Dr. J. Keith Roberts passed peacefully in his sleep on January 14, 2023. He was born on August 21, 1936, to J. Wilson and Faye (Watson) Roberts in New Albany, IN and grew up in Paoli, IN. He is survived by his loving wife, Cathy; his three children: Walker (Leah), Beth (Jim), Claire (Patrick); one stepdaughter: Kelly (Jason); six grandchildren: Holden, Maren, Drew, Walker (Lauren), Miles and Arden; and six step grandchildren: Madison, Landon, Blake, Andrew, Cameron and Gabby. He was preceded in death by his mother, father and sister, Shirley.
Following his graduation from Paoli High School, Keith attended Indiana University and the University of Louisville prior to graduating from IU School of Dentistry (IUSD) in 1962. After graduation, Keith went into the US Navy Dental Corp as a Lt Commander stationed in Albany, GA. In 1964, he came back to Indianapolis to a general dentistry practice until 1970. With the GI Bill, he returned to IUSD/Riley Hospital to complete a residency in Pediatric Dentistry and became an associate professor at Riley Hospital Dental Clinic in 1972.
Dr. Keith returned to private practice in 1977 opening offices in Lebanon and Indianapolis. In 1979, he made his way to Bloomington joining Dr. Bob Rimstidt. For 40 years, his pediatric practice helped thousands of children with their dental needs. Keith was one of the first pediatric dentists to advocate for Early Infant Dental Care and Sealants. He believed in prevention and that every child deserved to be caries free. Dr. Keith spread the word about preventing cavities at schools, fairs and even the Cowboy Bob TV Show. He loved to joke with the kids and dress up for Halloween.
Keith retired from the US Navy Reserve as a Captain in 1986. In 2016, he was inducted into the International College of Dentists. Keith was a life member of the American Dental Association, Indiana Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Indiana Society of Pediatric Dentistry.
In the mid-1970s, Keith was very involved in Boy Scouts and served as the Scoutmaster of Troop 275 in Indianapolis. He led the troop to the 1973 National Jamboree in Moraine State Park in PA and a sailing trip to the Bahamas in 1974. In 1975, he took eight scouts to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM.
Keith was devoted to his family and made it a priority to spend quality time together. He loved to travel, and his favorite places were Colorado, Florida, Mexico, and Grand Cayman. He also thoroughly enjoyed “road trips” and cars, especially Porsches in the 1960s-70s and Wrangler Jeeps later on. While traveling, you could find him talking to about anyone at the counter of a random diner and listening to one of his favorite artists, Elvis, and Johnny Cash. Keith earned the nickname, Dr. Tortuga, passing out small wooden turtles he called Earthquake Detectors. He also had a passion for blackjack and was known to always start with $100 bills, especially at his favorite casino in French Lick.
Dr. Keith Roberts certainly had a life well lived. A Celebration of Life will be held in Bloomington, IN this spring. Memorial donations may be made to: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation, Riley Hospital Dental Clinic, Wounded Warriors, or the Indy Honor Flight.
One Hundred Years from Now
One hundred years from now,
it won't matter what kind of car I drove,
what kind of house I lived in,
how much money I had in the bank,
nor what my clothes looked like,
but the world may be a little better
because I was important in the life of a child.