Albert Roberts, who served for decades on the Okanogan County planning commission and the Okanogan Conservation District board of supervisors, died on April 9 from injuries sustained in an accident in his farm shop, according to the conservation district.
Roberts and his wife, Carey Hunter, operated Pine Stump Farms on the Colville Reservation east of Omak, where they raised goats, beef cattle and chickens and made goat cheese. They also grew hay and were dedicated to sustainable forest management.
“Albert was known for his ability to make mechanical things work, and maybe more miraculously make something out of nothing into a fully functioning machine or piece of hardware. He was also known for his community activism,” the conservation district wrote in a tribute to Roberts.
“Albert never seemed to get flustered or bothered by anything. Problems and challenges were just puzzles to be solved and often with sarcasm and extra strength coffee,” the district said.
“He was an ardent supporter of getting conservation on the ground and ensuring voluntary actions were championed while pushing against regulations,” the district said.
Roberts served as the district’s auditor for more than a decade, which suited his reputation for fiscal conservatism. “He wasn’t afraid to spend money when it meant a better conservation project, but we had better provide the appropriate documentation to ensure the expense was worth every penny,” the district said.
Roberts and Hunter also raised pack horses and offered cultural exchanges and farm internships to “provide a mechanism to broaden the horizons and share common interests with people from a far-reaching geographic range,” according to Pine Stump Farms’ website.
In addition to three decades of service on the planning commission, he made an unsuccessful bid for Okanogan County commissioner in 2012.
Roberts also served on county and state boards connected with ranching, organic farming, natural resources, and economic development. He was a cofounder of Slow Food Okanogan.