Gary Roberts, President/CEO of Stanbury Uniforms and a good friend to the drum corps community, passed away Tuesday following a battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

A former rock band guitarist, band director, and retail music shop owner, Roberts joined Missouri-based Stanbury as a sales representative and sales manager before becoming the company’s president and CEO in 1993.

In the early 1990s when it was announced the company was going to be shut down, Roberts pulled together a group of investors for a buyout and to continue operations. Since then, he built Stanbury to be a major source of uniforms and accessories to a wide variety of marching music ensembles, including nearly a dozen of DCI’s World and Open Class corps, plus numerous all-age and international units. His dedication to keeping Stanbury alive is allowing the company to celebrate its 100th anniversary this year.

One of the company’s most notable accounts over the years has been the Bluecoats, with images of the Canton, Ohio-based drum corps frequently appearing in the company’s catalogs and advertisements. New to his position at the time, Bluecoats executive director David Glasgow fondly remembers his initial interactions with Roberts.

“We hadn’t had new uniforms in 13 years prior to our Stanbury relationship, so Gary was like a knight in shining armor when he told me in my first year that he was willing to help make sure we had whatever we needed,” Glasgow said. “Gary felt like a family member. He and his entire company would bend over backward to make sure our creative visions came to life on the field.”

Roberts’ interest in and love for marching music was apparent from a young age. As a child, he attended a university football game and was struck by the magic created by the marching bands. Prior to the game, he ran alongside the bands as they marched through the university campus so he could absorb every moment of that magic. He later commented, “My love for marching band has been an integral part of my life from my childhood through today.”

Roberts has passed his love for the marching arts to his four sons and four granddaughters, many whom are or have been members of high school bands and a variety of drum corps.

“Gary’s son Jake has marched as a member of Pacific Crest, the Madison Scouts, and will be a member of Santa Clara Vanguard this summer,” said Patrick Seidling, a Stanbury regional manager covering California and Nevada. “Gary has not only been a valuable corporate partner to drum corps, but also a dedicated ‘corps dad’ too!”

Visitation services will be held on Friday, April 21, followed by a funeral mass on Saturday, April 22, in Columbia, Missouri.

Memorial donations are encouraged to be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church or to the American Cancer Society.