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Thomas "Curry" Roberts, 29

Tech student remembered by friends, peers Michelle Casady/Staff Writer Issue date: 3/20/06 Section: News

A father, an artist, a son, a friend and a Red Raider - Texas Tech senior Thomas "Curry" Roberts left all of these roles on March 2.

According to a memo sent out by Interim Dean of Students Gregory Elkins, Roberts was enrolled in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and was majoring in studio art with a concentration in painting.

Roberts grew up in Plainview.

"He was a really outgoing person - very fun-loving and enjoyable. He stands out in my mind as someone who had a lot to contribute," said Lisa Kersh, a former teacher and current principal of Plainview High School.

Kersh taught Roberts in a family and consumer sciences class in 1993.

"He will be missed by everyone in Plainview," she said. "He was a vibrant life-loving young man."

Close friend and fellow artist, Katy Patton, shares similar sentiments.

"Curry was a really outgoing, sweet and friendly person," said Patton, a senior painting major from Lubbock. "He was an amazing artist and very dedicated to his work."

Patton and Roberts had been friends for 2 1/2 years. They also collaborated on projects and did a few art shows together.

"He was a Marine so that carried over into his art in an interesting way," Patton said of Roberts' style.

When asked what was the most important thing in Roberts' life, Patton said right behind his 4-year-old daughter was his love of art.

Though the memo from the university said Roberts died from "undetermined causes," Patton said his death was a suicide.

"He shot himself in the art studio of his home," she said.

Patton said she saw no signs of Roberts being suicidal.

"He was always very together. I mean, he was a Marine, you know?" she said.

Patton also mentioned Roberts had Lyme disease.

According to, Lyme disease is "an acute inflammatory disease ... transmitted by ticks ... that may result in joint pain, arthritis, and cardiac and neurological disorders."

Patton said Lyme disease temporarily can cause insanity in some instances.

"About a week before he killed himself he was saying things that made me think he was temporarily nuts," she said.

Roberts' professor of painting Michael Collins said he views his death as a "devastating shock."

"I've been teaching for 28 years, and this is by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me," said Collins, assistant professor or art and area lead painter for graduate and undergraduate studies.

When asked about his abilities and personality as a student, Collins talked about Roberts' dedication.

"He was an excellent student. He did 17 paintings for me from a hospital bed fighting Lyme disease. Now, what does that say about his character?" Collins said.

He also mentioned Roberts was being looked at for several scholarships for graduate school based on his talents.

Collins also recalled last summer when Roberts' went to Italy with him to study, saying Roberts had "lots of gifts and lots of ability."

"Whatever led to this is yet to be understood by a lot of people. He was an amazing young man with incredible potential," he said.

The flags on campus are scheduled to be lowered in Roberts' honor today.

Save this Article Amarillo Globe-News (TX) - March 5, 2006 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Deceased Name: Thomas "Curry" Roberts

LUBBOCK - Thomas "Curry" Roberts, 29, formerly of Plainview, died Thursday, March 2, 2006. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in First Baptist Church in Plainview with Paul Cypert, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship Church, officiating and Dr. Travis Hart of First Baptist Church assisting. Burial will be in Plainview Cemetery by Bartley Funeral Home of Plainview. Mr. Roberts was born June 28, 1976, in Plainview to Randall and Ruthie Roberts. He served four years in the Marine Corps. Survivors include a daughter, Sky Meredith Roberts of Tacoma, Wash.; his parents of Plainview; two sisters, Jessica Ann Roberts of Austin and Rachel Victoria Roberts of Plainview; and his grandparents, J.B. and Ramona Roberts of Plainview. The family suggests memorials be to the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 1081, Lubbock, TX 79409. Amarillo Globe-News, March 5, 2006 New Mexico -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Date: March 5, 2006 Record Number: 1102C0348E137848 Copyright, 2006, Amarillo Globe-News