CHINA – Roberta Caroline (Glidden) Tobey, 92, passed away Feb. 24, 2020 at her home in China where she had lived for the past 52 years. She was born July 11, 1927, in Palermo, daughter of Beatrice Worthing Glidden and Howard Ansel Glidden. Roberta was the valedictorian of the Erskine Academy class of 1945.

Roberta married James Kempton Tobey on June 8, 1947 and they spent the next 65 years together until his passing in 2012. For many years, in addition to being a farm wife, Roberta was the secretary for Kempton Tobey & Son. After getting her license at 32, she made many trips for parts for the business as well as driving softball and basketball teams to games long before buses were provided. What a cautious driver she was, especially reminding everyone to ALWAYS obey the 40 mph speed limit at Dirigo Four Corners!

Stationery and postage stamps were among her most cherished gifts because she greatly enjoyed writing letters and cards. She had an outstanding memory for birthdays and anniversaries and always acknowledged them with a handwritten note. Her favorite singers were Patsy Cline and Eddy Arnold and she loved to sing along with them, and, oh, yes, Mother could yodel! She loved to cook and always served her visitors a sweet treat. Grandchildren fondly remember the favorite pies she baked for them. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren spent many hours listening to the ‘teachable moments’ from Berenstein Bear books.

Perhaps Roberta, affectionately known as “Nanny” to several generations, was best-known for her shy, engaging smile and quiet manner. She will be missed beyond measure.

Roberta is survived by her children, Noreen Golden and husband Peter, Letricia Sears and husband, Jack, Robin Tobey and former wife Barbara, Jill Tobey and husband Bill McFarland; 11 grandchildren, Tobey Farrington (Karen) and Andrew Golden (Debra), Brett Sears (Katie), Ethan Tobey, Nolan Tobey (Beth), and Deidre Tobey (Chris Jordan), Benjamin Willoughby (Robin) and Brandy Sarian (John), Chad McFarland (Heather), Scott McFarland (Rene), and Michael McFarland (Elizabeth); 14 great-grandchildren, Andrew, Ashley, Jillian, Priscilla, Lydia, Kempton, Levon, Sophia, Grace, Ethan, Mason, Finn, Harper and Bailey; brother, Sherwood Glidden and wife Betty, sisters-in-law, Polly Tobey and Pauline Glidden; life-long friends, Evelyn Potter and Colleen Saban; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Roberta was predeceased by husband, Kempton; granddaughter, Janna Sears; and brothers, Elberton Glidden and Atwood Glidden.

Special thanks and gratitude go to Roberta’s two longtime caregivers, Caren Hysom and Kelly Rhoades, for their loving care and compassion for over three years which allowed her to remain at home. The family also wishes to thank part time caregivers, Carolyn, Cheryl, and Sam as well as the compassionate staff at MaineGeneral Health Hospice. Roberta would also want appreciation given to Pam Cummings, whose sunny disposition and visits cheered her.

At Roberta’s request, there will be no public visiting hours or funeral services. A springtime graveside service is planned at the Branch Mills Cemetery in China.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at

Arrangements are by Lawry Brothers Funeral & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield.

For those who wish to honor Roberta’s love of cats and dogs, donations to:

Waterville Humane Society

100 Webb Rd.

Waterville, ME 04901

would be gratefully accepted