STORY: No matter what ‘hat’ he wore, he wore ‘it’ well.

COCHRAN, GEORGIA: If you lived in Cochran for any length of time before 2012, you had probably met, been taught by, been a member of his church or you had the chance to see him in action on the city council or heard him pray at a community event or got your hair cut by Rev. Wilson Roberson.

His prayers were like sermons, I remember that.

Before his death at the age of 83 in June 2012, Rev. Roberson taught agriculture for 31 years in the local school system, and had served the community of Cochran well as a councilman for 14 plus years.

Married to the love of his life, Ruth, for almost 60 years, Roberson was a proud dad and granddad, and now great-granddad.

He was one of those types of men who shook everyone’s hand, always had a smile and if there was something that “got under his skin,” he handled it just like a Southern gentleman – with diplomacy and as ethically as he could.

When Rev. Roberson spoke, people listened – no matter their age, gender, race, religion. His booming voice garnered him much attention – and the way he carried himself – with self-confidence, character and … style. He could fit in with everyone.

That is just how he was.

Rev. Roberson supported the community and the youth in the community, and was an advocate for all people to have a good education. You’d find him at his children and grandchildren’s’ activities at the school, and when they graduated, he supported the children of the community.

I remember him telling me several times, in explanation, “Jesus loves all the little children – red, yellow, black and white.”

Rev. Roberson may have gotten earnest compassion for others from his family or background or it could be that it was just something he had since the day he was born.

Kind of like his talent for being a barber. Though I had only been to visit Rev. in his barber shop once – as part of a story for the newspaper – I got the sense that his barber shop held many traditions, many secrets and many memories for a lot of generations … and under the new ownership still does today, I am told.

Rev. Roberson started his career as a barber when he was 12.

But his love for the Lord was something that went further back. According to his granddaughter, Tishandra (Roberson) Mayfield, “Next to working as a barber, he loved the Lord and loved helping people.”

She continued in reflection, “He enjoyed meeting new people, making new friends and putting a smile on people’s faces.”

“He was a friendly person … always lending a helping hand in anyway that he could.” – RLH

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