Former Mayor Gene Roberts Dies

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Former Chattanooga Mayor Gene Roberts died Thursday morning.  He was 80 years old.

City officials earlier this week had dedicated the Gene Roberts Public Service Complex on East 11th Street.  That is in the old Onion Bottom section of Chattanooga where he grew up.  

Mr. Roberts was born in Chattanooga and graduated from Chattanooga High School as well as the University of Chattanooga.  He joined the Navy and served in the Korean War. 

He was a reporter and copy editor at the Chattanooga News Free Press, as well as public information officer for Mayor P.R. Olgiati. He was also an editorial writer for the Chattanooga Times for several years during the mid-1960s. He joined the FBI as a special agent, a position he held for three years.

Mr. Roberts served four terms as mayor of Chattanooga from 1983-1997.  He received the Mayor of the Year award from the Tennessee Municipal League in 1989. 

 During his tenure as mayor he oversaw the beginning of the development of the downtown waterfront, including the construction of the Tennessee Aquarium and the preservation of the Walnut Street Bridge.  Mr. Roberts also worked to combine the city and county school system.   

Mr. Roberts also served as city police commissioner and as state safety commissioner.  

He worked in his retirement as a realtor.

He served on the Hospital Authority Board.

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