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Gerald I. Roth

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Gerald I. Roth
Attorney Gerald I. Roth, 76, of Allentown, died peacefully in his sleep on August 6, 2007, in his home, which he shared with this wife of 54 years, Selma. Born in Allentown, he was the son of the late Eugene and Juliet Roth, of Hungary. He graduated from Perkiomen Prep and attended Muhlenberg College. He transferred to U.C.L.A., where he graduated with honors in 1952. He graduated from Northwestern University Law School as a member of The Order of the Coif. After graduating law school, he returned to Los Angeles and taught torts at U.C.L.A., then joined a high profile Beverly Hills firm, representing many famous Hollywood clients including Lana Turner and Donald OConnor, with whom he was close friends. He returned to Allentown in 1960, where he was in private practice for 47 years. In his career, he represented many college basketball coaches and athletes, including Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein. In the 1990s he was involved in a landmark case and groundbreaking decision involving the N.C.A.A. In his private life, Jerry was a man with many passions. First and foremost was his family, including his five children and six grandchildren, who affectionately called him Zayde. He proudly referred to himself as an old-fashioned, bleeding -heart liberal, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1968 and 1972. As a lover of politics and history, he was proud to have hosted Gerald Ford as a dinner guest in his home in the 1960s. He loved sports, especially college basketball, often boasting to friends of the many games he attended throughout the season, and singing fight songs, all of which he knew by heart. He also was a fan of thoroughbred horse racing. Morning Call readers may remember him as my friend the horseman. He owned several racehorses with his family, and stood in the winners circle many times. Another passion was the arts. In the 1960s and 1970s he promoted concerts in the area, including the Grateful Dead, Chicago, and Santana. He also hosted piano virtuoso Van Cliburn in his home. He loved attending concerts by the Allentown Band and going to Philadelphia to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra. Typical to his outgoing nature, he struck up a friendship with Maestro Riccardo Muti, and went often to see him conduct. He also enjoyed attending the opera, and often went with his daughter-in-law to the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. He was recently spotted at Banana Joes, listening to the Blissters, his youngest sons band. Jerry traveled extensively around the world, finding the most pleasure in his 28 visits to Paris. He traveled on four missions to Israel. At home, he was an avid gardener with a penchant for tomatoes, and roses, both of which he shared with friends and family. He was a collector of many prized possessions, including matches, magnets, college sweatshirts, newspapers, classic movies, and beanie babies (grandchild inspired), as well as, artwork including Steuben Glass and the sculpture of his friend Harry Bertoia. He loved dogs, especially basset hounds. To his grandchildren, he imparted essential knowledge on many subjects, not the least of which was the game of poker. He had an unusual sense of humor, and loved to stop around town and share jokes, which he referred to as old chestnuts, and always told people he was feeling not bad, for an old Hungarian. The hackneyed expression living life to its fullest really applied to Jerry, who found every day to be sensational, and a blessing. Survivors: Along with his wife Selma, he is survived by his children, Judd, Kyle and wife Lisa, Adam and wife Penny, Douglas, and Melissa; and his six grandchildren, Capri, Alex, Jade, Nikki, Leah, and Veronica. Services: Funeral service will be held today, August 8, 2007, at 1:00 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 1305 Springhouse Road, Allentown. Contributions: May be made in his memory to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, 702 N. 22nd St., Allentown, Pa., 18104, or to Temple Beth El Building Fund, 1305 Springhouse Rd, Allentown, Pa., 18104. Arrangements by the J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Allentown.
Published in Morning Call on Aug. 8, 2007
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