Donald Roberts

Obituary of Donald S. Roberts

FRANKFORT – Donald S. Roberts, age 66, lovingly known throughout our community as “Pontaloon”, passed away peacefully on Thursday morning, January 7, 2021, after a brave battle with cancer. His passing occurred at the Siegenthaler Center with his loving family by his side. Born on July 27, 1954, Donald is the son of Mary (Petrell) Roberts and the late Donald S. Roberts, Sr. He was raised and educated in Frankfort, graduating from Frankfort-Schuyler High School with the Class of 1973. After completion of his schooling, Don began a career in the trucking industry and he drove for various companies including: Oneida Motor Freight, B&R Motor Express, Overnight Transportation and UPS, amongst others. He retired in 2017 after many years of hardworking and dedicated service. On July 27, 1985, Donald was married to the former Debra Tisi in St. Mary’s Church, Frankfort, by Rev. Alfred A. Lamanna. Together they shared in a loving and devoted union of over thirty-five years. Don was truly a one-of-a-kind individual who had a lasting impact on every person whose paths he crossed with. His stubborn, gruff and sometimes even crass exterior, were only cover-ups for the sensitive soul he was on the inside. His daughters teasingly referred to him as a marshmallow, a softy who cared deeply for those in his life and whose tears of both sadness and joy were well-known (and often teased about) by his friends and family. He had a quirky sense of humor and wittingly made us all laugh at times when we needed it most. His one-liners and his eccentricities were what made him so lovable. He was truly an old soul and could often be found watching old movies, listening to his extensive record collection or singing along to show tunes from a time before he was even born. He was a collector of trains, antiques and all things peculiar. He loved garage sales and bargain hunting and his “treasures” fill not only his home, but also his garage, the homes of others, and the rooms of the St. Francis di Paola Society! For over twenty-eight years, our beloved Pontaloon has been the active President of the St. Francis di Paola Society in Frankfort, taking over for George Daley in October of 1992. His dedication to the club, its membership and its traditions were exceeded by none. Throughout the years he has been an integral force in the club’s festivals, events, Communion breakfasts, fundraisers and day-to-day activities. Year after year he was the proud Conductor of the lawnmower train float in not only the St. Francis Festival parade but in other events throughout the Mohawk Valley. His presence, leadership and commitment to the Society will be dearly missed and his shoes will never truly be filled. As a family man, Donald surpassed them all. He had a unique bond with his beloved grandsons and any time spent with them were times that he was happiest. He was lovingly known as “Papa” to Bert, Logan and Carter; and as “Grandpa Kitties” to little Rocco. He would famously tease his boys at any chance he could get and they brought so much joy to his life. He not only had a soft spot for children, but for animals as well, and his antics earned him the title of “animal whisperer.” Donald’s community was extremely important to him, as was evidenced through his involvement throughout the years. The Frankfort Kiwanis awarded him the recognition of Outstanding Citizen in 2015-2016; an honor of which he was truly worthy of. Ultimately, even with all of his many accomplishments, Don was a humble man who held a deep faith and spirituality. He was a lifelong parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in Frankfort and his Catholic faith and traditions were extremely important to him. His family takes comfort in knowing that he is now reunited with those who have passed before him and in the loving presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Don is survived by his beloved wife, Debbie; his daughters and sons-in-law, Tamara and Bert Doolen of Frankfort and Karie and Scott Mathews of Whitesboro; his grandsons, Bert Doolen, Logan Doolen, Carter Doolen and Rocco Mathews; his mother, Mary Roberts of Frankfort; his siblings, Jeff and Pat Roberts of Herkimer, Sue and Mike Wren of Frankfort, Gary and Debbie Roberts of Whitesboro, and Barbara and Bill Bogacz of Hannibal, NY; his in-laws, Leonard and Debbie Tisi of North Dakota; along with numerous nieces, nephews and the many beloved friends and members of the St. Francis di Paola Society. He was predeceased by his father, Donald S. Roberts, Sr, his in-laws, Bennie and Rose Tisi and his sister-in-law, Linda Schafer. A special thank you is extended to the nurses and staff of the Siegenthaler Center for the compassionate care shown to Don and his family throughout his last days. Also, an ode of gratitude is extended to Dr. Din and his staff at Slocum Dickson for always being there throughout Don’s illness. Friends and relatives are invited to attend calling hours on Sunday, January 10, 2021 from 2:00PM – 5:00PM at the Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Road, Town of Frankfort, Ilion, NY (315) 894-8000. Members of the St. Francis di Paola Society will gather at the funeral home at 4:45PM for their ritualistic service. Donald’s funeral service will commence on Monday morning, January 11, 2021 at 10:30AM at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in Frankfort where his Mass of Christian Burial will be offered by Rev. Paul Catena, Pastor. Interment will take place in Mount Olivet Cemetery in the spring. For those wishing to do so, in lieu of flowers, please consider memorial contributions to Hospice and Palliative Care Inc, 4277 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford, NY 13413 OR to the Abraham House, 1203 Kemble Street, Utica, NY 13501. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Harry and Kevin Enea and Martin L. Ciaccia, Funeral Directors. Online notes of sympathy may be left at
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Calling Hours

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home
4309 Acme Road
Ilion, New York, United States

Mass of Christian Burial

10:30 am
Monday, January 11, 2021
Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church
S. Frankfort Street
Frankfort, New York, United States
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