Roger Roth

Roger Roth, 89, of Washington, Iowa, passed away Monday, March 18, 2024, at his home surrounded by his family.

Roger was born in Goehner, Nebraska to Clarence and Katie (Widmer) Roth on November 14, 1934, the third son of five boys. Roger’s family settled on a farm one mile west of Olds, Iowa. He graduated from Olds High School in 1953 and attended Goshen College and Iowa Wesleyan. Roger was baptized in the Sugar Creek Mennonite Church and served in alternative service (1-W) as a conscientious objector in Des Moines, Iowa and Richmond, Indiana. Roger married Joanne (Roth) Roth in 1960 and raised their family on his family’s farm west of Olds.

Roger’s faith and church community were central to his life; he experienced a spiritual renewal in the 1970s. He was a founding member of Washington Mennonite Church and served on the boards of MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Association) and Parkview Home.

After retirement from farming, Roger built a home on a bluff overlooking a timbered creek bottom south of Washington, Iowa, adjacent to Crooked Creek Christian Camp (CCCC). In the 1970s, Roger would walk in this same timber and pastureland, then owned by his in-laws, when he had a vision of people gathered, praising the Lord among the trees. He shared his vision with a group of Mennonite church leaders seeking a location for a Christian camp. He would later serve as CCCC’s founding president of the board of directors from 1980-1992. It was his work with the creation of the Camp that he found most meaningful. Well-into his 80s, Roger could be seen on his dozer, tractor, or four-wheeler using his chainsaw to remove cedar trees, spraying for multiflora rose, and encouraging oak saplings.

Roger would go out of his way to share what he had with others and enjoyed being with people. He was a member of Wayland Lion’s Club and a regular at morning coffee in Wayland. He drove his Oliver 80 tractor in parades throughout southeast Iowa and was especially fond of old Cadillacs. He wintered in Sarasota, Florida with his wife, connecting with his cousins and brothers, making new friends, and establishing a second church home with Sarasota Community Church.

Roger was married to Joanne Roth for 63 years (d. Aug. 2023); the father of Kendra (Jeff) Landes of Iowa City, Erin Roth (Chris Giannella) of Baltimore, Maryland, and Tyler (Sarah) Roth of Goshen, Indiana; grandfather to Katelin Hamlin (Eric), Kelsey Mason (Jordan), Emma Headings (Zac), Grace Roth, Matthew Roth, Tillman Giannella and Matteo Giannella, and great-grandfather of six. Roger’s older brothers Dan and Junior, and youngest brother, Mervin preceded him in death. In addition to his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, he is survived by a brother Loren and sister-in-law Julie of South Bend, Indiana and his brother Dan’s wife, Donna of Lincoln, Nebraska, and his South African exchange student, Cheryl (Joseph) Smith and her family of Austin, Texas. Roger was a beloved uncle of more than twenty nieces and nephews and was one of 63 first cousins. He was a faithful member of Washington Mennonite Church and had many friends that were like family.

A memorial service is planned for 4:00 PM, Sunday, May 5, 2024, at the Washington Mennonite Church. the family will receive friends from 2:30 PM until service time at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Crooked Creek Christian Camp or Hospice of Washington County in Washington, Iowa.