In Memoriam: Don L. Roberts (1938–2022)

We have received the following from Deborah Campana (Oberlin Conservatory Library). Don L. Roberts was President of IAML from 1992 to 1995.

Donald Lowell Roberts

Donald L. Roberts, 83, died Wednesday  March 30, 2022.   He is survived by his loving wife Sally, daughter Sheryl, sister Carol, granddaughters Ashley and Taylor and great grandsons Anderson and Easton.  He was born in Dodge City, Kansas, and spent most of his youth in Wichita.  He was a bassoon student at the Curtis Institute of Music, received his undergraduate degree at Friends University and graduate degrees in musicology and Library Science at the University of Michigan.  He came to New Mexico in 1963 to create the Fine Arts Library at UNM, and played bassoon with the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra.  He pursued his studies of SW Pueblo Indian music in the region, particularly at Ohkay Owingeh to which he was particularly attached, up to the present.  From 1969 to retirement, he was director of the Music Library at Northwestern University in Illinois where he created a renowned collection of contemporary music.  He also taught music bibliography and ethnomusicology in the School of Music.  Don was a mentor to many in his field, which led to life-long friendships.  He held the highest positions in his numerous national and international organizations.  His interest in others, his kindness and generosity were appreciated by all who knew him.  Don’s zest for life, his passion for his various interests from  music to wine collecting (and tasting!), good food, travel, trains and birding, was remarkable.  Moving to Santa Fe in retirement, Don was a supporter of the SF Desert Chorale, the Opera, the SF Chamber Music Festival and Southwest Seminars. He renewed an earlier relationship with the School for Advanced Research.  He also continued to attend ceremonies at the pueblos which held not only intellectual but spiritual importance for him.  Don loved the mesas and mountains of New Mexico, and was so happy to be in Santa Fe where he had many old and new friends.  His cheerful, buoyant presence will be greatly missed by many.

A memorial ceremony will be held soon, both in-person and via Zoom.  Please send an email to if you wish to attend either way.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s memory may be made to the Santa Fe Desert Chorale or the Hopi School, Hopitutuqaki.


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