Michael D. Roberts

Mar 28, 2012 Staff

Former Lander resident Michael D. "Mike" Roberts, 54, of Great Falls, Mont., died Monday, March 19, 2012, of injuries he received in a mining accident.

Services were Saturday, March 24, at the First Alliance Church in Great Falls, Mont., followed by a reception.

Michael Duane Roberts was born Nov. 9, 1957, in Grants, N.M., the son of Benjamin and Ellenetta Roberts.

He spent his childhood in Jeffrey City and his adolescence growing up on a ranch near Lander. He graduated from Lander Valley High School in 1976.

In the early 1980s, he moved to Alaska, beginning his career in gold mining. At one time, he owned and operated the largest underground gold mine in Alaska. His family said Mr. Roberts was well-known in mining circles for using hardrock mining techniques in the permafrost. In 2007, the family moved to Great Falls, Mont., where Mr. Roberts turned his mining experience to extracting Montana's yogo sapphires. He owned a yogo sapphine mine near Utica, Mont.

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were supporters of the Montana Special Olympics.

Mr. Roberts is survived by his wife, Laurie; their children, Nicholas, 18, Amber, 15, and Katrin, 12, all of Great Falls, Mont.; his parents, Benjamin "Frank" and Ellen Roberts of Lund, Nev.; his brother, Benjamin Roberts of Fairbanks, Alaska; sister Leissa Roberts and husband Bill of Salt Lake City; a niece, Megan Tang of Hong Kong, and nephew Cole Curless of Salt Lake City.

A trust fund has been established for his children at US Bank, 300 Central Ave., Great Falls, MT 59401.

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