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Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Carolyn "Lynn" Harrison Rice Roberts lived on a farm during the Great Depression where she learned to shape adversity with tenacity and grace. Her desire to get elsewhere brought her to California, in 1950, where, as a stewardess flying DC 3's for United Airlines, she met her future husband, Charley Roberts; a tall, handsome shot putter traveling with the UC Berkeley Track & Field team. Charley and Lynn married in 1954, had Robin, their first of three kids, and settled in Manhattan Beach, CA where Mark and Cindy were born. There they met a core group of lifelong friends on the sand volleyball court, raised their kids at the beach, and built a life framed by the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Food, music, museums and the mountains were cornerstones of Lynn and Charley's life together. Lynn and Charley attended concerts with the LA Philharmonic and plays at the Mark Taper Forum, blasted from the stereo Mahler and Beethoven's 9th at home, hiked in the San Gabriel and Eastern Sierra mountains with the kids, and visited local museums, art and music events. 1963 brought Julia Child and the French Chef to PBS and Lynn tuned in with Robin, Mark and Cindy lined up on the couch and used these lessons as the jumping off point to perfect her culinary skills. At Lynn's table, there was always enough for whoever might show up. In 1964, Lynn saw in a Sunset Magazine an article about Tuolumne Meadows and saved for a family vacation to visit the following summer. What started as a simple vacation destination became a much loved, and oft visited, tradition and Tuolumne became an enduring place of solace and enjoyment for Lynn and the family.

An avid reader, Lynn believed that well-informed, engaged leaders could create social change and felt that civil engagement was a responsibility. She joined the South Bay League of Women Voters where she bonded with another group of friends who remained close throughout her life and was elected to the Manhattan Beach City School Board where she promoted cutting edge programs including cultural exchanges for students in Central Los Angeles and the Manhattan Beach schools, as well as a program to 'mainstream' students who were deaf.

In April 1976, seven years after a cancer diagnosis, Charley died, leaving Lynn bereft and grief stricken. Always looking to find a way through hardship with action, she took up running (finished four marathons, and countless half marathons) and traveling (trekking in Nepal, safariing in remote parts of Africa, and visiting Russia, the former Yugoslavia, The Silk Road, and Europe).

In 1998 Lynn moved to Santa Cruz, California and began another chapter in her life in perfect Lynn style-volunteering at Norrie's at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, attending the Santa Cruz Symphony, becoming a member of Lifelong Learners, hosting bridge and New Yorker groups, birding, working out at the gym, writing impeccable one -line postcards to family and friends, and maintaining her encyclopedic knowledge and love of art museums and live music.

Lynn welcomed the arrival of each of her grandchildren and showered them with love and rapt, hawk-like attention. They adored her in return, earning "Best Nanny, Ninny, G'Ma" honors year after year from Tustin to San Francisco. Lynn also lived to see Charley inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, honored for setting school records in both the shot put and discus in 1954, breaking marks that had stood since 1941, and becoming only the fifth person in history to surpass the 60-foot barrier in the shot put.

Lynn said often that "My life has been a gift" and she lived her life as a quiet example. While ever modest about her accomplishments, she was a generous, tenacious, funny, loving woman who felt deeply, read widely, expressed herself quietly, and lived life fully. In 2002 Lynn wrote to her grandkids of her enormous love and pride for all of her family and told them that their grandfather had given to them "many of his best bits and pieces" - a love of competition, kindness, toughness in body and spirit, and a love of loud music. Lynn's life reflected and magnified all of these gifts for all who knew her.

Lynn was diagnosed with a progressive lung disease in 2017 and although it slowed her, she took it head on- with tenacity and grace. After getting an infection in late January Lynn never quite recovered to live her life in the way she wished, and she passed quietly on March 6th at home, on her own terms, with her celebrated humor and grit intact, surrounded by all of her children and grandchildren in a home filled with love, good food and loud music.

Lynn is survived by her children, Robin Roberts, Mark Roberts, and Cindy Roberts and her grandchildren Ella, Nina, Grace, Maya, Ryan, AJ and Masao. During her last months, Nina and Ella we able to be with their grandma for extended time with their steady hands and loving hearts. The family would like to thank Dena for her loving care of Lynn, which allowed her to continue to live at home when life got challenging. Lynn also leaves behind many friends, a few to whom she was deeply connected-Lois, Bobbie, Joan, Ann, Judy, Peggy and Iris.

If you wish to make a donation in her honor please consider these places that Lynn loved and supported: UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz Symphony, and any organization that promotes social change and will get out the vote.
There will be two Celebration's of Life:

Santa Cruz: June 23rd, 2019, 11:00 am at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA
South Bay: July 27th, 2019, 11:00am, at the Hermosa Beach Rotary Club, 2521 Valley Drive, Hermosa Beach, CA
Published in The Beach Reporter on Apr. 19, 2019
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