CASPER, Wyo. -- A family memorial service for Jerry "Dutch" Roth, 78, was held Friday, Nov. 23, in Casper. A full memorial service will be held over the Christmas holiday at Plymouth Congregational Church in Helena.
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With his family present, Jerry passed peacefully into the arms of God on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007, at Central Wyoming Hospice in Casper.
Jerry was born on July 14, 1929, to John and Mabel Roth in Manhattan, and was the youngest of their five children. He attended Manhattan High School and was active in sports throughout his high school career. Jerry is a member of the Manhattan High School Sports Hall of Fame.
A lifelong Sigma Chi, Jerry earned a master's degree in education while attending Montana State College in Bozeman following high school, and then a master's degree in special education from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, after teaching in Montana schools for several years. He coached the Park City High School basketball team to a state title before moving to Helena in September 1957.
An avid sports fan and competitor, Jerry coached Little League, Pony League and Babe Ruth baseball in Helena as well as church league basketball, and was a finish line timer at Montana high school track and field meets. He enjoyed playing handball at the local fire hall and when competition became scarce, he took up racquetball. Frequently he played golf with other teachers and friends, often entering local tournaments and benefit events.
Following college, Jerry served in the United States Air Force and eventually retired as a major in the Air Force Reserve.
On June 2, 1957, Jerry married registered nurse Alice Reno and they raised their three children, Paula, Jolene and Ron, in Helena where he worked in the Helena School District as a teacher, coach and special services director until his retirement in 1990.
Jerry and Alice were charter members of Plymouth Congregational Church in Helena and they continued to volunteer as a team at the church until Alice passed away in 1993. Jerry also volunteered with Alice at St. Peters Community Hospital in Helena after his retirement. With great determination they supported Montana Special Olympics, Carroll College of Helena, Montana State University, St. Peters Community Hospital, Plymouth Congregational Church, as well as any of the activities their children were involved in.
Jerry and Alice traveled with the high school sports teams and became favorites of the other parents, the athletes, cheerleaders and coaches. Jerry's purpose in life and his greatest joy was helping others. For Jerry and Alice, it was always about the kids in their life. Whether it was their own children or a Special Olympics athlete, they encouraged fitness physically, mentally and spiritually. On many occasions during athletic events Jerry would tell his son, "Don't give up … don't ever give up". This was how Jerry lived his life.
In September 2002 Jerry moved to Casper, Wyo., to be closer to his family and resided at Meadow Winds Assisted Living Community until October 2007 when he moved to Central Wyoming Hospice.
By God's side, Jerry has now joined his father and mother; his brothers, Ken and Floyd; his sisters, Mildred and Lois; and his loving wife, Alice.
Jerry is survived by his children, Paula Roth of Hamilton, Ontario, Jolene Bonander and her husband, Rick of Casper, and Ron Roth and his wife, Liz of Casper. Grandchildren include Dana Bonander of Casper, Heather Bonander of Pullman, Wash., Brandon Roth of Norfolk, Va., and Mallori Roth of Casper.
For their dedication and loving care, Jerry's family would like to thank the incredible staff at Meadow Winds Assisted Living Community and the angels at Central Wyoming Hospice.
Jerry will be laid to rest next to Alice at Fort Harrison Veteran's Cemetery in Helena.
The family asks that memorials be made in Jerry's name to Central Wyoming Hospice, or to the Special Olympics office of your choice.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 28, 2007