Community Leader Colonel Lawrence Roberts Dies At 81

He was a man of decency, humility and deep faith. Tuesday, Colonel Lawrence Roberts of Biloxi died of a heart attack. Those who knew him remember a man who had such a distinguished career and life.

As a member of the Tuskegee airmen in the early forties, Larry Roberts helped to break racial barriers in the US military. He was among the military's first black pilots.

He would serve his country with distinction for many years, retiring from Keesler as a colonel.

Just a few months ago, Colonel Roberts joined his daughter Robin, of Good Morning America, on a nostalgic trip back to Tuskegee. On that morning Robin, who called her Dad her hero, had a chance to join him in the cockpit of the same kind of plane he piloted nearly 60 years ago.

Colonel Roberts will be remembered as a man of dignity and quiet strength, who never asked for praise.

Colonel Roberts and his wife Lucimarion celebrated their 57th anniversary just last month. For years here on the Coast, the couple have been a shining example of giving back to their community, serving on countless charitable and civic causes.

Lawrence Roberts was a wonderful husband, father and citizen. His wife, son and three daughters released this statement Tuesday.

"He instilled in us a deep love of God, and sense of responsibility to others. We are at peace knowing he is being received into heaven."

Colonel Lawrence Roberts was 81 years of age.

No funeral arrangements have been made yet. In lieu of flowers, the Roberts family asks for donations to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation's Lawrence and Lucimarian Scholarship Fund.