Saturday, April 9, 1983

Biography of Roberta Hagar Jamieson


Roberta Hagar Jamieson was born in Mansfield, Ohio, January 20, 1895. After her father's untimely death, her mother brought her two daughters back to New Orleans, Louisiana where her family lived. Roberta attended Catholic schools in that city and was a sensitive teenager when she began to work full time to help support her impoverished family. One of her jobs was helping at the Mary Wherline mission in New Orleans French quarter. Hugh Jamieson, the lay minster in charge of this "neighborhood house," encouraged her to enroll at a Methodist school for girls. In the fall of 1915, he went to Shreveport, Louisiana to enroll in Centenary College and finish his schooling for the ministry. He invited Roberta to attend the state fair in Shreveport in January of 1916 and convinced her to marry him rather than return to school. Thus, on January 15, 1916, they were married in a friend's home -- incidently, this friend was a cousin of Mrs. Lizzie Glide. Hugh continued school where he was the editor of the student paper. Roberta helped him with his student pastorate assignments which included the Queensborough Church (a newly organized church in a suburb of Shreveport and now Mangum Memorial United Methodist Church) and a county circuit.

In October 1916, their first child, Roberta Melissa, was born. In January 1918, their first son, Hugh William Jr. was born. Later that year, Hugh became and Army YMCA secretary serving Fort Sam Houston and other locations in this capacity.

After the war ended, Roberta and Hugh moved back to New Orleans where Hugh served as Army and Navy executive secretary for the YMCA and served several churches as supply minister. One was a rural circuit north east of New Orleans and finally as pastor of Second Methodist Church in New Orleans. During these years, Roberta had two more sons, Roberta Hagar, and David Lewis. Also, during this time, Tulane University played a big part in their lives. Hugh did "Y" work on the campus, and Roberta took medical students into her home as housing on campus was scarce.

In 1926, Hugh accepted Bishop Cannon's call to come to the Pacific Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church south to serve at Wesley House in the mission district of San Francisco. Roberta, often in frail health, became very ill in San Francisco. She found strength returning after they moved to southern California. With her children all in school, she became active in the PTA, serving as a unit president one year as well as in women's society and Sunday school affairs at church.

During those years when she served with Hugh in San Bernardino, Norwalk, and Trinity Church in Los Angeles, she taught children's classes and helped decorate the church often, with flowers grown in her own garden. Her home was always open to anyone need, from groups of one hundred youth for an after church Sunday evening "sing" with refreshments, to lonely troubled folks who needed a quiet place to refuge for a time.

Though never in robust health, she coped with the double demands of church responsibilities and a lively, active, growing family. In the fall of 1936, she moved with Hugh and youngest son David to the San Francisco Bay area where Hugh became presiding elder of the San Francisco-Fresno district of the Pacific Conference. After the older children transferred from UCLA to UC Berkeley in January 1937, she traveled the district with Hugh. After unification with the Methodist Episcopal church, their service remained in northern California, including pastorates at Hollister, Colusa, Farmington and Glide. During World War II, she was an honored plane watcher and at the request of parishioners, went to work in their walnut orchards. Man power shortages took Hugh into Stockton to help with the boys work at the YMCA and Roberta into the children's department of JC Penny. Both continued their church work at Farmington -- she grew vegetables and canned them and fruit in quantity for whoever needed it. They moved to Glide where he served until retirement. After retirement, Hugh served Hunter's Point Church, where Roberta decorated the altar and taught the children -- including an extended session with handwork for the needy children. While they lived in San Francisco, Roberta worked regular hours as a retail sales person at the Emporium. She continued this work until Hugh's death in 1958.

Becoming ill soon thereafter, she moved to Sacramento to be near her daughter and lived out her days there -- in her own home at first, with grandchildren staying with her. Later when she became ill, she stayed with her daughter. Failing health in November 1981 necessitated the medical care of a convalescent hospital where she lived peacefully until God took her home on Easter Monday afternoon.

Those Sacrament years were one of a ministry of prayer and meditation. Her special prayers were for the Bethlehem Mission and the American Bible Society but all the needs she knew of she lifted to God many hours a day. Her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many refugee children honored her as their Grandma J who had a word or gift or thought for them. Her minister son -- now deceased, dedicated his first sermon and three study books he authored to her. Her electrical engineer son emulated her study patterns. Her son and daughter teachers continued her example of work with children and youth, especially those less fortunate. Now her grandchildren are continuing the chain she started. All possess her love of God's beautiful things, too, as their love of flowers and gardening attest. God's work continues as her example is followed.

File uploaded, September 20, 1999. by Erin copyright 1983 Roberta M. Locher, Updated March 26, 200