William Richard “Rich” Roberts

William Richard Roberts (1)

William Richard “Rich” Roberts, 82, Olathe, Kansas, formerly of Shawnee, Oklahoma, and Wichita, Kansas, departed this earth for his next design adventure on June 2, 2020.

Rich was an interior designer and talented pen and ink, oil painting, and watercolor artist who was born on his grandmother’s couch on February 19, 1938, in Spiro, Oklahoma. He was the first child of William “Bill” and Zella (Chrestman) Roberts and the older brother of Suzanne. He cared about the marginalized and stood for social justice.  He raised five children who adored him and each other and was the proud grandfather of ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren who will carry on his legacy of kindness and acceptance.

Rich was greeted in Heaven by his wife Donna Sue (Trousdale) Roberts, who passed in 2016, his parents, his infant brother John, brother-in-law Gary Ray, niece Leigh Ray, sister-in-law Barbara “Bobbie” Crowder, brother-in-law Bob Crowder and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Rich and Donna’s marriage of 45 years was split between Wichita, Kansas and Shawnee, Oklahoma and was blessed with two daughters, Brooke (Steve) Haddock, and Jordan (Chad) Pope.

While in Wichita, Rich was the owner of Innerspace interior design firm and a frequent designer for the Wichita Symphony Showhouse. Spending time with his family, on vacations, and on quiet bass fishing trips brought him the most joy.

He was a founding member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity while a student at what was then Wichita University and he was also a member of the university’s tennis team. Shortly after college, he married the late Paula Bird, a union that produced three children, Bruce (Cindy) Roberts, Julie Roberts, and Laurie (Tony) Haynes.

His Goldendoodle George will live out his senior years in Colorado with Brooke and her family, just as Rich had one day hoped to.

Rich was so proud of and cherished his grandchildren Derik (Kristin) Roberts, Ashley (Michael) Ballew, Austin (Nathan) Byrd, Madison Roberts, Violet McCarthy, Henry, Charlie, and Theodore Haddock, Baxter and Brooks Pope, his great-grandchildren Joey and Ruthie Roberts and Beau Byrd, Rich’s beloved sister Suzanne (Roberts) Ray, niece Lynn (Don) Muse, bonus daughter Sarah Nguyen, nephews Rick (Brenda) Crabtree, and Todd (Ana) Crabtree.

The family expresses its sincere gratitude to SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital Shawnee and especially Dr. Anderson, Samantha and Jose, Evergreen Community, and especially Kendra, Jocelyn and Ariane, and Brookdale Hospice for their compassionate care and loving support in Rich’s final months.


A funeral mass will be held on Friday, June 12 at 1 p.m. at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, Shawnee, Oklahoma. A graveside service will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Memorial Contributions

Memorial donations can be made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Phi Delta Theta Foundation.



  1. Richelle (Shell) Lawrence Williams on June 10, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Dear Roberts Children,
    It has been many years since I have seen or talked to many of you. I was so sorry to hear about the passing of both Donna and Rich. I was not aware that Donna had passed four years ago. They were such wonderful people. Your families are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Laurie Roberts on June 10, 2020 at 4:03 pm

      Richelle, you were on our hearts as we gathered recently to share our fond childhood memories. So good to hear from you. Please send me your e-mail address so we can reconnect. laurieroberts1966@gmail.com

  2. Marilyn DeBoer on June 7, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Many years ago Rich helped us with our home in Wichita and a vacation home in Colorado. He was fun and easy to work with, and very creative. I’m sure he was loved by many and will be missed by many.

  3. Marilyn DeBoer on June 7, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Rich helped us with two houses many years ago, one in Wichita and one in Colorado. He was fun and easy to work with, and very creative. I’m sure he was loved by many, and will be dearly missed by many.

  4. Julie Roberts on June 7, 2020 at 12:23 am

    Thank you Brenda for your kind words.

  5. Brenda farha on June 4, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    A beautiful and fitting obituary for a wonderful talented man. May he Rest In Peace and May god comfort all his family

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