As a 12-year-old James Roberts, 103rd president, hand-spiked type alongside his mother, Lena Brownlee Roberts, at the family weekly Andrews County News founded in 1934 by his father, Charles Roberts Sr.
Following a stint as a walking infantryman in the 45th Division and a prisoner of war of the Germans during World War II, Roberts became editor of the family newspaper in 1950 following graduation from Baylor University.
From 1970 to 1980, Roberts, as president of Roberts Publishing Company, put together a group of 15 daily and weekly newspapers in West Texas that provided the individual publisher with a strong incentive to put down tap roots and become involved in community affairs.
He married Marie and they had two sons.
He was president of West Texas Press Association in 1961-62. He was inducted into the inaugural Texas Newspaper Foundation Hall of Fame in 2007.