Roberta Barton Inglis
November 12, 1922 ~ November 23, 2023
Resided in: College Station, Texas
The indefatigable Roberta Inglis died at her home with family on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 101. Her mind, wit, irreverent humor and memory were sharp as ever to the very end. The exercise she did every day of her adult life – swimming, yoga, Pilates and cycling undoubtedly contributed to her longevity.
The tall, thin, elegant beauty from Tennessee met Jack Inglis on a blind date on April Fool’s Day, 1944, and they married the day after Christmas. Moving to College Station in 1947 for Jack to earn his doctorate in ecology at Texas A&M, they had five children including Nancy Inglis (David), Faye Inglis, Ian Inglis (Toni), Meg Inglis (Keenan) and John Morton Inglis.
Born into an “almost Calvinist” family, as she would say, she was highly disciplined, had an uncanny eye for detail and suffered no fools, traits that flowed down to her children. She encouraged their independence and a strong respect for learning. She used impeccable English and beautiful cursive and was quite the writer and clever raconteur. She had an enduring love for coffee, the British mysteries, trips to Round Top, African sculpture and Near Eastern rugs.
She was a natural teacher. The local paper ran a feature on her on April 30, 1995, saying, “Practically every person between the ages of 5 and 25 in Brazos County … learned to swim [from] Roberta Inglis.” True that. Chances are she may have taught you how to swim.
The resourceful Mrs Inglis saw that College Station needed a kindergarten. She found a room that wasn’t being used at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley and started one of the first integrated kindergartens. A favorite story of hers – the windows were usually open, and if she saw a fly in the classroom, she would stun it with a fly swatter, capture it and drop it out a window. One day, she spotted one on a student’s shoulder and stunned it. Decades later, that student chanced upon her in the grocery store, excitedly greeted her and asked, “You’re not going to thump me on the shoulder with a fly swatter again, are you?”
She taught piano in her home for many years to Black and White children alike. She taught Jazzercise, slimnastics, water ballet, lifesaving and was a Girl Scout leader. Every student she taught could attest to her exacting standards.
As she rode her bicycle throughout her Southside neighborhood, her former students would stop her to visit. As the years wore on, she needed to purchase a three-wheeled bike for balance. One day in 2018, when she was 95, vandals broke into her garage and stole her car, bike and tricycle.
A local TV station got wind of it and ran the story. If you search “College Station Southside residents seeing increase in summer crime,” you will get a glimpse of her delightful personality from the video. After that airing, her many fans chipped in more than enough to buy her a new tricycle. “With all the bells and whistles!” she exclaimed.
Mrs Inglis was predeceased by her parents, siblings, her husband of 54 years Dr Jack Inglis and infant daughter Laurel. She is survived by her five children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the National Trust for Historic Preservation or to your favorite charity.