Local country musician, Jack Roberts, passes away at 87

Jack Roberts and the Evergreen Drifters gained popularity in the 50s and 60s.

Lead singer of the regionally popular band in the 50s and 60s, Jack Roberts and the Evergreen Drifters, has passed away at the age of 87. To honor Roberts and his wife Cleo, who passed away in 2020 and never had a public service, a memorial will take place at noon at the Inglewood Golf Club on October 2.

Roberts was raised in Seattle alongside eight siblings, and at the time, was the only person in his family to graduate from college. He earned a communications degree from the University of Washington, which he utilized throughout his music career.

As the band gained popularity, Roberts became the host of the national award-winning show, “The Evergreen Jubilee,” which aired on KOMO TV in the 60s. During the show, Roberts and the band performed musical skits and straightforward performances, and in the middle of the show, Roberts would sit behind a desk next to a couch, in a late-night talk show format.

From behind the desk, Roberts brought popular country music stars from across the country to be interviewed and to play a tune. That night or the following day, the country star would perform a concert with Jack Roberts and the Evergreen Drifters opening for them.

For the years that followed his Evergreen Drifter days, Roberts became a successful concert promoter and manager who worked with musicians such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Merle Haggard, among others.

His country music promotion business office was located at 17522 Bothell Way Northeast for years, and is now occupied by The Riley Group, Inc. During this time–from the mid 70s to the mid 90s–Roberts, Cleo and their three children lived on Norway Hill in Bothell, but after his three children graduated from Inglemoor High School and moved out of the house, he and Cleo moved to a townhouse inside the Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore. Prior to both of their passings, Roberts and Cleo lived at Kenmore Senior Living during separate times.

To honor the couple and their love for music, the memorial ceremony will open and close with a seven-piece band playing Roberts’ songs. A professionally edited memorial video which tells Cleo’s and Roberts’ stories through family speeches and songs will be presented. One of their children, Steve Roberts, will also perform two of Roberts’ favorite songs with his old guitarist backing Steve up. Remembrance tables will also be featured at the memorial and include Roberts’ famous suit, and a scrapbook Cleo made throughout Roberts’ career.