Wilma Amalia Ballis Roberts, age 91, of Forked River NJ died peacefully on Thursday November 27, 2014. She was the oldest child of Joseph and Frieda Ballis. Born in Elizabeth, NJ she lived there until she married. After raising her family in Piscataway, she retired first to Lanoka Harbor, then to her dream home in Forked River in 1985. After graduating high school (where she played the trombone and cello) she worked a series of jobs in New York City (taking the ferry over from Elizabeth) – Later, she was a manager of a physician’s office for 19 years. She exemplified a German/Lithuanian young woman while growing into a true Jersey Girl (as a youngster enjoying weekly trips to the Jersey Shore).
She would later meet her husband, James H. Roberts on a Labor Day Weekend, walking the Seaside Heights boardwalk. A story she never tired of sharing, where “Jesse” walked up to her and her girlfriends and asked “Are you girls from Elizabeth?” … “He just guessed!” – He was in the Navy and traveled while writing what she called the “epistles” – they were madly in love and would enjoy a full life together at home with family or cruising and sailing the blue seas. Bickering and laughing, always.
Wilma went full force into all that she loved, was a skilled seamstress who could sew, knit, quilt, and needlepoint. She would go on to create everything from baby booties, wedding dresses, draperies, slipcovers, pillows, even large canvas framed needlepoints. It didn’t stop there, as her thumb was green, her pots were worn and her songs were heard throughout the house. She loved fashion, music, driving, fine art, family photographs, fresh vegetables, delectable cuts of meat and fish, her soaps, and a mandatory shower before bed. Most importantly, it was about being close to those whom she loved. She was known for having a sharp sense of style and a quick wit, she loved to talk!
She was active in All Saints Lutheran Church in Piscataway, singing in the choir and playing piano. She was a member of the Altar Guild at Redeemer Lutheran Church and later, Village Lutheran Church in Lanoka Harbor, NJ.
Wilma loved the beach and ocean and enjoyed vacationing summers on Long Beach Island, with her family and husband, “Daddy” – she was a skilled surf caster, sploosher, fisher, and wearer of hats (nearly no wrinkles at age 91). Upon returning to Forked River she enjoyed flounder fishing in Barnegat Bay, on her boat, Aurora. Wilma did not shy of nature; she loved her pets (poodles and cats) and was very kind to her backyard birds. She was a big supporter of the Humane Society, the Lakota Indians, and our local Popcorn Park Zoo. She was an avid swimmer “25 miles a day!” and water & land aerobic enthusiast who participated in these activities with a group of her friends regularly. She swam into her late 70’s, until she “started to sink” – There’s that wit.
She was devoted to her family and stood as a beacon of hope and help to those of us who came to her with our troubles and triumphs. She truly loved and honored her role as Mother and made all feel welcome when beside her. Wilma is predeceased by her husband, James H. Roberts, her brother Robert Ballis, and her parents. She is survived by her children, Paula Marie of Bar Harbor, ME, Norman Roberts, Adrienne Andrews of Forked River, NJ, and Joseph Roberts of New Plymouth, New Zealand. As a Nana, she was cherished by 5 grandchildren; Nathan, Heidi, Ashley, Jasmine, and Isabelle. Along with her great grandchild, Samuel Andrews, and her beloved friends, Marilyn, Ruth, Eleanor, John, Adrienne, Joe, Dolly, Steve, Nate, Sonia, Emma, and many furry friends. We find peace in knowing we will be forever warm under quilts and afghans. She inspired us all by the way she lived and through the examples she set.
A memorial service will be held for Wilma at Village Lutheran Church on Western Blvd in Lanoka Harbor, NJ on Thursday December 4, 2014 at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Family and friends are invited back to the house for refreshments, memories, and food.