Ray Roberts

This article is about the Congressman from Texas. For the U.S. football player, see Ray Roberts (American football). For the baseball player, see Ray Roberts (baseball).
Ray Roberts
Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee
In office
January 3, 1975  January 3, 1981
Speaker Carl Albert
Tip O'Neill
Preceded by William Jennings Bryan Dorn
Succeeded by Sonny Montgomery
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 4th district
In office
January 30, 1962  January 3, 1981
Preceded by Sam Rayburn
Succeeded by Ralph Hall
Member of the Texas Senate
from the district
In office
Preceded by Joe Russell
Succeeded by Ralph Hall
Personal details
Born (1913-03-28)March 28, 1913
Collin County, Texas
Died April 13, 1992(1992-04-13) (aged 79)
Denton, Texas
Alma mater Texas A&M University
North Texas State University
University of Texas

Herbert Ray Roberts (March 28, 1913 – April 13, 1992) represented Texas's 4th congressional district from 1962 to 1981. Roberts was a Democrat.

Early life and education

Roberts was born in rural Collin County, Texas in 1913. He grew up in the ranching town of Westminster, Texas, just outside McKinney.

Roberts graduated from McKinney High School. He attended Texas A&M University and North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) before earning a bachelor's degree in agribusiness. Roberts earned his master's degree from the University of Texas. He served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945 and later saw active duty in the Korean War while as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Early career

Roberts was on the staff of Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas, working in Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942 before going on active duty in World War II. After the war, he worked as a farmer and entered into agribusiness. He was a member of the Texas State Senate from 1955 to 1961, serving as the president pro tempore of the body in 1961.

U.S. House of Representatives

Roberts was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-seventh Congress, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sam Rayburn. He was re-elected to the nine succeeding Congresses, serving from January 30, 1962 to January 3, 1981.

Roberts was chair of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs from 1975 through 1981. He did not run for re-election in 1980.


Lake Ray Roberts is named after the Congressman. On November 22, 1963, Congressman Roberts was in the Dallas motorcade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He was riding in the same car as the Dallas Mayor Earl Cabell, and the mayor's wife, Elizabeth "Dearie" Cabell. Their car was four cars behind the limousine carrying JFK. The family of Ray Roberts can confirm that the Warren Commission or any other of its investigation personnel never asked Congressman Roberts a single question about the shooting. When Mrs. Cabell testified to the Warren Commission, she stated that shortly after the shots ended Roberts first said, "That is a .30-06." (with Roberts meaning the shot(s) he could hear sounded like they were fired from a .30-06 type of rifle) Cabell further stated that Roberts had told her that he had also smelled the distinct odor of gun smoke (as did Mrs. Cabell and several other motorcade participants and witnesses who were all located down at street level, which was up-wind from the Texas School Book Depository, and 61' to 82' below and varying distances away from its sixth floor)[1]

His official documents from his years in office both in the Texas State Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives can be found in the archives at Texas A&M-Commerce, which used to be known as East Texas State University.

His only surviving brother is Roy Geldon Roberts, Sr. of Plano.


  1. Elizabeth Cabell testimony to the Warren Commission, volume 7, starting at page 485 — The Testimony of Mrs. Earle Cabell. Retrieved 09 August 2012.
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Joe Russell
Texas State Senator
from District 9 (McKinney)

Succeeded by
Ralph Hall
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sam Rayburn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ralph Hall
Political offices
Preceded by
Bryan Dorn
South Carolina
Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
Sonny Montgomery
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