In memoriam: James E. ‘Rock’ Roth
James E. “Rock” Roth, CAPT USN (Ret)
“God first, then family and country.” Rock Roth lived his credo with undisguised love and compassion. He died unexpectedly on February 27 while returning from a family trip to Arizona. He was 76.
He was a devout Christian, a loving husband, a model father to his children, stepchildren and large extended family. He was a career Naval aviator and patriot.
Rock Roth joined the U.S. Navy in 1958 at the age of 20. A year later he became a naval aviator and a commissioned officer. During his naval career he served on several ships and duty stations—accumulating over 1,200 aircraft carrier landings, many at night. Among the highlights of his distinguished naval career, Roth was “Air Boss” on USS America (CVA-66) and—here in the Pacific Northwest—he was the Navy’s Homeport Coordinator, overseeing the development of Naval Station Everett. He retired from the Navy in 1989.
Shortly before retiring, he became attracted to Rotary, primarily because if its commitment to the motto: Service Above Self. He was often heard to say “…not service above God, not service above family, not service above country, but service above self.” To many, Rock’s dedication to this concept permeated his entire life. He served Rotary in several leadership capacities, including president of the Rotary Club of Edmonds and, most recently, as president of the Rotary Club of Edmonds Daybreakers.
Nearly a decade ago, he became interested in the work of the Everett-based Burned Children Recovery Foundation, working with childhood burn victims and serving on the organization’s board of directors. He recently retired as board chairman.
Capt. Roth was Chaplain of Edmonds’ VFW Post 8870 and organized their speakers bureau for local schools and chaired the annual Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen essay competitions.
Largely through the work of the Edmonds Daybreakers, he dedicated much of his time and effort to Scriber Lake High School, where he was well known and well accepted by staff and students alike. Everyone at Scriber knew and loved “Rock.” He was an active parishioner at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Shoreline.
Besides his extensive extended family, Rock is survived by his wife, Marilyn, children Mark, Cheryl, Rebecca & D; grandchildren Chantel, Eddie and Raiden; Kendra, mother of Mark and Cheryl; brother Jerry Roth; sons- and daughters-in law; numerous “adopted” children and grandchildren.
A memorial service for James E. “Rock” Roth will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 22, at the Aurora Nazarene Church, 175th and Meridian in Shoreline. In lieu of flowers remembrances are suggested to the Burned Children Recovery Foundation, the Rotary Foundation or St. Barnabas Anglican Church.