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Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:06 pm
by Johnsbrother
As John's only brother I am proud of John's accomplishments and his ability to rally people to a cause that he believed in. If you do a web search using "John Roth Ozark Trail" you will find a good number of pages referencing his deeds. The websites show a great number of people happy to work on a great project. While there are a few pictures of John, the great majority are of the volunteers. The scarcity of pictures of John bothered me until I realized that John was the one behind the camera. That says something about his selflessness in this grand venture. John wanted to create a wonderful Ozark Trail - he devoted his time and energy to a very worthwhile project. Many of us wish to accomplish something in this life worthy of notice and I am grateful that John was able to do this in a very large way that enabled many people to enjoy the Ozarks as much as John surely did. There's a video of a flyover of the Ozark Trail on this website that lasts over eight minutes that John created from Google sources. Not once in the credits is there any mention of John's name - a testament to the selflessness that John approached this project.

I greatly miss my brother, unable to quite fathom that he is truly on the other side of the veil. On April 3, 2009 I debated on sending John a quick note wishing him a happy 50th birthday. I am ashamed to say that I did not send that note. I didn't because I remembered how I didn't want anyone making a fuss of being "over the hill." Sadly, the opportunity is now irrevocably lost as John has indeed gone over the hill. As someone wrote on the Post Dispatch obituary, "Sometimes one must wonder, why take the Good People?" I know this: it is a reminder that we must take every opportunity to let the people we love know how much they mean to us, for one never knows when it may be the last time to do so. At this time my heart is heavy with grief, but a smile shines through when I think of how much he meant to all of you who read this.

I cherish that so many of you have sent wonderful notes expressing how much John meant to you, that he inspired you all to carve out a path through a beautiful part of the world, and that he was a fun person to be with. Since I live in Colorado I was unable to participate in the Ozark Trail projects - believe me when I tell you that I would be there with tool in hand every chance possible. I hope someday to return to Missouri with time to walk a portion of the trail, perhaps with one of you along side to share the wonderful memories. I know that many of you will take time on the next project to think private thoughts about this wonderful man. While the loss is great - take solace in knowing that you are a part of his dream for a great project and that at some point, not too far in the future (I hope), that this grand Ozark Trail will indeed extend from St. Louis to Arkansas with a great many vistas of beauty and wonder for everyone who hikes the backwoods to appreciate and savor.

John lived a rich, full life with gusto and savvy. He accomplished a great deal more than most and he left this planet with a greater gift for all of us. Truly remarkable and I am very, very proud of my brother. God, take him gently and know that he will be a cherished partner in tending the Garden of Heaven.

Rest in Peace my dear brother.

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:45 pm
by Ira Neuman
In November of 1998, I joined an amazing consulting firm by the name of Mackensie and Roth. It turned out to be the best job decision I have ever made because of the talented people I had the pleasure of working with and especially John Roth.

I have been reading these wonderful testimonials, mostly about John's passion for the Ozark Trail and how he changed peoples lives. Well, it is not surprising to me at all.

John also changed all the lives of those that worked for him. He was a true genius who started a firm with only himself and growing it to over 35 consultants. MacKensie and Roth reached the top 10 of the 50 fastest growing companies in the St. Louis area. Everyone had an entrpreneurial spirit that was driven by John. I only worked for him for 6 months as the company was sold to my present company, Levi, Ray and Shoup.

John and I continued to remain friends all these many years. I will never forget the tailgating at the Rams games, especially during the super bowl years. Throwing the football with John, his son Mike and my son Adam seemed so minor then, but is cherished today. And the bbq'ed tenderloin, how awesome that was!

I spoke to John a little over a month ago when he was wondering if I knew of any company that was looking to hire a .Net developer. This of course was for his son Mike.

I am still in shock since hearing about this tragedy. I do find myself laughing out loud at times when I think of all the great times I shared with John. I am certain that is what John would want. To think of him and share a smile or a laugh. I will definitely share a toast to him many times.

I truly loved the man and will miss him forever.

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:57 pm
by Kathie
I received many wonderful e-mails from John over the past several years and always felt his enthusiasm...
09/08 -"I'm really, really excited about this weekend. Someone may have to pinch me to make sure it's not a dream. Wasn't this trail just about dead a decade ago? Don't we now have about one of the most dynamic group of volunteers in the Midwest? Is this all real? At times, this whole experience brings tears to my eyes. It is extraordinary."
5/08 - "I had a fabulous time this past weekend. It was great to see both new faces and returning volunteers. We had a final count of 78 for this event and we built about 3/4 mile of new trail-- a legacy that thousands will enjoy."
01/09 -"Many thanks to the 43 volunteers who built 1/2 mile of new trail on Saturday. One of our long-time volunteers commented to me that it reminded him of the "good old days" when the OTA just started building trail-- there seemed to be great chemistry with this group and I know I certainly had a lot of fun.

