With family nearby, Roberta Ellen Davis Dodge, 80, passed away peacefully at home, September 23, 2023 in Mesa, Arizona. She was born June 18, 1943 to Theodore Erwin and Eva Faye Davis in Long Beach California. Roberta had one sibling, Doris who preceded her in death.
With nine first cousins living in her vicinity in Southern California, Roberta enjoyed a happy childhood; cousin Georgia Hoffman was her favorite. The girls, took dance lessons together and were asked to lead those in attendance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in the Pledge of Allegiance. The girls were four and five. Roberta’s mother Eva was an excellent seamstress and made the girls adorable white satin outfits.
In 1949, Roberta’s family moved back to Superior, Arizona where her father worked in the copper mine. Life became difficult for the family. Roberta made the best of her situation by excelling in the Superior Junior-Senior High School; she sang in the school choir.
After graduation from high school in 1961, Roberta moved to Tempe to attend Arizona State University. Her aunt and uncle, Auntie Art and Ray Phillips, had invited her to live with them.
Fall semester Roberta randomly chose an English 101 class. Future husband, Paul Robert Dodge also randomly chose the same section. Paul was attracted to her: “This good-looking girl had something to say, instead of a head full of feathers.” When he asked Roberta out for a date, she quipped, “You’ve got to be kidding.” Paul said that Roberta heard about his recent break up with another girl.
The next semester they randomly saw each other on campus. Roberta had failed to find a ride home from a friend and was going to walk six miles to her aunt and uncle’s house. Paul said he could take her if she could wait one hour while he went to a class. Roberta waited. After the next two days of taking her home, Paul again asked her out on a date. She accepted. He said had never asked a girl out again, if the girl had once refused him. In May, Paul went to Superior to meet Roberta’s folks. Two months later they got engaged, July 4, 1962.
Roberta was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February, 1964. Paul followed her a few months later.
They waited to marry until Paul graduated from ASU so he could afford to support them. They married May 30, 1964, in Tempe 6th Ward by Bishop Marion Vance. Soon they packed up and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Paul had a job with Sandia Laboratories, a research laboratory that supports projects for national security issues.
Roberta became active in the Church’s Cub Scout program which continued for many years. The first and second children, Penny and Doug, were born in New Mexico. The other two, Judy and Nancy, were born in Arizona after they moved back for Paul’s new job at Air Research in Phoenix.
David and Maurio Fischbeck became their next-door neighbors in Tempe in 1971. Both families moved to Mesa in 1975 and were also next-door neighbors until 2012 when the Fischbecks moved–41 great years The Fischbecks attested to their neighborliness and kindness: they freely shared what was needed: from their telephone line, freezer, dryer, cardboard boxes. Roberta watched over the neighborhoods, the children and certainly saved them from harm. Over the years Roberta and Paul welcomed and nurtured at least twenty different family members and their kid’s friends to live gratis in their basement.
Roberta was a Cub Scout leader extraordinaire and Scout leader for many years. She helped more than 30 boys to attain their Eagle Scout rank. She also worked in the Church library and sang in the ward choir.
Roberta was always ready to help someone in need. One neighbor needed to have bandages changed twice a week in Phoenix. Year after year, Robert was there for her.
Paul fondly remembers when Roberta dressed up fully like a clown and went to visit a disabled child in the neighborhood. He remembers when Roberta did CPR on someone who had a heart attack during church. Roberta had worked in a hospital.
The two happiest times in Paul and Roberta’s very good marriage: one in their early married days in Albuquerque and later in when Roberta climbed into giant wind mills and helped Paul diagnose and fix problems with cooling wind turbines. For a year and a half they spent 24 hours a day a day together in the small confines of the wind turbines and then evenings in motels. In 1965, Paul and Roberta were sealed together for eternity in the Mesa Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Roberta is survived by dearly beloved husband, Paul; children: Penny Cluff, Doug Dodge, Judy Dodge and Nancy Ray; there are seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren; A dear cousin, Georgia Hoffman and dear sister-in-law, Andrea Dodge.
Thanks are in order to granddaughter Tammy Reischmann and husband Caleb for their home care of Roberta and Paul.
Services will be held Saturday, October 14, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1455 N Harris Drive, Mesa, 11:00 am. Visitation will commence at 10:30 am in the church.