Roberta Gray

Sunday Tribune arts columnist

The life of Sunday Tribune journalist Roberta Gray was celebrated during a humanist ceremony on 6 January.

Roberta, who worked for the newspaper for more than three years, died on New Year’s Day, aged 28.

Friends and family paid tribute to her and recalled her humour, love of travel and passion for writing.

A
large crowd descended on Mount Jerome in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, to pay
their respects to Roberta. According to her wishes, a non-religious
ceremony was conducted, with readings from family members and friends.

A
tribute from Roberta’s parents, Caroline and Patrick, recalled her
talents as a writer and her ability to breathe a sense of fun into
other people’s lives. It recalled how they could only stand back in
amazement as Roberta’s career went from strength to strength.

Caroline
and Patrick talked of Roberta’s struggle with depression, a struggle
which she had fought bravely for several years but which had worsened
over recent months.

They recalled their last Christmas spent with
their daughter and referred to her “brave, determined and lonely
journey out of life”.

Roberta had one sibling, her brother Nicholas, with whom she was very close.

Their
parents recalled how the pair had been more like friends than brother
and sister, often throwing joint parties for their friends in the
family home.

Members of the media, including a large number of Sunday Tribune staff, joined with family and friends.

Aside
from her various roles within the Tribune, including a stint writing
the popular ‘This Dating Life’ column, Roberta was a regular
contributor to arts publications and programmes.

Although it was not easy to laugh during the service, it was important to remember how important humour was to Roberta.

Roberta
was born in Dublin and attended Taney National School in Dundrum. She
later attended St Colomba’s secondary school, where her father is a
teacher, before entering Trinity College.

After graduating from
Trinity, Roberta spent time travelling, a year in Australia with
friends before moving misreponto New Zealand for six months.

During
her time abroad she discovered her talent for writing and on her return
Roberta enrolled in Dublin City University to study a Masters Degree in
Journalism.

On completion of her studies, Roberta was hired by The Sunday Tribune, where she wrote primarily for the magazine.

Roberta wrote mostly on issues relating to the arts, although her many columns showed her ability as a humorous writer.

Roberta
will be remembered by friends, family and colleagues alike as a lively
character, whose undeniable talent was tragically cut short.

Presiding over the ceremony, Dick Spicer referred to Roberta as “a dynamic person who leaves a trail of colour behind her”.

It was a description to which we would all agree.

This obituary was originally published in The Sunday Tribune on 8 January.

By Eoghan Rice

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