VAN WERT -- Charles Duan Roth M.D., 74, formerly of 1201⁄2 West Crawford Street, Van Wert, Ohio, passed away one year ago, July 2, 2012, from a fatal heart attack, as he was recovering from a severe stroke sustained June 2, 2012. Charles had been undergoing rehabilitative therapy at the time of his death at the Vancrest of Convoy Nursing Center, in Convoy, Ohio.
Charles was born July 29, 1937 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Cleo Charles and Ruby Wilhelmina Miller Roth. He was the first of three sons born to Cleo and Ruby, and is survived by younger brothers, David Eugene Roth, currently of Kentwood, Michigan, and Lynn Alan Roth, currently of Napoleon, Ohio. Charles is also survived by his daughter, Anne Roth Sheahan, of Garrett Park, Maryland; and three grandchildren, Sophia, Vivienne and Rory.
As a result of Charles' father, Cleo, being called into ministry, the young Roth family moved from Indiana to Ohio -- initially to Findlay (where David was born), then to Hicksville (where Lynn was born), and finally to Defiance in 1953, where Charles entered his junior year at Defiance High School. Charles graduated with honors in 1955 after having been co-editor of the Defiance High School yearbook.
Charles entered Otterbein College in the fall of 1955, eventually receiving his bachelor of science degree in 1959. He was accepted at the University of Chicago Medical School by way of an honorable and prestigious fellowship to their Department of Anatomy, for admittance into an M.D./Ph.D. program in anatomy and neuroanatomy. Due to the unusual sophistication of Charles' research, his dedication to his chosen fields of study, and his unusually mature intellect, Charles was invited to teach neuroanatomy while studying at the University of Chicago. His research on the nervous system and tissue culture was advanced enough to qualify and propel him toward a master's degree as well as his eventual medical degree. He was awarded his M.D. in 1965, the same year that his daughter, Anne, was born. Charles continued with an internship at the U of C "Lying-In Hospital" with a focus in pediatric neurology, and in fact, Charles was the first father ever to be allowed to remain in and to assist in the delivery room during a birth (his daughter, Anne's) at the U of C hospital.
Upon receiving his M.D. in 1965, Charles immediately entered clinical rotations at the U of C. Yet again, the rare sophistication of his research led to his being awarded one of the very first fellowships in pediatric neurology in the United States. Friends and colleagues have vividly recalled overhearing pediatric patients and their parents repeatedly decline to work with other doctors on duty, requesting rather to wait instead for Dr. Roth (Charles).
In 1967, when Charles was admitted to the U.S. Public Health Service as a lieutenant commander, he moved his family to the Washington, D.C., area. He was appointed to the National Institutes of Health, division of neurological diseases and blindness, where he continued the advanced neurological research he had been pursuing at the University of Chicago's department of neuroanatomy. He entered the newly formed psychiatric residency program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Thereafter, he combined a private practice in psychiatry with simultaneous practices in citywide mental health programs, where he studied and practiced art and music therapies in conjunction with traditional medical approaches to well being. He continually refined his specialties within these complimentary fields long before such approaches became increasingly popular during the 1970s, which have continued to gain popularity and deserved respect into the present day.
Charles studied with the well-known pioneer art therapist, Hanna Kwiatkowska, who also practiced at NIH. Through Charles' voracious study and mastery of the teachings and techniques presented by Dr. Carl Jung, he further refined his approaches within art therapy by adopting the use of the "mandala," as suggested by Jung, and researching and applying the mandala's effectiveness and therapeutic value (both cathartic and diagnostic) within his private practice spanning almost 40 years.
Charles became mentor to one of his fondest, longtime students, Kevin Jones, now a licensed clinical therapist, practicing in the Washington, D.C., area; Kevin, a former computer programmer and IT specialist, was inspired to pursue a vocation in therapy because of the direct and profound healing influence that Charles' input and presence had on Kevin's life. Kevin adopted and has continued to utilize the systems of art therapy that Charles organized and refined over his many years in research and practice, and which Kevin feels continues to prove to be one of the most effective clinical and therapeutic tools/methods at his disposal.
Throughout his long career, Charles established and retained the reputation of a sincere, dedicated, personable and truly caring therapist; many of the thousands of patients whom Charles touched with his knowledge, insight and compassion, also came to consider Charles a dear and trusted friend, as well as their beloved counselor and teacher "Dr. Roth."
Charles was a man of deep and profound conviction, spending much of his time and energy in the hope and attempt to promote ideas about viable and substantiated alternatives within medicine. Despite the unwillingness of so many in the medical field to consider such viable, tested approaches with open minds, Charles persisted in his attempts to educate others within the medical arena -- however understandably frustrated, into his final months, as his strong conviction represented an authentic calling of the heart, as well as a demonstration of a courageous ability and longing to truly serve.
The immediate family, living at a distance with three young children, would especially like to acknowledge the extreme compassion and generosity continually demonstrated to Charles over many years by his close cousin and lifelong friend -- sharing his devotion to service and medicine -- Diane Roth Perry, and her loving husband, Richard, during Charles' time in Van Wert, Ohio.
Since Charles experienced profound inspiration with lasting and lifelong effect during a trip to Israel in 1972, the family has chosen to make an offering in Charles' memory in the form of trees planted in his name, close to his beloved Jerusalem, where his commitment to a life of service was reaffirmed. This seems most appropriate, and something that would please Charles, as we approach what will be his 76th birthday.
He is deeply missed, forever valued, and eternally loved; any distance that separated us over the last, many years is certainly washed away through the grace of Spirit, as we continue to feel Charles' reassuring presence, however ethereal, with us daily.