Thursday, October 31, 2019

Eulogy for My Father

My Eulogy for my father, at his Funeral, Given 10/28/2019. (See his obituary here)

Brevity is the soul of wit[i], and I’ll endeavor to be both.
Thank you all for coming today to share in this celebration of the Mass, and my Dad’s life. I can think of no better way to honor him than through a Mass. He was a loyal son of the Church. At he bedside, where he spent his last night at home, I found his Missal. On the cover, was the Christogram, HIS, which comes from the Latin, In Hoc Signo, or Under This Sign, a reference to Jesus[ii]. He clearly lived under this sign.
Today we mourn the passing of our Loving Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, mentor, friend and golfing buddy; colleague; Boss.
To me he was simply my dad. A great business and community leader, to be sure, but I remember was him as a father who taught by example.

  •  His example of hard work, and his relentlessness
  •  His example of charity, especially to the Church, a certain University[iii], and to Habitat for Humanity Collier County 
  •  His example of faith, like going to 630 mass every day during lent before going to work. Even when running a Multi-Billion $ business.[iv]
He taught the family, all of us, by his example. His example will wake up the echoes[v] for years to come.

These past two weeks have brought many happy memories of flooding back. 
  • In the seventies, mowing the lawn at 927 Cliffwood Lane, which was at a 45-degree angle, in Bermuda shorts, dark socks, and a Tshirt. 
  • Standing at the top of the stairs, Dad shouting “Where’s my gold pen!”. (When cleaning out his things over the past 2 weeks, I found them. Dad, they were under your desk.[vi]
  • Driving a car Connecticut to Florida and listening the same Prairie Home Companion 5 times.

While today is a day of undeniable sadness, it should also be a day of joy too. First and foremost, that Dad is no longer suffering. And second that he has received his eternal reward and is in heaven. Of this I have no doubt. But there is one final reason, and it’s not because Mom finally gets to control the remote.

The Irish have a notion of “Thin Places”[vii] where Heaven and Earth meet. Just a few weeks ago, when he was in the hospital, has just woken up. I asked how we was. He said “Good. I just saw Mom and Dad, and I haven't seen Dad in 16 years. They looked good.”[viii] I am confident this was true and that he had found one of these thin places. I am just as confident he is with Honey, Bear, Mary, Jim, Clem, Detmer, Hazel and the rest of the family. Let us be joyful for this too. He is with his family, and that his physical and spiritual suffering are over.

In conclusion, the best way I can end my remarks is to give him the last word. Those words are from his last word to us, in a letter he wrote; the words he wanted to sum up his life with.

To: Pat, Bill and David:
I have neglected putting this together for all too long now. I guess that I haven’t been willing to face up to the fact that my old ticker has more miles on it than is normal for my model year.
I have been blessed in so many ways during my lifetime that I am in awe of the generosity that God has bestowed on me, a sinner. My greatest gifts are my family whose love, understanding and tolerance sustained me through the years – I cannot begin to fathom why God showered the blessings of you three on me, preceded by my own family and now followed up with my two angels, Emma and Anna. What can heaven begin to be like after all the blessings I had on earth? I love you so much and eagerly await the day when we can all be together again in the divine and loving presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

[i] Shakespeare reference for Dad, who enjoyed the quotes in my thesis
[ii] IHS is also a reference to the transliterated name of Jesus from the Greek.
[iii] Ever defiant, this was needling both David and Dad a bit.
[iv] And he dragged me to Mass more than few times.
[v] And yet one must pay respect to his love for said University
[vi] This is true.
[vii] I got this, most likely, from Fr. Brendan McGuire. But Wikipedia confirms it.
[viii] I included this to create a bridge to his mother, to whom the same thing happened.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

William George Roth Obituary

(Info for Mass and Reception updated at the bottom. See Eulogy here.)


William G. Roth, (81), died on October 14th, 2019 at Moorings Park Chateau in Naples, Florida, following a serious illness. Bill was born in Lamberton, MN where he graduated from high school in 1956. He graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1960 and earned a Masters degree in Industrial Administration from Purdue University in 1961.

After college Bill started a long industrial career beginning with The Trane Company in Lacrosse, WI. At Trane he held a succession of sales, marketing and general management assignments before being named as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1978. After Trane merged with American Standard in 1984, Bill was named President and Chief Operating officer of the combined firms at the headquarters in New York City.

In 1987 he became Chairman, President and Chief Executive of Dravo Corporation, a Pittsburgh based engineering, construction, and natural resources firm. He retired as Chairman of the Board in 1994 while continuing to serve as a Board member.

During his career, Bill was active in many industry and civic organizations. He served as a Director and member of the executive committee of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
Association. During his career he served as a director of numerous publicly held companies including Trane, American Standard, Dravo, G. Heileman Brewing, Wells Fargo, Teknowledge Corp., Amcast Industrial Corporation, Service Experts, and Lennox International.

Active in Civic affairs Bill served on the Board’s of St. Francis Hospital and The Adolf Gundersen Medical Foundation in LaCrosse, The Gateway Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, The LaCrosse Boy Choir, The United Way of Greater New York and Catholic Charities of Collier County.

In 1982 Bill was named the recipient of the University of Notre Dame College of Engineering Honor Award and joined the Engineering Advisory Council, a position he held until his death. In 1984 he received the Silver Beaver award from the Boy Scouts and the Man of the Year award from the LaCrosse Chamber of Commerce. The Krannert School of Management at Purdue named him the 1986 Distinguished Alumnus.

After becoming a Marco Island resident in 1986, Bill became involved as the first non-employee President of Hideaway Beach Association where he served as a Board member for six years and as president for four years. He twice served three year terms on the Board of The Island Country Club and served as president for two of those years. He was a founding director of the Island Country Club Charitable Foundation. Bill was active at San Marco Church as a principal fund raiser, Lector, Extraordinary Minister of Communion and a member of and chair of the parish Finance Committee.

The Roths moved to Naples, Florida in 2013 taking up residence at Moorings Park continuing care retirement community. Elected to the Moorings Park residents Council in 2016, he served 3 years years on the council including 2 years as President of the Residents Association and Residents Council.

Bill is survived by Pat, his wife of 59 years; son, Bill and granddaughters Emma and Anna; son David and his wife Cheryl; brothers Tom of Los Angeles; Richard of Huntington Beach, CA; and Mark of Florence, AZ.

Memorial Mass

A funeral Mass will be held at St. William Catholic Church in Naples at on Monday, October 28th, beginning at 9:45am ET.  There will be a reception at Moorings Park following Mass. Inurnment will be private.

In Lieu of Flowers

The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be directed to Habitat for Humanity of Collier County(  or the Guadalupe Center ( .