George Robert Roth, 86, passed away peacefully on January 6, 2024, surrounded by family. George was one of a kind! He was truly a devoted father, husband, and grandfather, and yet, his unmatched zest for life, inherent whimsy, and relish for life’s simple pleasures could lead him on a new adventure without notice.
George was born on August 16, 1937, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania to Robert and Elizabeth Roth, who immigrated separately from Germany after World War I and met in Atlantic City. George was the oldest of three children and had a younger sister and brother. When George was a teen, the family moved from Pennsylvania to Vineland, New Jersey where he attended high school. George joined the Navy immediately after graduating, traveling the world. In the Navy, George made a good friend who convinced George to join him at the University of Utah after they finished their service.
As George settled in Salt Lake City, he made the small but fateful decision to bank at Prudential Federal Savings where he crossed paths with a pretty bank teller named Mary Haynes. He always stood in her line to deposit his paycheck on Fridays and eventually worked up the nerve to ask her out. George and Mary were married on May 26, 1962, in Salt Lake and George began working earnestly toward an Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Utah, graduating with a BS degree in 1967.
After completing his degree, George went to work for Utah Power & Light, a company where he held many positions and was able to work on significant public utility projects, including collaborating on projects in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. George was very intellectually curious about the world and enjoyed understanding the science behind the electrical grid that supported the growing West.
George and Mary moved to Bountiful, Utah in 1968 and raised three much loved daughters who were their greatest joy. George supported his girls through every facet of their lives, going to every piano recital, band or choir concert, and science fair. He encouraged them all to pursue university degrees, so long as it was not at BYU. He was convinced they were all beautiful and brilliant, and was their most loyal advocate. He would never forget a slight to one of his girls (real or perceived), so if our dad was ever rude to you, it was probably our fault (sorry).
Family was everything to George. Even though he lived in Utah, he maintained close relationships with his family, particularly his beloved nieces, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with frequent visits and calls. When the time came, George loved being a grandfather even though he never fully accepted that he was old enough to be one. “Georgie” was a favorite with all seven of his grandchildren. Likely because he was always up for going down any type of slide, laughed at all of their jokes, and maintained a childlike wonder of the world. Georgie was adept at putting his grandchildren to sleep with his gentle reading of bedtime stories and would read to his grandkids over the phone for as long as they would tolerate it. His favorite stories were fairy tales, the Gruffalo, and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series.
George loved the daily joys of life. He incomparably enjoyed a good sandwich. Once he found someone who made a sandwich the “right” way, well, he would only allow that person to make it for him. The family sends a big thank you to the employees at Dick’s, Quiznos, and Little America for feeding him and accommodating his particular palate over the years. He loved Cherry Cokes, baking chocolate cakes, gardening, M*A*S*H*, July fireworks, practical jokes, Hallmark movies, Debbie Macomber books, Johnny Carson, the Beach Boys, Jim Croce, and the NY Times magazine on the weekends. He never missed a weekend workout at the gym with his friends if he could help it. He loved fiercely and counted many of his friends and neighbors as the family he chose. If George loved you, you knew it.
George was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, John. He is survived by his wife of over 61 years, Mary Margaret Haynes Roth, and their three daughters Christine Mary Roth (Wesley Stien), Andrea Michelle Wright (Aaron), and Aimee Anne Smith (Micha); 7 grandchildren: Noah Aaron, Zane George, Ian Roth, Olivia Kate, Jonas McConkie, Sadie Georgia, and Lucy Elizabeth; and his sister, Irene Bentz. Special thanks to the University of Utah’s medical team for their incredible skill and support.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main Street, Bountiful, Utah, with a visitation prior to the service from 12:45-1:45 p.m. Interment to take place at the Bountiful City Cemetery at a later date.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This cause was dear to George’s heart because of his granddaughter who lives with Type 1 Diabetes. We all continue to hope for a cure. www.jdrf.com