Taz Roberts (Gary Kimball Jr.) was born on a blustery January 15th day in 1969 in Missoula, Montana. In true Roberts’ fashion he entered the world: Gary slipped and fell as he was walking Linda to the car and dumped out the contents of her suit case, then parked and delivered her into the lobby of a motel. Upon this realization and subsequent walk back out to the car, he found himself stuck in a snow drift and having to chain up and continue on to the hospital. Given the name Gary Kimball Junior by his parents, an adored uncle thought the name Taz best fit his temperament and it was quickly changed. At that time he joined big sister, Cherry, and a lively clan of uncles, aunts and cousins, who remained his dearest friends until his passing. His formidable years were spent in the little town of Cove, Oregon where he hunted, started driving at age 10, rode motorcycles, met his wife in kindergarten and forged life-long friendships. He had a quick wit and laughter that drew all ages into his circle. Everyone, no matter their faith or their politics or their love of that four letter word, soccer, enjoyed spending time with him. To say that Taz loved the game of football is an understatement. In 6th grade he volunteered to be the manager for the middle school team. The coach, Mr. Garrison, called his mom and said that Taz couldn’t be the manager any more because he stood on the side-lines crying because he couldn’t play. He would practice plays in his back yard and once he even practiced his tackling skills on a pine tree. Once.
He excelled in high school in academics, was named Salutatorian and received a full scholarship to Eastern Oregon University. He also excelled in athletics being named a co-senior athlete along with his best friend, Jon Calhoun. It was during his senior year that he asked Sarah out on a date. She quickly replied, “I will never date you!” Taz never took no for an answer so one year later when he asked for help logging out some firewood, out of pity, she said yes! They were married two years later. He majored in Physics at Eastern Oregon University and proudly played football for the Mountaineers. When a football injury put him on the sidelines permanently, a beloved professor, Lyle Schwartz, encouraged him to try out for Death of a Salesman. Acting quickly became a passion and he was invited to attend Circle in the Square Graduate Theater School on Broadway. Selling everything they owned but the TV, they moved to New York City in 1994. While Taz excelled in the theater program, it was there that he met his Savior, Jesus Christ. His life completely changed in April of 1995 and he decide to move back to “God’s Country” to begin his family. Moving to Ridgefield, Washington, he quickly became active at Crossroads Church & Glenwood Community Church, serving with the college ministry, young couples ministry, children’s ministry and adult equipping ministry. He loved God’s Word and was a fervent apologists who had no match! His dear friend, James Niemitalo, hired him to frame houses and they worked together for almost 20 years. He then started a project management company and worked for New Tradition Homes, Ott Gaither and Gateway International.
Taz exemplified what a father should be. He was totally and completely devoted to raising up his three sons, Jonah, Tucker and Tanner. He coached many their baseball and football teams, spent countless hours on motocross tracks, taught them to snowboard and wakeboard and what it looks like to be a man. His favorite vacation was participating in the Bend Elks baseball tournament every Memorial weekend and sharing a home with the Harrisons and Radosevichs at Sun River. He was also deeply devoted to his dad, nephew Beau, cousins, uncles and friends. He made it a priority, no matter how uncomfortable he was, to make time for them and make sure that they had a good time. There were numerous Father’s Day Weekend trips to Wallowa Lake and Billy Chinook, Elk Camps (where no one had a tag), Jack Rabbit Camp, Centipede Camp, Whiskey Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, Fight nights, golfing and playing Snatch. He was also deeply in love with his wife of 31 years, Sarah. He found great joy in ribbing her and shared many great adventures with their dear friends, Steve and Tiffany Faulstick. Sharing life with someone for over 46 years lends to a oneness that never separates.
When Taz was diagnosed with ALS in November of 2011 he asked one question of his doctor, “Will my sons get this disease?” When he was assured that they would not he left the room to privately pray. It was at that time that he asked the Lord to give him the wisdom and strength to continue to train up his sons well. He shared with his wife that with the diagnosis nothing would change. His primary goal was still to raise up young men who knew their hope, strength and faith in the Lord was all that truly mattered while on this earth. He showed them what it looked like to never quit, humbly ask for forgiveness, show preference to others, and finish well. For nine years he never complained, never asked, “why me?” and never questioned God’s goodness. Not once. He knew his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was good and worked all things for good. He never faltered in his faith. Never. Not once.