The Raven Soars On

From left to right: Allen Boynton, Scott Jackson-Ricketts and William Roberts

From left to right: Allen Boynton, Scott Jackson-Ricketts and William Roberts

Yesterday we lost one of the shining beacons and solid rocks of Blue Ridge Discovery Center. Board member William Roberts succumbed to a long battle with cancer, but only after one amazing journey.

William dedicated his years of retirement to community service and in particular to the good of Grayson County through his commitment to democracy, mentoring young entrepreneurs and volunteerism. Over the past five years William served on the Blue Ridge Discovery Center Board of Directors. He guided us calmly through many difficult challenges with his wisdom and steady hand while also taking the time to inspire youth as a guide and instill in them a deep love of nature.

William Roberts was a man of resounding logic, never ending curiosity and consistent humility. He accumulated many life experiences which came forth in the most humble way possible, one of genuine love and acknowledgement of our shared journey. 

He spent many years of his life as a wildlife rehabilitator with a focus on injured birds. He healed those creatures with the same nurturing hand that he held out for our community. Those who knew William at all, knew his love of raptors and in particular his fascination with ravens. In many ways William embodied the best qualities of a raven, a wry sense of humor, a razor sharp mind, endless curiosity and even his skinny bird-like legs.

William also made time for his own self-discoveries through travels far and wide in search of avifauna, inspiration and enlightenment. He was a shining example of an endless explorer who cherished new vistas. He loved the shared experience of exploration and our journeys with him will never be forgotten.  

William was a man that believed in the power of science, the power of experimentation and critical thinking. Through his long battle with cancer, William repeatedly sacrificed his potential health for the greater good in hopes of assisting the study of this ruthless disease.

He left us with a model persona in which we should all strive to become, but most importantly he worked hard to leave this world much better than he found it. We at Blue Ridge Discovery Center will aim to carry that bright torch forward and do our best to stand in place of our fallen community leader.

We will forever miss him. May we all be as blessed as William was with curiosity, love and wisdom. 


Aaron Floyd