But this is the one that really hit home....he was one of the most humble individuals I have ever known and I dare to say I will never meet one like him again.

"I haven't written a gushy email in a while, but after proofing the latest OTA newsletter I can't help but write another.
<sniff> I love you guys. <reaches for a Kleenex>

A quick story: It was 1998 as I stood at the podium of my company's annual retreat and honestly told them they were the best group of people I had ever worked with. After several years of hard work and nurturing we had assembled a tremendous pool of talent. It was a dedicated group with great personality. Collectively we did some pretty impressive work. I looked forward to each day knowing I was in the company of great people.

Roll the clock forward ten years--I'm without a podium, but I stand virtually before a new group to say: you are the best people I have ever worked with. While I'm proud of that group from 1998, I'm even prouder of the group before me today. Ozark Trail volunteers, and you folks in particular, are the most impressive group of people I've had the pleasure of working beside. Your dedication is inspiring. Your collective work is amazing. Your achievements are stunning.

Thank your for turning a once neglected trail into a National Recreation Trail. Thank you for your part in 60,000 hours of volunteer work. Thank you for making the OTA events the most rewarding experience I've had. Thanks for the memories of the past six years, and the achievements yet to come.

I look forward to working with each of you this fall, knowing I'm in the company of great people." is you who we thank now for having the vision, the tenacity, the zest, the drive, the dedication to inspire us, and most of all, the passion to go out everyday you could to do what you loved to do. You said "You wanted to grow old building and maintaining the OT." So did so many of us with you but I know we will continue in your honor because you honored us by your love of the Ozark Trail. I will miss you so much....Kathie

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:34 am
by Kathie
A fellow OTA volunteer, Paul Corley sent this to some of us just a few days ago. It says everything and more that so many of us just couldn't find the words to put down on paper. I wanted to share it with you all....

Sunday, July 5

Deeply sadden greetings to all,

I share your great pain & sadness at the news of John's untimely death! We have lost our very wonderful leader to an extremely & untimely tragic accident! My heart goes out to all of you during this terrible, gut wrenching time! We all shared a special bond of love & total commitment to this great man!

John Roth simply had us all under his spell! We wanted to do whatever he needed doing! He had a warmth & intensity that couldn't be resisted by mortal mankind! He was our fearless leader with a vision we could all share! Not only did he lead by example, he was a "Pied Piper of people" with trail building tools as his flute! We would follow him down the trail, cross the river, & through the jungle to reach our goal! He inspired us to do the dirtiest, muddiest, wettest work in the worst weather possible; chores that we would never do for our husbands, wives, or lovers!

The funny thing is somehow he made it fun & enjoyable as we somehow able to create a new thing out of dirt & rock that was larger than all of us. We did it cheerfully, & begged for more! He was both Lewis & Clarke in one person! There is no explaining the nature of how or why we all loved, admired, & were captivated by him but we all knew that each one of us were willingly & happily under his spell!

Now we are mourning him & afterward we must rally around his ideas & visions! We must work even harder & more often to attain his goal of the Ozark Trail & beyond! Whoever takes over the reins will need all our single minded, wholehearted, & unwavering support! He or she will face many very difficult challenges both seen & unforeseeable!

My deepest & most heartfelt love & sympathy goes out to all of you! There was a little of John in each one of us that nothing can take from us! He gave it to us all! I am so glad I was able to work & play with him if only for such a very short time!

In tears & sadness,
Paul V Corley
Ozark Trail Volunteer

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:36 pm
by krisswanson
John was a most valued partner with the Mark Twain National Forest. I will miss him.
Kris Swanson
Mark Twain National Forest
Rolla, MO

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:23 pm
by Robert Smith
Thank you for this link. It was nearly a week ago that I received the call from Steve. I was travelling with my family and had no access to the internet. For six days, I have been thinking of John and what he meant to me. I was his best friend. Anyone he met was his best friend. John could do that - - he made all acquaintances feel special.
There were so many sides to John. He could be exasperating! Anything less than perfect was not good enough. I remember so clearly the OTA's first outing, when John hauled us all out to a section of trail that connected Berryman Trail to Hwy 8. We worked all day behind the dozer as it cut its way down a gravel hillside. John was incessant, as he traveled from one volunteer to the next, always asking, "Are you done with that?", but asking in a way that clearly told us that we were not. And, who can forget that frigid Super Bowl Sunday, when John laid a Pulaski 20 feet in front of a tired crew and asked us if we could make it to that point? Oh yes, John could be exasperating.
But, John was thoughtful. How many of us must admit to just how proud we felt when the trail Guru came by and complimented us on our trail-building abilities. Could each of us have been the best novice trail-builder ever?
Yes, there were many sides to John. A visionary, a manager, a coach, a crew leader. John really did take a leaf blower out one snowy morning and blow the snow off our work site, rather than cancel the event.
John the practical joker. Oh, the stories we can tell! Let's leave those for the campfires. I'm certain that, if he had the opportunity to choose the side for which he was remembered, that's the one that John would pick. Of the photos of John being displayed on the website I vote for John the Pirate. Arggg!


Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:17 am
by edschlogl
Some of you might remember me from 2003,thats when I met John.I was with the Shawn Hornbeck Search and Rescue and had come over from Richwoods to help on part of the trail around Council Bluff Lake,I had a a.t.v.and helped haul people and tools.I believe Shawn Hornbecks Brother inlaw was with the Forest Service and was there.I remember meeting John and Paul Nazarenko,they were sceptical about using a a.t.v.on the trail but we utilized it to haul people and tools on the trailer off of the trail,it worked out well.I was talking with John recently about getting back involved and using my equiptment to haul when needed when the accident happened.I will try to see you all on Fri.I wanted to let those of you that arent aware that there was another article about John in the Obituaries page A 19 on Thurs.7/09/09 in the Post. Respectfully Ed S.

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:44 pm
by cavershawn
Dear Roth and OTA Family,
It's been nearly two weeks and I still cannot believe something this unfathomable. I still tear up, flooded with memories and drowned in the reality that I'll never see my friend again.
I met John while working at REI. During our initial chat, one which led to hours of conversation both face to face and on the phone, he mentioned that he had some land in Crawford County. My ears perked up and immediately I asked if he had any caves on his property. My eyes got wider and my ears bigger when he said "Well, as a matter o' fact, I do!" He assured me I could visit the cave whenever the "crazy man" that lived in the trailer by the cave was moved to avoid being the recipient of a shotgun blast. He hadn't even finished closing the purchase of that part of the farm. One challenging cave-mapping project later, countless camping trips at the farm, and the many, many OTA events I've participated in will forever cascade down my memory bank. These beautiful memories will hopefully one day enable the tears to be replaced by smiles exclusively.
John was always professional without being condescending, always kind and generous even when he was stressed (which he hid well if he ever was stressed!) He was always willing to allow me and my friends to camp on his property. He was responsible without being preachy. He could keep up with folks half his age imbibing in the hooches shared around the bonfires. The affect he had on people, both old friends and new faces was noble and deep.
I will forever cherish my bond with John and thank him and you all for fueling my addiction to all things Ozark Trail. Float on, my brother! Your legacy shall never fade.
Your Pal,
Shawn Williams

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:07 pm
by SRAdams
This is a tragic loss to many. John had an impact on quite a number of lives.

I knew him for about 35 years. We met sometime early in high school. I had not seen him for several years, but I always knew I could call and catch up pretty quickly. I wish there had been more time.

I learned much from John, from technical tips to backbacking advice to quotes from Monty Python. I am thankful for all that time, and for the year I spent working for him at MacKenzie & Roth.

John's passion for the Ozarks was apparent in the late 70s, when I first hiked Taum Sauk with him. We hiked it on several other occasions as well. He knew and loved the area, and it is not surprising that he chose to make the trail his focus for so long. Most of what I know and appreciate about the Ozarks comes from John. I am sure that is true for many of you.

Few people are blessed with the intelligence and other abilities he had. Fewer still are natural leaders. It is truly rare when such a talented individual applies their abilities toward a greater good. We are all fortunate to benefit from his years of work on the Ozark Trail Project. I hope that some portion of the work can carry his name to honor his leadership in making the trail system what it is today.

I will hike the trail again, this time thinking of my old friend, with great appreciation for all his accomplishments.

Steve Adams

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:53 pm
by Kathie
Good guys make things happen, good guys get things done, make the work look easy, make the job seem fun, try a little harder, show the world their pride, celebrate the good stuff, take the rest in stride...
Good guys make a differance, in their quiet way, seldom seem like heroes, till they save the day, plan a little smarter, wisely wait to see, what's the best direction for all to see...
Good guys do the right thing, care and share a lot, never sweat the small stuff, give life their best shot, always go the distance, without a further thought.
Good guys like John are far and few....

