Milton R. Roberts, 72, lacrosse historian


Milton R. Roberts, 72, a historian on the sport of lacrosse, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Naval Academy chapel in Annapolis.

Mr. Roberts, an Annapolis native, began his lacrosse career at Annapolis High School in 1935 and played at the Severn School in Severna Park in 1937 and 1938. He played lacrosse on an undefeated Naval Academy team in 1939 and then transferred to Johns Hopkins University, where he also played.

He served with the Army in World War II in reconnaissance and intelligence in Germany and was awarded three Bronze Stars. He received a Purple Heart after being shot in the leg.

In 1946, he resumed his lacrosse career at Johns Hopkins and completed his bachelor's degree in Spanish. He began coaching lacrosse at the University of Delaware in 1949 and coached the Blue Hens until 1957, when he returned to Maryland to become an assistant coach and scout for the Severn School. In 1965, he went back to Delaware and started Delaware's first public high school lacrosse program at Cape Henlopen High in 1979.

In 1981, he was inducted into the national Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

He served on the board of directors of the Lacrosse Foundation, the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association and the U.S. Lacrosse Coaches Association. His two books, "The Lacrosse Story" and "The Lacrosse Story 1965-1976," document the history of the American Indian sport. He also was a historian of black athletes and served on the editorial staff of three national magazines.

Survivors include his wife, Nancy Alden Roberts; a son, Steven Roberts of Newark, Del.; three stepdaughters, Katharine Wray of Rehoboth Beach, and Jessica Wray and Robin Wray, both of Lewes, Del.; a brother, Wil Roberts of Winter Haven, Fla.; and a grandson, Eno Roberts.

The family suggests contributions be made to the Delaware Hospice, Southern Division, Georgetown.

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