TV’s Al Roker and his wife Deborah Roberts announced the tragic passing of a family member on Tuesday. Roberts’s oldest sister, Annette, tragically passed away after a years-long battle with dementia. Roberts lovingly took to her social media accounts to pay tribute to her fallen sister.
So very sad to lose my oldest sister, Annette. She was a warm and inspirational presence in my life. Dementia claimed her as it does more than 200 thousand Americans each year. A despicable disease which I hope we will find a cure for one day pic.twitter.com/6WIo96E8eU— Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) July 5, 2022
Roberts posted a touching memorial to her older sister on Instagram to give her followers more detail on the extraordinary life she lived. “We have lost the glow of a warm light in my family,” Roberts wrote. “My oldest sister, Annette, has left us. She struggled against Alzheimer’s for 5-6 years before succumbing to complications which robbed her of everything that made her so special. I hate this disease.”
Tributes from Roberts’s friends and followers came pouring in after her announcement. ABC reported Brittany Jacob wrote, “So sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family. Prayers for a cure in the near future.” GMA contributor Tory Johnson wrote, “Sending love … may Annette’s memory always be a blessing … everyone will now think of her – and thank her – for your impeccable style.”
Deborah Roberts Remembers Her Sister’s Life
Roberts called her sister her “role model” when they were growing up. Annette was the first member of her family to attend college and Roberts saw her as a complete “movie star.”
“I owe my love of high fashion to her. (Or I blame her for it),” Roberts wrote. “After she got a job during her years at Ft. Valley State college, she bought the most beautiful ready to wear clothing at a high end shop in our town called Vanity Fair. I’d never seen such lovely dresses, scarves or shoes. Annette was always the picture of elegance.”
Roberts described her sister as a “stickler for order and tidiness.” The former account executive was also a world traveled professional. She spent years living in Germany where her husband was stationed in the Air Force. “I marveled at her worldliness as she began to travel,” Roberts wrote. “She even gave me and all the sibs a set of luggage when we graduated HS. Maybe a nudge which I gladly took.”
Annette eventually settled in Houston, Texas with her family. Roberts described her as “a bit reserved” and someone who “held her emotions in check.” But she was fiercely passionate about her surviving husband, Richard, and her son, Justin. She also got to meet her granddaughter, Alana, before succumbing to her fight with Dementia.
“Annette was a pragmatic and strong woman who believed in possibilities,” Roberts wrote in concussion. “While I’m relieved that her suffering has ended, I will miss her fiercely.”