From staff reports
Barry Roth will be remembered for his passion for literature, his contributions to the study of Jane Austen and his devotion to traditional and distance-learning students who shared his love for the English language.
An Ohio University professor emeritus of English, Roth died at home Sunday as a result of a brain tumor. A memorial service is planned for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jagers and Sons Funeral Home in Athens.
Roth taught in Ohio University's Department of English from 1968 through this past winter quarter. He held an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College and a doctorate from Stanford University, where his concentration was 18th century novels.
"Barry was very passionate about literature, and he had very high demands on his students in terms of their interest in the material and their work ethic," said Department Chair Joe McLaughlin.
Roth regularly taught courses on William Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov as well as general education courses. But his greatest literary passion was the study of Jane Austen. He published three annotated bibliographies of the works of Jane Austen and was a founding patron of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
Roth was named a University Professor for the 1991-92 school year and was a departmental nominee for several College of Arts and Sciences teaching awards. When illness forced his retirement in June, Roth was planning a course on novels and memoirs related to World War II and the Holocaust.
Roth worked with students though Ohio University's Lifelong and Distance Learning programs for the past 35 years. He taught a variety of courses, from freshman composition to 200- and 300-level courses.
"He was always student-oriented, passionate about teaching and very cooperative with our staff," said Ken Armstrong, director of Independent and Distance Learning Programs.
John Robinson and Elizabeth Houdek, who have served as course developers with the department for 30 years, worked with Roth to adapt many of his classroom courses for distance delivery. They noted that Roth was conscientious in his dealings with students and committed to keeping his courses current.
"Students found his courses rigorous, yet rewarding," Robinson said.
Roth went out of his way to help students, particularly those with an interest in English.
"His students will miss him," said Alden Waitt, a counselor with Independent and Distance Learning Programs. "Students would sometimes write after completing one of his courses to thank him for forcing them to adhere to his standards.
"He was an original and creative thinker who had impeccable standards," Waitt added. "He was totally in love with the English language."
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Roth's name to the North American Brain Tumor Coalition, 274 Madison Ave., Suite 1004, New York, N.Y., 10016.