Gene Roberts, former mayor of the city of Chattanooga, died Thursday morning.

Roberts was 80 years old.

A Chattanooga native, Roberts graduated from Chattanooga High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Roberts served as a copy editor and reporter at the Chattanooga News Free Press.

Roberts was elected to serve as mayor in 1983 and went on to serve four terms.


He was the first mayor to preside over the current City Council system, which was implemented in 1989. He played a role in the merger of Chattanooga and Hamilton County schools in 1994, which was finalized in 1996.

Roberts began efforts to redevelop Chattanooga’s waterfront and worked with preservationists to restore the Walnut Street Bridge. He also oversaw the city’s purchase of the former Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant land, which is now part of Enterprise South Industrial Park.

Upon his retirement in 1996, Roberts was succeeded by Mayor Jon Kinsey.

Services for Gene Roberts will take place Monday at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at noon. Roberts will be buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Updated @ 5:59 a.m.on 2/1/13 to add more information as it became available.