In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Audrey Hanes Roberson, 98

Audrey Roberson, 1921-2020

Audrey Hanes Roberson, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among Southeast Asian Affinity Peoples in Vietnam and the Philippines, died May 31, 2020. She was 98.

A native of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Roberson was born June 2, 1921, to the late Robert D. and Ida Carpenter Hanes.

She attended Spencerian Business College, Charlotte, and received the Associate of Arts from Mars Hill College (now University). Roberson worked as a secretary at businesses in Charlotte and in Louisville, Kentucky, and at First Baptist Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, where she met William T. Roberson in 1948. They married a few months later.
When applying to be a missionary, Roberson wrote that she had accepted Jesus as her Savior as a child and first felt God calling her to the mission field when she was 15 years old. But feeling she couldn’t go, she decided to do as much as she could through her local church. From age 17, she held leadership roles in her churches, focusing on discipleship and Woman’s Missionary Union organizations for women and girls.

After she married Bill, he held pastorates in Kentucky and North Carolina. While at the last church, she wrote, they attended Foreign Mission Week at Ridgecrest, Southern Baptist conference center in North Carolina, and realized the “vast need for couples prepared and experienced to go to the mission field.” They volunteered to go.

The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them in 1959 to Vietnam, where they served in Nha Trang, Saigon and Dalat. In 1975, they transferred to the Philippines, where they worked in Manila and Dagupan. They served 26 years before retiring to North Carolina. They were living in Cary when she died.

A memorial service was held at Westwood Baptist Church, Cary, with burial at Patterson Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.
Roberson is survived by her husband of 71 years, Bill; daughters, Amelia Bennett (Steve) and Nancy Roberson; son, John Roberson (Amy); and three grandchildren. Audrey was preceded in death by a son, Hanes Roberson and a grandson, Billy Roberson.

Donations in Roberson’s memory may be made to Transitions Hospice at, Westwood Baptist Church at, Woman’s Missionary Union at or to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at

Read an obituary here.