Memory Hold The Door
Melvin L. Roberts
1930 - 2010
Melvin L. Roberts was born on July 24, 1930, in
Martinsville, VA, to parents William L. Roberts and Cora
Blackwell Roberts. He earned his Bachelor of Science
degree in business administration from the University of
South Carolina. In 1954, he received his Juris Doctorate
from the USC School of Law, graduating second in his
class. He was a member of the Wig and Robe Society and
associate editor of the Law Review Quarterly. He was very
proud to have received both degrees in four calendar years.
Roberts served in the U.S. Armed Forces for two years
in Korea. He practiced criminal and civil law from 1955
until his death in 2010. He was known for his compassion for the less fortunate, which
was his original motivation to seek a law degree, and helped many people regardless of
their ability to pay. He was working with fifth generation client family members at the
time of his death, and trained many active lawyers and judges within his law firm.
He was admitted to practice law before the S.C. Supreme Court, U.S. District
Court of S.C., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. Court of
Federal Claims. He was a member of the S.C. Bar for more than 50 years, served on
the York City Council for eight years, and was mayor of York.
Roberts also operated a wide variety of businesses while practicing law. He owned
and operated Hamilton Erection, Inc., which constructed television towers across the
continental U.S., breaking the world's record for height of a man-made structure five
times, with the tallest being a 2063-foot tower in Fargo, ND. His company also erected
the tower that sits atop Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, GA. He was a pioneer
in cable television business and started the York Cable Company in the 1960s, which
later boasted one of the first HBO outlets in the country. He built the 500-foot tower
used to start the business. At one time, he was the largest non-corporate landowner in
York County. Among his properties, he owned a 1500-acre farm in York County where
he raised registered Black Angus cattle and registered Arabian horses. Roberts was also
an early owner of self-serv and later automatic car washes, added unattended gasoline
fueling stations that were some of the first in the state (later banned by S.C. Fire
Marshal) and then added C-Stores in the 1970s.
Roberts served as president of the York Optimist Club; commander of the York
American Legion Post, sponsoring a Boy Scout troop through this post; and member
of the U.S. Power Squadron and commander of the Catawba Chapter, where he
taught many boating safety classes. He helped organize York's Annual Veteran's Day
Parade. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in York for many years,
where he served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher.
Melvin L. Roberts died on February 4, 2010. He is survived by his former wife of
28 years, Bobbie B. Roberts; two sons, David L. Roberts (daughter-in-law, Patty) and
Ronald B. Roberts; a granddaughter, Emily H. Roberts; and two sisters, Faye Parsons
and Pauline Burris.