roberts.