Roth Holtz

Roth Brewin Holtz

Wednesday, November 28th, 1923 - Sunday, December 13th, 2020
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Roth Brewin Holtz, 97, of Kenosha, died at Aurora Medical Center, Kenosha, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. Roth was born in Evanston, IL, on Nov. 28, 1923, to Edward Herman Holtz and Lulu Belle (Brewin) Holtz. He graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1941, and he was managing editor of the 1941 yearbook. He attended Springfield College in Massachusetts until he enlisted in World War II.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946 with the combat outfit of the 14th Armored Division 62nd Armored Infantry Battalion and later with the Army of Occupation 5th Infantry Regiment of the 71st Division. He was stationed overseas in France and Germany.

Roth was introduced to Katherine “Kay” Warren at her sister’s wedding. Upon his return from WWII, he became reacquainted with Kay, the love of his life. They were married in Glencoe, IL, on August 16, 1947, at the North Shore United Methodist Church. The couple raised three daughters in Evanston before retiring in 1988 and later moving to Clearwater, Florida, where they lived for 11 years. In 2000, Roth and Kay moved to Kenosha to live closer to one of their daughters. The couple celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary this year.

While working part time at the YMCA and attending classes at Northwestern University, Roth completed his bachelor’s degree in education on the GI Bill in 1949. He continued working for several different YMCA’s full time across the U.S., for 30 years, but primarily stayed in Evanston. While working at the Evanston YMCA, he completed his master’s degree in Psychology and Guidance also from Northwestern University in 1956. Employment in the YMCA allowed him to combine his love of working with high school youth with his love of nature and the great outdoors. Among his favorite activities were canoeing, camping, hiking, and downhill skiing. He led many teenagers on YMCA canoe trips in Canada and on ski trips. Prior to retiring he was the Director of the YMCA in Zanesville, OH.

Roth also belonged to several service organizations—the Optimist Club, Rotary Club, and the Y’s Men’s Club at the McGaw YMCA. Following his retirement from the “Y”, he continued to work with youth as a paraprofessional at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL.

He was a prolific, old-fashioned letter writer. With pen in hand, even in his later years, he still kept in contact with former YMCA members, along with many other people whom he had met during his lifetime. He wrote weekly letters to each of his daughters, from the time they were in college until he was admitted to the hospital. Some of Roth’s happiest moments were on his yearly Canadian canoe trips with a former YMCA camper until he was 85 years old. Roth also loved to read books from the public library, to go on long walks, to listen to his generation’s music, and most of all, he loved his family.

Roth is survived by his wife, Kay; his daughters Barb (Ben) Richason of St. Cloud, MN, Carrie DeSantis of Kenosha, and Gail Corallo Williams of Peachtree City, GA; ten grandchildren, Jenny (Glen), Andy (Andrea), Sarah (Guillermo), Sandy (Jody), Ann (Brian), Brad (Lindsay), Nicholas (April), Michael (Misty), Kelly, and Maurice; four great grandchildren, William, Annabelle, Macy, and Elliza; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Roth was preceded in death by his brother, Edward “Bud”; his sister in-law, Mary; his nephew, Peter, his mother in-law, Lillian Warren and his son in-law, Tony DeSantis.

The family would like to thank the staff and all the workers at Library Terrace Assisted Living who have lovingly cared for Roth these past two years and who continue to care for Kay. They would also like to thank all the doctors and nurses at Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha for their professional and compassionate care to Roth in the ER and ICU, and also throughout Roth’s life in Kenosha.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Roth Holtz to either McGaw YMCA, 1000 Grove Street, Evanston, IL 60201 or to Northwestern University, 1201 Davis Street, Evanston, IL 60208

Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
5111-60th Street Phone: (262) 654-3533
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Alan Handler

Posted at 07:04pm
Dear Holtz Family,
I am very sorry to learn of Roth's passing last week.
I was one of the teenagers that traveled with him to the Boundary Waters in 1971 (or maybe '72!) with a group of Y members. It was my first trip into the Canadian wilderness and I will always remember how amazing and wonderful it was. Roth was a great leader who gave us all the space to explore the areas around our campsites, while at the same time guiding us to learn habits and rules that he knew would keep us safe.
One vivid memory that I have is of him always smiling and laughing, sometimes at the ridiculous things that we said or did, but sometimes at his own jokes!
He was a traditional, old-school canoe trip leader and all who accompanied him benefited greatly.
Please accept my condolences.
Alan Handler
ETHS Class of '75


Posted at 12:59pm
My condolences on the passing of Roth. Some of my fondest youth memories were the Evanston YMCA canoe trips circa 1977. The founding of that program was a great legacy and a tremendous gift of nature and absolute fun for rowdy high schoolers. Wonderful to hear he continued those trips into his 80s. I recall jumping off the highest cliff I've ever jumped from into a deep cold lake. Thanks Roth and family. Steve Karp (

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