Dr. Larry Roberts

Dr. Larry Evan Roberts

1938 - 2019

Recommend Dr. Larry's obituary to your friends
Share Your Memory of
Dr. Larry

Obituary of Dr. Larry Evan Roberts

Dr.  Larry Evan Roberts




Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour

McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario


Dr. Larry E. Roberts, devoted husband, father and grandfather, and a leading scientist, professor, and researcher, passed away in his 81st year in Kingston, Ontario, after a brief and sudden illness.


Larry is survived by his wife, Marion Roberts-Wright, with whom he shared his love of family, and an enduring passion for science, opera, the arts and sailing. Beloved father of Deborah Leigh Fraser-Roberts, her husband Duncan Armstrong Fraser and their four children, Mackenzie (Max), Lucas, Sam and Clara (Ottawa), and Martha Claire Roberts, her partner Aiyanas Ormond and their children Sophia, William and James (Vancouver). Loved greatly by his step children, Rachel Fabich, her husband Josh Greenberg and their children Leah, Toby and Charlie (Ottawa), and Stefan Fabich and his wife Bhashini Fabich and their children Logan, Scarlett and Ben (Pickering).  Larry is survived by his older brother Philip Roberts (Hayward, CA) and twin sister Linda Rosene (Minneola, TX).


Larry had a lifelong love of music and played a key role in the founding and development of Opera Hamilton in the 1980s.  This contributed to his research on neuroplasticity in the auditory cortex, mechanisms of tinnitus and the effects of musical training on brain development. His children and grandchildren all benefitted from Larry’s knowledge and passion for music, which remains a central part of their lives.


An international expert in the study of auditory neuroscience, Larry travelled extensively and spoke at numerous scientific conferences and symposia throughout his career and well past retirement. He remained an active researcher and continued to publish and present his work in scholarly and professional fora. His research on tinnitus was widely cited and reported in international media, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CTV News and Consumer Affairs. Larry’s colleagues in Canada and around the world, especially Germany, Australia, and the USA, and the many undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows he taught and supervised over his lengthy career, are mourning the loss of their confrere, teacher, mentor and dear friend. 


Larry’s family was a source of never-ending love and pride. He often attended scientific meetings with his partner, Marion. He was a champion of her work in mental health and addictions, and shared with her a strong professional and intellectual commitment to translational neuroscience. Larry was especially proud of his two daughters: Leigh, a pediatrician in Ottawa, and Martha, a midwife in Vancouver, for their ongoing clinical practice, advocacy and service to others. His thirteen grandchildren were central to his life. He showed a deep and genuine interest in each of them and their pursuits, passions and adventures.


The celebration of his wonderful life will be held on the McMaster University campus at the LIVElab, in the Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour building, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton at 4:30 pm on Thursday, July 25th.


Expressions of sympathy and memorial donations will be received by the LIVElab, the Institute for Music and the Mind, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, where Larry was a senior researcher.


Interment at St. John’s Cemetery on the Humber, Toronto (private family event) will take place on Wednesday, July 24th.