Cover photo for Ronald James “Jim” Roberts's Obituary
Ronald James “Jim” Roberts Profile Photo

Ronald James “Jim” Roberts

d. March 20, 2024

Ronald James “Jim” Roberts

Ronald James “Jim” Roberts, a longtime resident of Hingham, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.  He was 82.

Jim was born in Billings, MT to Mary Pryor and Otto Paul Roberts and raised in Joliet, MT.  From a young age, Jim showed a facility with numbers, able to do complicated calculations in his head, and enjoyed the study of the Sciences. He credited his self-reliance and grit to being raised in Montana, characteristics that served him throughout his life. Jim had an engineer’s mind and capable hands, being able to understand and fix almost anything he came across. At 14, Jim moved to St. Louis, MO with his family and graduated from high school in St. Louis. He completed a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science at Grinnell College in Iowa in 1963.   

Jim joined the Army in 1967 and attended Officer Candidate School. He always described with pride the experience of becoming an officer, a soldier and a problem-solver. He served 2 years in Vietnam, and often recounted stories of his service with excitement and a seeming immunity to the concept of danger. To know Jim was to know he was a calculated risk-taker, someone who valued gathering experiences, who felt pride in his country and service. He was honorably discharged at rank of First Lieutenant and returned to Massachusetts.

On return home from Vietnam, Jim used his saved money to buy a little red sports car and started to integrate himself back into civilian life.  He met Eleanor, the young woman who would become his wife, at his friend’s home in Rhode Island and pursued a date with her.  Eleanor would relate her first impression was that he was “weird” but that she did want to go for a ride in his red sports car. They dated and married, and built a life together in Massachusetts. They were married for 51 years.

In many ways, the story of Jim’s life is the story of his business, Nantucket Sound.  At the start, Jim was selling electronics equipment out of the back of his car with only pictures of the product and his word to close the sale.  He grew his business to a chain with as many as six stores.  With the partnership of Eleanor, Jim ran the specialty, high-end electronics business with custom installations for 49 years: the last few decades primarily from their store in Hyannis.  Jim understood, along with his wife, that employees make the business and they treated their employees like family until they sold the business in 2018.

Jim was a dedicated provider for his family.  He valued education: teaching his children hands-on tasks from driving the lawn mower to parts of the electronics business to how to be handy around the home.  He had a love for science fiction, valuing the vision, hopes and warnings the genre had to offer. He loved to travel, go to the most obscure museum in any given city, constantly driven by his curiosity and considerable capacity for information.  He was an avid reader, enjoyed reciting poems to anyone who would listen, and appreciated varied conversation. He was a longtime, dedicated member of the Rotary Club of Hingham, his hometown for 44 years.

Even in the midst of multiple illnesses in his later years, Jim remained a fighter, taking back his health with sheer force of will. Eleanor was always his touchstone, his partner, the heart of his life. He always made time for his children and grandchildren. Devoted father to Jaime Roberts and his wife Josie of San Francisco, CA, Julie Roberts and her husband Jim of Hagerstown, MD, Devon Beal and her husband Paul of Hopedale, MA and Trevor Roberts and his wife Megan Patrick of Baltimore, MD.  Cherished grandfather to Nickolas, Mathew, Stephen, Maggie, Violet, Gia, Maxine, and Ellen.  Predeceased by his parents, Mary Pryor and Otto Paul Roberts and his brother, Neal Roberts.

A celebration of life will be held for Jim at the South Shore Country Club in Hingham April 19, 2024 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Jim may be made to a charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ronald James “Jim” Roberts, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life Service

Friday, April 19, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

South Shore Country Club

274 South Street, Hingham, MA 02043

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