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:47 am
by woodcarver
John came into my life all the way back in the 1st. grade when he and his brother Jim moved into the house next door. We became freinds instantly. John and Jim and I became brothers and best freinds in our childhood. John and I were always playing in the woods back behind our parents houses and even built some trails. So I geuss that was the begining of Johns trail building and the love of the outdoors. It was John that got me into rockclimbing back when we were in high school and we both dreamed of some day climbing Mount Mckinley. After high school our paths took us in different directions but I would always think of John and hoped to see him when visiting my parents. With looking at all the letters and pictures I can see that John did not change at all. It is a wonderful thing when one is able to chase and persue his dreams as John did and touch so many lives the way that John did. I will miss John, he was and will always be in my heart and mind. I hope all that are involved in the OTA will continue Johns work and make his dream complete. He will be missed by all, but he will still be with us all in heart. My heart goes out to his wife Ann and children Michael and Tom, His mom and dad Charlie and Marie and his brother Jim and his family. May God be with you through these tough times.

Bob Eime

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:04 pm
by campdoctor
The OTA board wants to make sure that everyone knows that we are alive and well and planning a full schedule for the fall when the weather breaks, including two Megas. We believe, as many of you do, that the best way we can honor John's memory is to continue the work that gave meaning and satisfaction to John and so many others.

So...hop on over to worksite page, sign up, and join us to build some more trail!


Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:13 pm
by Ed Kindley
JOHN (in memorium)

He was a giant of a man,
This man called John.
He strode the earth, the trails were his,
He laid foundations, mapped and drew
The plans for volunteering crew,
Through glade and forest, uphill, down,
His vision for a trail that bound
St Louis to the border south of town.
Relentlessly he led the charge,
Commanded forces small and large,
Called forth a spirit in his crews
In rain, or shine, or snowy dews,
Sniffed out the funding and support
Of every source that he could find,
Made use of hands of every sort
Left none unchallenged in his mind,
Took each of us into his trust
And left us breathless in his dust.

He was an ordinary man,
This man called John.
Two feet, two arms, and not so tall
As some who tower over all;
No Nobel Prize, no national fame,
No special powers or acclaim;
so like a neighbor down the street
you never took the time to greet,
you’d pass him by without a look,
(you’d really rather read a book)
He didn’t stand out in a crowd
His voice not very shrill or loud.
In passing hundreds on the street
You’d not pick him as one to meet,
He’s just an ordinary guy
Although not one you thought could die.

So, too, he was a tiny man,
This man called John.
Yet in this guise he found a nook
Within the hearts of us who took
No notice of his entry there;
And silently began to work
His magic; nestling as it were
like leaven in a lump of dough,
the silent form began to grow
So slow we didn’t know or care
Until we felt his presence there.
For those who ask, “Where did John go?”
A thousand voices surely know!
He found the place of best repose
Within our hearts; and now as his
Beats one with ours, he is not gone;
We move together down his trail as one.

Ed Kindley
OTA Vounteer
Wildwood, MO
July 16, 2009

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:36 pm
by mjsmamma
What struck me about John from the two times I participated in a Mega, were his kindness, warmth, and contagious enthusiasm. That enthusiasm spilled over, and inspired me talk eight of my friends and family into participating in the Fall 08 Mega. Our kids named him Santa, because he gave them all raffle tickets, and, after seeing they weren’t winning anything, kept ‘finding’ prizes to give them.

When I looked at the portraits John took at the Fall Mega '08, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one who felt the kindness, warmth and enthusiasm that John had, because you can see it mirrored in all of their faces.

What an awe-inspiring legacy; to have worked so hard on something that will be here long after we’re all gone, and, to have inspired so many people to join in.

Re: John Roth Memorial Tribute

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:09 pm
by jsharp
It is now the end of September and we are in prime trailbuilding season. I logged into the forum in July but just sat here in front of an empty box, crying and at a loss for words. I had only know John a year and a half, but I feel extremely fortunate for that time. Even as I stood in the crowd of people this past Saturday at the mega and watched as Steve stood there holding John's hard hat, tears streaming down my face, i still am in shock that our friend is really gone. We all have our 'John Roth' stories, and when I hear those of others and think of my own, I cry and smile at the same time. He had such a way about him that is almost indescribable. He instantly became my friend. I will always, always miss him, just as every one that knew him will. I will miss the crazy way he was all over the place at events, random phone calls to check on my 'knee' status, talks about t shirt slogans and trail business, or just chats over a cold one. When i step on the trail or drive up to Bass, I will always feel sad that he's gone, but grateful to have known him. To quote his quirky Elvis impression--thank ya, thank ya very much--for being my friend and being the reason I was able to meet and befriend such a wonderful group of people. John you instantly made me feel I was welcome in the warmest way. And yes, my friend, when i look up at the stars I think of you too. We will carry on, not just because we want to you for you, but because you were such an inspiration that your vision became our vision.