Roberta M. (Stock) Pendleton was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. She attended Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) in Ames where she was amember of the Kappa Delta Sorority. In 1947 Pendleton helped form and was president of the Kappa Delta Alumni Association. After graduating with a BS in art, she moved to Chicago, where she worked as a home lighting expert at a large utility company.
When World War II began she joined the United States Navy Reserve. She completed her training to become a WAVE (a female navy officer in communications at Northhampton) and in 1943 was an Ensign stationed at Navy Yard,Washington. There she worked in communications and served as the Art Editor for the NYWASH monthly bulletin. In 1944 Pendleton was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade. After the war, she returned to Sioux City where she met and married Donald Pendleton.
Roberta Pendleton was active in various civic andsocial activities in Sioux City, ranging from the Emerson Study Club to the Sioux City Boat Club.