Roger Raymond Gilbert

January 18, 1958 ~ April 3, 2022 (age 64)


Roger Raymond Gilbert, age 64, died unexpectedly in St. Luke’s Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, where he resided, on April 3, 2022.

He was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 18, 1958, living in Richardson Park and Westgate Farms. He recalled his childhood as idyllic, riding his bicycle with friends and delivering newspapers, and touring the United States National Parks with his parents and sisters during summer vacations.

As a child, Roger competed on the swim team at Crestmoor Swim Club where he made the “Roger Gilbert Dive” famous. He was an active member of Boy Scout Troop 29 at Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, earning the rank of Eagle Scout in 1973, making his family extremely proud of his accomplishment at such a young age.

He graduated from McKean High School in 1976 and completed a BA in philosophy at the University of Delaware in three years. He liked to joke that during his college years he was employed as a “repo-man” for Sears and had hilarious stories about repossessing furniture and appliances from some famous Delaware politicians.

Roger began his career in sales with DuPont Pharmaceuticals in Wilmington, Delaware, and Syracuse and Albany, NY. He then worked for the 3M Company in ophthalmological sales in Albany, NY, and Madison, Mississippi. He received numerous sales awards with these companies that allowed him to travel to South Africa, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong. He continued with his own business in medical sales, including devices for dialysis and cataract surgery. He also had a side business, close to his heart, in granite supplies for high-end contractors.

Roger was a superb and dedicated salesman and enjoyed passing on the knowledge of his medical technology to his physicians. They trusted his advice, and most of them became great personal friends for many years. (One of his clients was a dare-devil balloonist; in his first trip they ended up in a tree, requiring rescue.) His attention to detail, his medical knowledge, and his warm personality made him a very successful salesman.

He met Heddy-Dale Matthias, MD during his work as a pharmaceutical representative for DuPont in Syracuse, NY. He married Dr. Matthias, a native of Morrisville, NY, and an anesthesiologist, in 1983 in Albany, NY, and continued his own career and hers in the Jackson, MS, area. In addition to his corporate sales work, he also ran Dr. Matthias’s anesthesiology business office. Roger loved taking their Golden Retrievers on long walks on trails in the area.

They traveled throughout the world. Their favorite trips were to Denmark (where he was treated like a king at the Bang and Olufsen electronics factory), Iceland, (where he and Heddy were personally escorted around the laboratories of deCode Genetics), Coeur d’Alene, ID, Las Vegas, New York City, Roger’s favorite Maui, and their favorite city of New Orleans. Roger also included many trips to Delaware to visit with his family and friends.

Roger had a love of collecting unique chess boards made of unusual materials – onyx, stone, and one of Civil War generals given to him by his sister Carol. He had a true obsession with collecting small older Mercedes convertibles and two-seaters of all colors, otherwise identical. At his death, he had six, and continuously vexed his neighbors by rotating their parking on the street and his garage to avoid being given tickets by the local Sugar Land police.

His marriage to Dr. Matthias ended in divorce in 2016, although they remained the best of friends and travel companions until his untimely death.

Roger enjoyed his new three-story house in a gated community in Sugar Land, TX, and especially his love of great food, wine, and restaurants. His favorite meal was fresh oysters on the half shell at Luke Restaurant in New Orleans. He was a fabulous decorator, and his house was full of unusual contemporary furniture and paintings. He was never happier than when grilling and relaxing on his patio by a lovely lake in Sugar Land, watching the kayakers ripple by in silence. He was always happy to greet his neighbors as they passed by his porch on the walking trail around the lake.

He had a love of movies and films of all types and had a huge collection of every genre. However, “The Godfather I and II” were his favorite movies. He knew the dialogue by heart and used its famous quotes frequently.

He was predeceased by his parents, Raymond V. Gilbert and Emma F. Gilbert, and his sister Janet L. Gilbert. He is survived by his sister, Carol Elaine Gilbert Ford, of Bear, DE, his nephew Captain Richard Donald King, III (Jen) of Lewes, DE, his nephew Jason Joseph Duncan (Jess) of Newark, DE, his niece Sherry Anne Marie VanHekle (Kevin) of Townsend, DE, and their two sons Kevin J. VanHekle and Lee Axton VanHekle, and numerous friends.

In lieu of flowers, please kindly consider contributions to the boys’ education funds c/o Edward Jones, Attn. Mr. Steve Lucas, 1601 Milltown Road, Suite 5, Wilmington, DE 19808.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be scheduled in the future in Delaware.


A service summary is not available
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