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Everybody knows the Roberts are ‘Good Neighbors’

Chuck and Kathy Roberts look like the good neighbors they have been for the close to 50 years they have lived in North Hudson. The Pepper Fest made it official by naming the couple this year’s North Hudson Good Neighbors. Look for them at the front of the Pepper Fest parade on Saturday. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Meg Heaton)

Chuck and Kathy Roberts have been calling North Hudson home since moving to the village in 1966. This year they have been chosen as the Pepper Fest Good Neighbors.

Chuck Roberts didn’t want to be more than 30 minutes away from his job at 3M in St. Paul and always wanted the sun at his back. Their home along the St. Croix River on Galahad Road fit the bill.

There were no homes on the east side of the road back then and many of the homes on the river side have been extensively remodeled over the years. For the Roberts family, their place along the river has been the perfect place to raise their four children: Stephanie, Barry, Bill and Katie.

“We liked it because it was a small community that really had its own identity,” said Kathy, who recalled that there used to be a small store, Solvig’s Grocery on Sixth Street back then.

When they talk about the new bridge, they mean the one built between Hudson and North Hudson that replaced the old wooden one. Before jumping off the bridge was outlawed, Kathy recalled that she made the jump herself.

“I decided I needed to know what was down there if the kids were going to do it.”

The family first got involved in the Pepper Fest back in the 1970s. The festival got its start as a way to support a school in North Hudson. All four of their children attended North Hudson Elementary.

“The children of this community have always been at the heart of things,” added Kathy.

Children have always been close to her heart as well. After her children started school, Roberts joined them as a teacher in Hudson schools from 1987 until her retirement in 2005.

She has made it a habit to send her former students a memento from their time with her when they graduate from high school. She can rarely go down a street in Hudson without seeing someone from a family she touched over the years.

Anita Stilwell, a member of the Pepper Fest committee, said, “Kathy has always been a strong believer in every student/child's life and it is our responsibility to provide every child the opportunity to learn and achieve.”

Prior to teaching, Kathy served as a volunteer with parent groups and the Girl Scouts and the village Park Board.

Chuck has a long history of service to the village as well. He was village assessor for 10 years and was a longtime member of the Board of Appeals. He was also a parent volunteer and a Boy Scout leader.

When it comes to the honor bestowed on them as this year’s Good Neighbors, the feeling is mutual. Said Kathy, “This is our home. We can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

The couple will be at the head of the Pepper Fest parade along with grand marshal and fellow teacher Linda Rose on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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