Madison-Sylvia Lynne Martin Mitchell Roberts was born in Oyen, Alberta, Canada, on October 23, 1932.

She died peacefully at Agrace HospiceCare on July 9, 2017, attended by her devoted husband, Dr. Thomas Warren Roberts.

Daughter and granddaughter of Canadian prairie homesteaders, Sylvia’s family moved to southern Wisconsin in 1935; she was a graduate of Madison Business College. She married Ralph Dale Mitchell of Baraboo in 1951 and had two daughters and a son. They divorced in 1976. She worked as a supervisory administrative assistant in various UW departments, including women’s Physical Education and Mathematics. She married physiologist Tom Roberts in 2001.

Sylvia was an intellectual omnivore who loved studying history, especially Biblical history, and science. She loved getting her hands dirty creating glorious gardens. She couldn’t carry a tune but loved music; she couldn’t remember jokes, but loved to laugh at everyone else’s. Before her paralytic stroke in 1989, she was an avid craftswoman, making wreaths, sewing clothes for her family, making fancy cakes for birthdays, and baking her own bread.

Despite the challenges she faced, she never failed to say, “I am so blessed.”

She is survived by her best friend and husband, Tom; brother Raymond Martin of Whitewater; sister Virginia “Ginger” Faye Martin Brown (John) of Greensboro NC; daughters Jenny Rose Folsom (Fred) of Silver Spring MD and Joni Lynne Weaver (Jon) of Madison; and son William Joseph “Bill” Mitchell, of Orange Beach, AL.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Friday, July 14, at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 South Owen Drive, Madison, WI 53711, with Msgr. Kenneth Fiedler presiding. The family will receive guests at 10:00 am. Mass will be at 11:00 am, followed by burial at Resurrection Cemetery. Because she loved flowers, Sylvia requested that those attending wear bright colors

The family would like to thank the professional staff at Agrace HospiceCare for their exceptional care of Sylvia. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made in Sylvia’s name to Agrace Foundation, 5395 East Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711 or online at To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Joyce-Ryan Funeral Home

& Cremation Services

5701 Odana Road