01/18/14 — Gail Roberson, columnist, dies

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Gail Roberson, columnist, dies

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on January 18, 2014 10:38 PM

Nature in a Nutshell was a regular column in the Sunday newspaper, and featured observations on life by Mrs. Roberson. Some were just funny little stories that made you laugh, some made you cry, and others made you wonder where you fit into the circle of life. But they were all based on true happenings.

For 30 years, and before her health began to decline, Mrs. Roberson wrote her columns for several newspapers, and stories for more than 50 national and international magazines. She also wrote several books, essays and poems. In an interview with the News-Argus several years ago, Mrs. Roberson said she always kept pen and paper with her -- even beside her bed -- so when an idea for a column or story came to her, she could write it down.

Mrs. Roberson also was a naturalist and wildlife biologist, who operated Morningstar Nature Refuge surrounding her home in Williamston. It gave her many opportunities to share her passion for the earth and educate people who visited. She never charged anyone who wanted to tour the refuge.

Ten trails wound through the refuge, and about halfway through, there was a small wooden building up off the ground where Mrs. Roberson would sit for hours at a time, just observing nature all around her. It gave her many topics for her columns in the News-Argus.

Mrs. Roberson also touched the lives of several troubled youths, whom she would use as apprentices at the nature refuge, some of whom even went in careers as naturalists themselves.

She won many national and international awards, and also taught writing and English at the college level.

Before retiring to run her nature refuge, Mrs. Roberson spent time as a motivational speaker and conducted seminars for universities, colleges and organizations across the south and Midwest.

The 64-year-old lived in Williamston with her husband, Riley.

She wanted no funeral, wake, flowers or food. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered in her favorite location.