FULL HOUSE – The main hall at Harrigan Centennial Hall is packed for the first day of the Southeast Conference Wednesday. At the conclusion of the conference, state Rep. Dan Ortiz, Ketchikan independent; Rep. Sara Hannan, Juneau Democrat; and Sen. Jesse Kiehl, Juneau Democrat, spoke about the need to protect school and ferry systems from further budget reductions.  (Sentinel Photo)

Longtime Sitkan, Nurse Ruth Roth Dies at Age 94

Ruth Roth

Ruth Virginia Roth (nee Ott) has joined the Lord and her husband Franklin in heaven at age 94.
Ruth was born on May 16, 1925, and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She was the first member of her family to graduate from high school.  Ruth attended Bible College and then nursing training (at Philadelphia General Hospital), while working as a bookkeeper in a lumber yard.  After graduating from nursing school she became the only member of her family to leave Philadelphia when she moved to Glenallen, Alaska, to become a registered nurse with the Copper River Mission Station. 
In Glenallen she met and married Franklin Roth Jr. (who also was from Pennsylvania) and they moved to Wasilla, Alaska.  In 1964, Ruth, Frank, and their five children moved to Sitka which remained her home until she passed away on August 21, 2019.
In yet another first for her family, Ruth enrolled in college and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1979.  She spent most of her working career at the Sitka Pioneers Home, eventually becoming the director of nursing there. She made many life-time friends in her time there.
In retirement Ruth and Frank hiked and camped around the country, including parts of the Appalachian Trail.  At age 75, Ruth said “no more” to sleeping on the ground, but continued to hike with Frank. They visited family and old friends while not in Sitka.  She volunteered her time as a bookkeeper at the Betty Eliason Child Care Center, as well as for the Sitka First Presbyterian Church.
Ruth was full of grace, good cheer, and compassion, which came from her boundless love of Jesus Christ.  She loved jumping in and helping out. She enjoyed many adventures with her family, including a legendary Chilkoot Trail expedition in 1969.
She got down on the floor and did puzzles with her grandchildren and made toys and blankets for them even as her knees, eyesight and fingers became less and less agile.
  She believed in peace and understanding, family, and community and did all she could to keep them together. She made it apparent how much she appreciated people and what each individual brought to the world.
She was adamantly opposed to war and went to Washington, D.C., to add her own piece to the peace ribbon that was wrapped around the Pentagon in 1985. She composed weekly missives to each out-of-town family member beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing into her last year of life.  `
Ruth was principled and nonjudgmental.  She lived a life where everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord and she battled hard to preserve the Sitka Presbyterian Church, where she served during her lifetime as both an elder and a deacon.
She is survived by her children Christian Anne Williams (Stanley Schoening) of Sitka, Franklin G. Roth, III (Susan Roth) of Powell, Wyoming, Joseph H.O. Roth (Brenda Taylor) of Juneau, Gwendolyn E. Roth of Anchorage, and Jessica S. Roth of Sitka, as well as her grandchildren, Peter P. K. Williams, Benjamin Roth, Trevor Schoening, Abigail Taylor-Roth, and Clem Taylor-Roth.  She also left behind several nieces and nephews and one cousin.
“She was a truly good person, a great mother, and she made the world a better place.  We will miss her,” her family said. “As she was fond of saying, ‘Good night and little fishes!’”
A memorial service will be held at Sitka Presbyterian Church from 2 to 5 p.m. on December 29, 2019.

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