Thomas “Tommy” Randall Roberts Sr., a gospel singer and real estate salesman, died of a heart disease July 19 at Gilchrist Center Baltimore.
The Owings Mills resident was 72.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Cleo Roberts and Lillian Lee.
He was a 1963 graduate of Dunbar High School, where he wrote a song for his graduating class.
He studied at Baltimore City Community College and Morgan State University.
He joined the Army and became a presidential honor guard. Family members said he once witnessed an early-morning visit by Robert Kennedy to the grave of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mr. Roberts joined General Motors in Southeast Baltimore and worked on an assembly line. A member of the union, he rose to become vice president of local United Auto Workers 239.
He was active in writing music and founded TR Records Inc. He wrote songs, worked with artists as a producer and also recorded. He was known for his song “I’m in the Capable Hands of God” and performed it in Baltimore and at churches as he toured the country. His rendition of “America” was produced nationally by the UAW.
Mr. Roberts was a founding member of The Gospel Leaders and in 1967 helped form the Maryland Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. He was a past president of the American Gospel Music Heritage Foundation.
He performed alongside other gospel artists — including Rev. James Cleveland, Myrna Summers, Aretha Franklin, Shirley Caesar, Keith Pringle, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Edwin and Walter Hawkins, Douglas Miller, Timothy Wright and Charles Nicks. He also sang at political and sports events, United Way campaign events and at United Auto Workers conventions.