Wednesday, October 19, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Trinity Congregational Church
2725 4 Mile Road NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
2161 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Trinity Congregational Church
2725 4 Mile Road NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Life Story / Obituary
In the hearts of those who knew and loved him, there was no one quite like Wes Roth. Wes had an outgoing personality and a tremendous sense of humor. He was easy to love, a pleasure to like, and although firm in his opinions, he was a friend of many and a stranger to none. Wes was a man of integrity who, by way of example, taught his children well. He knew a little about a lot of things, and although he was quite stubborn, to his credit he was always right. Gone but never to be forgotten are the treasured memories he leaves behind.
Wes’ story began during a time of economic prosperity as industry and the need for consumer goods rose. While Gershwin and Berlin dominated the music sector, Ellis Island closed its doors as an immigration entry point leaving behind numerous memories of promises for better tomorrows. Yet in Alpine Township, Michigan, nothing compared to the excitement experienced by Charles and Emma (Fetzner) Roth when on May 14, 1924, they celebrated the birth of their sons, F. Wesley Roth and his older twin brother, Arthur.
Wes was the youngest of nine children in their bustling household. With 19 years between him and his oldest sibling, Wes was always being bossed around! Having grown up on their family farm on Four Mile Road NW offered a young boy like Wes many adventures. As a kid, he was quite imaginative, and along with his twin brother, there was more than one occasion where the boys found their way into innocent mischief. Raised in a family of faith, the Roth’s attended Trinity Congregational Church where Wes would remain a member throughout his life.
Beech Grove School provided Wes with his early education, and along with attending to his studies, he had his share of farm chores. Mostly a peach farm, they had animals too, and Wes often recalled milking the cows. Growing up during the Depression years proved to be a struggle for Wes’ family at times, yet due to their prosperous farm, they always had food on their table. During his youth he loved playing baseball, especially the position of catcher, and unlike many young people of the Depression era, Wes went on to graduate from Union High School.
During his early years, Wes took on a variety of jobs. He did some carpentry work, preferring rough-in work, overall. He also worked for the Grand Rapids Press, and he even had a job painting bowling pins. He put his carpentry skills to good use working as a builder building a few homes, but he mainly remodeled gas stations.
Growing up, Ruth Gould lived just down the street from Wes. Quite smitten from their earliest years, they began dating and soon fell in love. Necessary to have their wedding after peach season, they were happily married on October 14, 1950, at Trinity Congregational Church. Following their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, the newlyweds rented an apartment on Hendershot. It lacked a shower, so they’d scoot over to Wes’ parent’s home to do so! Wes built their family home on Four Mile Road just east of Hendershot. He did most of the work himself, and he always laid claim that all the mistakes there were his. Meticulous and very particular about his work, Wes wanted things done right, and thoroughly.
Before long, Wes and Ruth began a family of their own. Deciding he needed to do something long term to make a living, Wes bought a truck and a trucking route for the U.S. Postal Service, traveling from Marne to Grand Haven to Muskegon six days a week. Over the years his business thrived and continued to grow. Wes provided well for Ruth and eventually their three children, Marie, Wesley, and Patrick. He worked hard, made wise decisions, and a principled man of integrity, he always did the right thing.
Family was at the forefront of everything Wes did. In the summer months they took family trips, going where the children wanted to go, but after one camping trip experience, they realized camping was not for them! They took several trips throughout country but they often rented cottages in Michigan where memorable times were shared by all. Wes was a 4H leader and instructed woodworking. He also welcomed his children’s friends to their home.
Their blueberry farm served as a teaching tool for Wes’ children. It not only gave them something to do, but it taught them the value of hard work. Their pool also provided great family time. Everyone was always welcome there, and most of their grandchildren even remember the jobs Wes gave them cleaning stones from along the poolside and weeding the garden. He always paid them, and it taught them valuable work lessons, as well. He also taught the children in his life about investing, having them pick a stock to follow throughout the year.
Wes enjoyed woodworking. Through the years he built many different things for people. Some of them included display cases for the Alpine Township Hall for which he served as a trustee, a clubhouse for his grandchildren, and numerous toys and toy boxes to be treasured. Family was a priority for Wes and Ruth. Over the years they hosted many family events, and when great-grandchildren came along, Wes lit up with joy just watching them.
In their later years, Wes and Ruth enjoyed traveling and did so throughout the world. During the winters he really enjoyed time spent in Sedona, Arizona. In addition, they also spent many of their winters in Bonita Springs, Florida where they made many friends and enjoyed going out for dinner and playing games. Very outgoing, Wes was easy to like and know. He possessed a great sense of humor, was quick with his one-line zingers and he always had a good, funny story to tell.
An intelligent and wise man, Wes knew a little about a variety of subjects. He proved to be stubborn and quite opinionated at times, but he was often right. The best advice he ever gave was to make a decision and move forward. He didn’t believe in looking back, and his life’s mantra was to work first and play later. Wes was a man of his word who lived by his morals. He considered himself blessed in every way, and for this he was thankful. Diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago, Wes had several good months and was content in knowing he had experienced a good life. Although deeply missed and fondly remembered, Wes’s legacy is the importance of family and the values he passed down from generation to generation.
F. Wesley Roth, age 92 of Grand Rapids, passed away October 15, 2016. Wes is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ruth; children: Marie & Larry Sheneman, Wesley & Roxanne Roth, Patrick & Dawn Roth; grandchildren: Amy & Brent Ainslie, Michael & Elisabeth Benchich, Bryan & Carrie Benchich, Gregory & Ann Roth, James Roth, Danielle & Ben Knorr, Darcianne & Paul Nanzer; fifteen great-grandchildren as well as step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brother, Arthur "Hap" Roth; several nieces and nephews. Wes was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Larry Benchich; brothers: William "Bill", Charles, Edward, Walter, Franklin "Ike", Robert Roth; and sister, Helen Fuite. Wes started Roth Trucking in 1955, a business that remains in his family.
Friends and relatives are invited to visit with his family at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW on Tuesday, October 18 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. His funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Wednesday at Trinity Congregational Church, 2725 4 Mile Road NW. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either Emmanuel Hospice or Trinity Congregational Church are appreciated. To read more about Wes’ life, to share a memory or photo and to sign his guestbook, please visit www.lifestorynet.com.