Roberta Jean Light
Remember
Roberta Jean Light
  • January 4, 1933 - May 31, 2017
  • Columbia, Missouri

Share This Obituary


Roberta Jean Light



1933-2017



Achieving a life well lived – this was the goal, long ago attained, by Roberta Jean Light who passed away May 31, 2017. Loyal and loving, a champion for children and a standard bearer for justice, Roberta lived her 84 years as someone who remained true to her goal, years after her memory escaped her. An ice cream social, in celebration of her life, will be held at Shelter Gardens on Tuesday, June 13, from 4:30-6 p.m.



Born January 4, 1933 to Pauline and Oren Bumpus in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Roberta was the middle child. When Pauline died of tuberculosis, Roberta was only seven years old. Stella Bumpus later married Oren and became a second mother to the three children.



After graduating from high school, Roberta married Bill Winkler. He died six weeks later in the Korean War and left young Roberta to face another challenge brought on by loss. Never one to remain down for long, Roberta packed her bags, boarded a train and moved to Clearwater, Florida, not knowing a soul. She got a job at the Fort Harrison Hotel and lived on its premises when she met Donald Light through mutual friends. Don was working at a gas station for the summer before starting law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. They married that fall on October 3, 1959. While Don attended law school, Roberta worked in the Engineering Library until their daughter Leigh was born two years later. As their only child, Leigh was the center of their universe.



Don, Roberta and Leigh moved in 1970 to Nashville, Tennessee when Don became regional claims director for Shelter Insurance, where he worked his entire career. They lived there for 17 years until Don’s promotion to vice-president of claims necessitated a return to Columbia. Leigh got nudged out of the center of the universe when their only grandchild Clark came into the family in 1988. They were delighted when Clark moved with his parents to be closer to Don Don and Grandma. Grandma and Clark were best buddies and loved to build skyscrapers with blocks, visit local fire stations, play their own made-up card game, and listen to music. At age three, Roberta taught Clark to respond to the question, “What does Grandma do?” with “Grandma never gives up!”



Putting that mantra to the test, Roberta suffered another loss in the spring of 1997 when Don passed away at age 64. Her world shifted dramatically and yet, she held true to her “never give up” philosophy. She remained involved in the lives of Leigh and Clark and was supportive, behind the scenes, of people she might not even know. If she read an article in the newspaper or heard about a hardship someone was facing, Roberta would unobtrusively respond with gifts of money, handwritten notes and other supports. She never wanted a child to suffer and she put her money where her beliefs were.



Then, life took another turn. In her early 70s, Roberta developed vascular dementia. She was helped to remain in her home through the services of Home Instead Senior Care until she could no longer stay there and moved in 2009 to The Arbors at Bluff Creek where she was cared for by a staff who loved her like family.



Roberta is survived by her daughter, Leigh Spence, and son-in-law Sean, her grandson Clark Leyshock, and her beloved sister Barbara Hanna. Their brother Larry died earlier this year.



Roberta was strong and kind. She taught Leigh, and then Clark, the importance of being nice to people. With this in mind, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Don and Roberta Light Memorial Scholarship that will be given annually to a student at Muriel Williams Battle High School, where Leigh works. Don and Roberta were ardent supporters of education and helping young people achieve and would love to be honored in this way.



Memorial contributions may be made to Muriel Battle High School 7575 East St. Charles Road, Columbia, MO 65202.