Edgar A. Roberge, 86: Professional wrestler, owned A & W

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BIDDEFORD – Edgar A. Roberge, of Old Orchard Beach, passed away Nov. 8, at St. Andre Health Care Facility in Biddeford, at the age of 86. Roberge is best remembered as the owner of the South Portland A&W Drive-In restaurant.

The son of Emma (Johnson) Roberge and Ernest Roberge of Sanford, he was born Aug. 4, 1929, the seventh of 11 children. Roberge attended St. Ignatius Elementary and High School, graduating with the Class of 1947. He was a star athlete who played varsity baseball, basketball and football.

After graduation, Roberge worked at various jobs during the day and moonlighted as a professional wrestler on the local circuit under the name “Baby-Face Robie” (due to his clean cut good looks). These adventures were the source of his favorite funny stories later in life.

In 1950, Roberge joined the Navy, and was trained as a corpsman during the Korean War. After his discharge he went to Nasson College and earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration.

He married Rita Ruel in 1955. After a few years in Sanford, the couple moved to Scarborough.

In 1962, Roberge purchased the seasonal A&W Drive-in on Main Street in South Portland, which he owned for 21 years. The drive-in was eventually replaced by a larger year-round restaurant, with both drive-in and inside table service. The restaurant was also equipped with telephones for placing orders, a novelty by today’s standards. The Roberges served as second parents to an entire generation of teens in South Portland and Scarborough during the time they owned the business.

Always entrepreneurial, the couple opened and sold a number of different businesses before they retired in 2003. Their last venture was Monograms Unlimited in Scarborough.

Roberge was a longtime member and director of the Scarborough Rotary Club, as well as a founding member of St. John’s Federal Credit Union (now Town & Country CU) and the South Portland Businessmen’s Association. He was a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church and, later, St. Maximilian Kolbe of Scarborough.

He was predeceased by his sister, Constance Bernard, and five brothers, Raymond, Armand, Emile, Oliva and Alden.

Roberge is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Rita Roberge of Old Orchard Beach; two sons, Michael Roberge of Scarborough and Marc Roberge  of Saco; two daughters, Laurie Roberge of Saco and Lisa Carter of Saco; three grandchildren; two brothers, Urban Roberge of Sanford and Richard Roberge of Saco; two sisters, Lorette Zuke of Biddeford and Rachel Dupuy of California.

The family would like to thank the staff and nurses at St. Andres Health Care and Hospice of Southern Maine.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Nov. 12, at St. Maximilian Kolbe, 105 Black Point Rd., Scarborough.