Edward Roth was a new arrival to Miami, age 12, just in time for the September 1926 Miami hurricane. Daughter Jill Maland recalls his stories of rowing people down Flagler Street in his rowboat. The intense storm, with winds of 150 miles per hour, tore the roof off his family’s apartment.
Roth, who lived to 102, watched Miami evolve over his 90 years here.
If you think traffic heading to Miami Beach is bad now, when Roth was growing up, traffic flowed in one direction on the new MacArthur Causeway — east toward the Beach in the morning, west toward Miami in the afternoon, he told his family. As a paper boy with a route along South Bayshore Drive, a hop over the fence onto the grounds of Vizcaya made for a nifty, if furtive, overnight campout.
Roth also spoke of a childhood meeting in his native Savannah, Georgia, with aviator Charles Lindbergh, who piloted the “Spirit of St. Louis’’ in a record-setting 1927 flight across the Atlantic. As a Boy Scout, Roth and his troop helped arrange a parade for the famed visitor. Later, the future Eagle Scout shared with his family the conversation he had with Lindbergh.
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Roth: “Can I have your autograph?”
Roth, a CPA who served as Florida state treasurer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second-term campaign in 1956, died Nov. 11. His death came two months after his second wife, Doe, passed away. The two were married for 49 years.
Born March 28, 1914, in Savannah — the same year World War I started and Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox — Roth graduated from Miami High, Class of 1932, and the University of Florida in 1936. He served as an Army lieutenant colonel during World War II.
He also attended the Tehran Conference, a strategy meeting among President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in November 1943 at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. He met and married his first wife, Army nurse Mildred Rosin, mother of his four children, in Iran. Later on, he met the former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt when she visited Coral Gables in the 1960s.
Locally, Roth was the founding president of Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest in 1955, and helped establish the Greater Miami Hillel Foundation at the University of Miami in 1953.
For his 100th birthday two years ago, the entire family — the four children, two stepchildren, 14 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and assorted spouses, nieces and nephews — gathered for a celebration at the Coral Gables Country Club.
“Every single person showed up from around the country,” Maland said. “He really tried hard to touch as many people as he could, and I think he succeeded.”
The family gathering was representative of Roth’s secret to longevity, Maland said. “Ed said being surrounded by a large, loving family kept him alive.”
Roth is also survived by his children Dorothy Carney, Richard Roth and Jeffrey Roth; and stepchildren Miki Moran and Ron Schon. Contributions may be made to the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind.