The San Juan Historical Society and Museum presents a history column the first Wednesday of each month on The San Juan Island Update ( It is a volunteer project of Museum members Shaun Hubbard and Robin Jacobson.


We remember Kitty Roberts

Kitty as a child with her two brothers, Richard and John Wade, and more recently next to an original island telephone switchboard in the Museum collection. Kitty once worked at this switchboard when it was in the Bayview/San Juan Hotel lobby (the building is now Friday Harbor’s Windermere Real Estate office)


Local history is written one event, one day, one person at a time. Kitty Roberts was one of those people who contributed to island history with her life. She graciously shared island history, supported it, and inspired many to care about it. She was born in the month of December and, as many will recall, passed away in December, on Christmas Day last year.

Kitty was a fourth generation islander, and a direct link to two of San Juan Island’s iconic pioneers, Stephen and Lucinda Boyce. For over twenty years, Kitty was also a dedicated volunteer for the San Juan Historical Society and Museum. She was a board member, artifact consultant, event planner, family history expert, and charming docent. She gave of her heart and, by example, invited others to do the same. Kitty was equal parts grace and humor. It’s no wonder volunteers would ask “When is Kitty coming in?” because they wanted to sign up for the time she chose.

All history is personal. Some of it is just more personal than others. So when December comes, we think of Kitty. As we often do.

Past Columns