NEW CASTLE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – John M. “JR” Roth, 80 of Neshannock Township, New Castle, passed away at 10:19 p.m. on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, surrounded by his loving family. He had been heroically battling cancer for 24 years. Sadly, he was just three weeks shy of his 81st birthday.
He was born on September 25, 1941 in New Castle, Pennsylvania to Michael and Aurelia Parou Roth, who preceded him in death. Also preceding him in death were his two older brothers, William and Paul.
He is survived by one younger sister, Judith. John’s extended family consisted of several beloved nephews, nieces, and cousins.
John married the love of his life, the former Donna Vanasky, on December 12, 1964, and she survives at home. During their 57 year marriage, John and Donna had two daughters, Mary Jo and Allison, who both survive. Being a family of animal lovers, they raised and rescued several pets over the years. Surviving are two beloved cats, Buddy and Little Kitten, who will miss their “daddy” dearly.
After graduating from New Castle High School in 1960, John worked in the construction business, first as an asphalt laborer, then eventually as a paving contractor. He owned his own business, J.R. Roth Paving Co. for almost 50 years and was honored to be named “Best of the Best” in the New Castle News for several of those years.
Always an entrepreneurial spirit, in the late ‘70s, John launched a small successful seasonal business, Candle Creations, however, it was John’s other business, John Roth Concerts, that he was always most passionate about. His deep love of music first led him to become a member of a local doo-wop-style singing group, The Fabutons, in the early ‘60s, then on to managing other local singing groups, until finally becoming a licensed concert promoter. In the mid-80s, he launched The Star Theater in the former Agora club in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. He also held an annual “Swing Lobby Reunion” each year for 25 years.
Throughout his lifetime, he produced and provided entertainment across the tristate, Florida and New York areas from all genres of music, including renowned acts such as Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Kansas, Waylon Jennings, The Temptations, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, the touring production of “Grease”, Jerry Seinfeld, Al Green, Luther Vandross, Kool & The Gang and many, many others.
John earned his reputation as an honest, loyal and hard-working businessman, always willing to lend a helping hand. Both kind and generous, over the years John made regular charitable donations to organizations including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WQED public broadcasting and Humane Society of the United States.
Second to music, John was an avid sports fan. As a child, he played baseball on a winning team for the Fifth Ward of New Castle. In later years he enjoyed playing golf and tennis and ardently followed high school, college and professional football and basketball games. Horse racing was another one of his favorite pastimes.
John loved and adored his family and many friends and was known as a caring and compassionate man. Notoriously warm-hearted — as well as the epitome of “cool” — John will always be remembered for his unique and legendary laid-back style.
A celebration of John’s life will take place on Thursday, September 15 at the William F. And Roger M. DeCarbo Funeral Home, 926 Cunningham Avenue, with calling hours from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., followed by a eulogy given by Pastor John Snyder of St. John’s Lutheran Church of New Castle, Pennsylvania.
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A television tribute will air Monday, September 12 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.