Charles “Rob” Roberts, RIP

I’m saddened to report the death, due to COVID-19, of my friend and one-time neighbor Charles “Rob” Roberts, of the Glen Ridge (NJ) Police Department. My deepest condolences to his wife Alice, and his kids, Natalie, Shea, and Gavin. Even in memory, I think of Rob as too vividly alive to be fully gone. I will miss him deeply, as will many others in his family, his department, his community, and beyond.

This is a tweet from the police department in neighboring Bloomfield Township; the Glen Ridge Department will make a formal announcement later.

Notices in, Essex Daily Voice,, and

I first mentioned the story here at PoT back on April 22nd.

Requiescat in pace.

4 thoughts on “Charles “Rob” Roberts, RIP

  1. The memorial service, from

    From The New York Times, in what I think is the best obituary I’ve read of Rob. It almost reads like mythology, but I’ll never tire of repeating that it’s all true:

    In reflecting on these pictures, I’m transported to the life I led maybe eight years ago, when I lived in the house next to Rob’s. My home office was in a loft that overlooked Rob’s backyard, where his kids used to play. I’m usually hyper sensitive to noise when I read or write, but somehow the one sound that doesn’t bother me–that comforts me–is the sound of children playing outside. I can still hear the sound of those three kids, eight years ago, screaming and carrying on in that backyard, punctuated either by Alice’s or Rob’s voice calling them in to dinner or homework or whatever. I think instantly of a passage near the end of Nabokov’s Lolita:

    What I heard was but the melody of children at play, nothing but that, and so limpid was the air that within this vapor of blended voices, majestic and minute, frank and divinely enigmatic–one could hear now and then, as if released, an almost articulate spurt of vivid laughter, or the crack of a bat, or the clatter of a toy wagon, but it was all really too far for the eye to distinguish any movement in the lightly etched streets. I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing…

    Nabokov continues: “…was not the Lolita’s absence from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord.”

    I feel something oddly similar about Rob. We were neighbors, not best friends. He was friends with everyone in town, not me especially. It’s not that he’s missing from my life, but that he’s missing from the world of which he was such an integral part, and to which his life was such a gift. He wasn’t just a voice from that concord; he made the concord. I lack the power to convey what that really means, or meant. One has to live it and lose it to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually saw both Rob and Alice in passing every now and then after I moved from Glen Ridge to Bloomfield. I don’t remember the last time, exactly, but it must have been 2017 or 2018. He’d always make sure to smile and wave, even from his patrol car. You don’t realize what a presence someone is in your life until they’re gone.


  2. Pingback: COVID-19, Risk, and Rights-Violations | Policy of Truth

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