Obituaries » Lillian Ada Roth
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March 23, 1923 - February 2, 2016
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Lillian Ada Dundon Roth
Lillian was born on March 23, 1923, in Harlem, New York, older by a few minutes than her twin sister Vivian. When the twins were six years old they moved to Corona, Queens. At about the same time an immigrant family, the Roths, arrived in Corona. Lillian married Harry Roth just before the Army shipped him to Europe. She always said he was the “love of her life.” Lillian finished her undergraduate degree at Hunter College. On Aug. 1, 1945, as Harry travelled through the Panama Canal to serve in the Pacific, Lillian gave birth to their first child. After Harry returned, they stayed in New York, where their second child was born in 1952. They moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Harry was ordained at Hebrew Union College.
Harry served as Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Andover, Massachusetts from 1962 to 1990. As the rabbi’s wife, Lillian was very active in the community. She was a great cook and baker and loved to entertain. She was known for her famous babka cake. Highlights of the Temple’s year included the annual Sisterhood tea at Lillian’s home and an invitation to Lillian and Harry’s Passover sedarim. Lillian’s chicken soup, kneidlach, and lemon meringue pie were favorites!
Lillian loved to shop, and her position as chairwoman of the Temple Gift Shop was perfect. Her Judaica selection reflected her good taste. Likewise, she loved shopping for herself and her family. Lillian wore the title of Rebbetzin well…literally as a fashion plate and figuratively as the ever-present, supportive Rabbi’s wife at Temple functions. She was the quintessential Rabbi’s wife.
After her husband’s retirement, they decided to pursue their lifelong love of travel. Harry was chosen to serve as Chaplain on the Queen Elizabeth 2, and Lillian embarked with him on an 11-year adventure: “Wherever he went, I went,” she often said. They spent 104 days each year on the high seas, sailing around the world and passing through the Panama Canal each time. They visited the great port cities and some of the greatest sites in the world, including Petra, Jerusalem, the Taj Mahal, and the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo. Lillian particularly enjoyed the absence of household chores on the QE2: “I was a queen!” She also won the paddle tennis championships a number of times! From 1990-1994, they spent their non-sailing time in Costa Rica, helping to establish a progressive congregation in San Jose, the capital. They also spent time in Dublin, Ireland, where Lillian’s father grew up, visiting family members who still live there.
In 1996, Lillian and her husband relocated from Andover to Los Angeles to be with their children and grandchildren, to whom she was very devoted. She is survived by her husband Harry Roth; daughter Sheilah Miller (Donald); son Michael Roth (Sharon); grandchildren Rachel Fischler (Ian), Sarah Lipton (Glenn), Sammy Roth, and Danny Roth; and great-grandchildren Abigail Fischler, Benjamin Fischler, Emmett Lipton and Ezra Lipton.
While in her later years Lillian suffered from memory loss, she always said, “We lived a charmed life.” She will be missed.
Donations in Lillian’s memory can be made to any charity that cares primarily for the needs of children, or to the Alzheimer’s Association.