Sports Fan 100.5 Sales Manager John Roberts passes away after courageous battle with cancer

Updated: December 7, 2012
john roberts

John W. Roberts, 55, of Merrill, WI found peace at home, surrounded by his wife and children on December 5, 2012, following a 20 month battle with cancer.
John was born December 2, 1957 in Evanston, IL to the late Harriet Pirie and W. Donald Roberts Jr. He graduated from New Trier West High School and later from Columbia College in Missouri. He married Rebecca Becker on January 7, 1995 in Merrill.
John spent his entire career working in media; beginning at WJMT in Merrill and over time working at WJFW in Rhinelander, and finally at WXCO in Wausau. Many people will remember John as the voice of WJMT’s Auction Block, ‘Klinger’ from the MASH blood drive, the Little Red Wagon races, and the March of Dimes Walk for Babies. He also spent many years as a Merrill Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and member of the Merrill Evening Lion’s club.
His greatest joy came from watching his four beautiful daughters grow and turn into amazing young women. He was always beloved by all of the girls’ friends, considered by many to be a second dad. Being a big kid himself, he was always finding ways to create fun and laughter for any child lucky enough to spend time with him.
Anyone who knew John was quickly considered a friend for whom he would do anything to help. His infectious laugh and easy smile were like a magnet to everyone that came near him.
John was a die-hard Chicago Bears and Cubs fan, for which he took a lot of good-natured grief. His true passion was fishing; either on his boat or through the ice- the walls of his cabin are covered in his trophies. When he wasn’t fishing at the cabin, he was spending time there with his family and friends. He loved taking the kids tubing and making s’mores around the campfire.
Survivors include his wife, Rebecca; daughters Katie (David) of Portland, OR; Ashley, Emily, and Ally, all of Merrill. Sister Susan Casey, Naples FL; Linda (Dwight) Dendy, Caledonia IL; Brother Walter (Joan) Roberts, Kensington NH; Step-mother Maureen Roberts, Keswick VA; Step-sister Candy Reynolds, Palmyra VA; and Step-brother Matthew Pillsbury, Chariton IA. He is also survived by his in-laws, David and Kathy Becker of Merrill, Brother-in-law Kris Becker, Merrill. Uncle John will be missed by his nephews Brian, Kevin, Kristopher, Logan, and Lucas; and his nieces Jennifer, Jamie, Megan, Jenna, and Jade. He was preceded in death by his mother, Harriet Pillsbury; father W. Donald Roberts, and step-father Bill Pillsbury.
The family would like to give their sincere thanks to all of you who gave us so much love and support during John’s fight, especially our family, friends, and the wonderful nurses from Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.
Funeral services will be held at Waid Funeral Home in Merrill, with the visitation from 3-8pm on Sunday December 9, and the funeral at 11am on Monday December 10. Deacon Linda Schmidt will officiate. Online condolences may be made at