FHS President’s spring message

Remembering Mr. Edwin Roth

It is with heavy heart that I write my spring message.  Charter member of the West Central Michigan Historical Society, former President of the succeeding Fallasburg Historical Society, and lifetime champion of the cause of preservation, Edwin Roth passed away March 8Th at 98 years old.  To say Ed lived life to the fullest would be a vast understatement.  His spirit will of course live on, his legacy, one of many, Fallasburg Village today.

fallas ken headshot
FHS president Ken Tamke

Everyone who knew Ed Roth has a story.  His easy-going, self-effacing manner made you comfortable when you were around him, his sense of humor ever-present.  I believe we all marveled at his longevity in our individual quests to find the fountain of youth.  Ed’s answer was simple, eat right, live clean, and another nugget he shared with me last Christmas with a large smile, “Don’t go to Doctors”!  That was Ed.

I wasn’t around when Ed Roth staked the National Historic Site Marker at the John Wesley Fallas house which was undergoing a major restoration in the 1990’s.  I was around when Ed accepted the award from the Michigan Barn Preservation Network for “Barn of the Year,” 2014, recognizing the Fallasburg Historical Society’s work on the Tower Barn.  These projects, amongst so many others, we’re the labor of Ed Roth’s love, and he maintained a strong and steady hand in all of them.  Thank you, Edwin Roth!  You are irreplaceable!

Fallasburg Historical Society-Ed Roth Picture (1) resized

The clipping is from the FHS scrapbook’ circa 1990.

“I ran across some really great stuff,” said FHS president Ken Tamke. “Pretty much all newspaper clippings that chronicle the history of the West Central Michigan Historical Society from the mid-60s and then FHS through the late 90s.”

The historic district status was awarded in 1999.

Calvin College students tour Fallasburg pioneer village

Still in the firm grasp of winter cold, but on a bright and sunny day, the Calvin College History Department’s “Public History” class visited Fallasburg on January 17TH.  Professor Kate VanLiere’s students, as part of a month-long intensive study course stopped first at the Lowell Area Historical Museum to get a look at the inside workings of a small museum and a grand tour from Executive Director, Lisa Plank.  Then it was on to Fallasburg for a walking tour with yours truly and their outside look at our National Historic District.  The group of 30 briefly popped their heads in the door of the Schoolhouse, Misner House, and Fallas House.  With FHS’ small museums in hibernation for the winter, and each property unheated, it was actually colder inside than out.  Our brisk walk was appreciated and gave our visitors an overview of the entire Village from Fallas Barn to Covered Bridge.

Calvin College students
Calvin College students tour Fallasburg villlage.

FHS gets intern to assist in digital cataloging

For the third consecutive year, the Calvin College History Department has provided a student intern for the Winter/Spring term to assist FHS with our digital cataloging of documents, photographs, and artifacts.  Under the tutelage and mentorship of Lisa Plank at LAHM, this year’s intern, Grace Bolt, has focused on the treasures contained in the School.  Most remarkable have been the handwritten Attendance Ledgers which chronicle Fallasburg School students, school year by school year, back to the early 1900’s, all completed by the teacher of the day.  Grace has painstakingly recorded and photographed the logs.  She could now tell you, if you went to Fallasburg School, when you were absent, and what ailed, lots of Chicken Pox, Mumps, and Measles.  With a keen interest in Geography as well as History, tech-savvy Grace is working to create an online aerial view map of Fallasburg that highlights all its historic sites, buildings standing or not.

 

 

 

 Pictured above Mr. Ed Roth at Lowell Expo 2017 with daughter Jeanne Vandersloot, and FHS members Tracy Worthington and Al Rumbaugh.

Say Hello: 

 Fallasburg Historical Society, Table #129, at the Lowell Community Expo, Saturday, March 24, from 9AM – 3PM, Lowell High School.

 Come Visit:

 Fallasburg Village comes out of hibernation, Saturday, 11AM – 5PM & Sunday, 12PM – 5PM, May 5 & 6, the first weekend in May!  We’ll participate in the Tri-Rivers Museum Network’s, “Spring into the Past” event.  41 small local museums team up and open up-free of charge! 

Sincerely,

Ken

About the feature photo: Mr. Ed Roth with Randy Mouw, Barncats Contractor who fixed the Tower Barn, accepting Barn of the Year award for 2014 from the Michigan Barn Preservation Network.

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Edwin Roth

Edwin Christian Roth, the founding member of the Fallasburg Historical Society,  passed away on March 8, 2018

Members of the FHS express deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Roth.

Edwin Roth
Edwin Christian Roth

Full obituary

Roth, Edwin Christian Age 98, passed away on March 8, 2018. He is survived by his 3 children, Steven & Barbara Roth, Jeanne Vandersloot, Nancy & Michael Moore, sisters-in-law June Roth and Phyllis Petersen, grandchildren Aaron & Barb Roth, Aletha & John VanValkenburg, Ryan & Renae Roth, Kyle Roth, Trenton & Jessica Roth, Nicholas & Missy Vandersloot, Nathan & Beth Moore and Brett & Melanie Moore and 18 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Doris June Roth, her parents Arthur and Ila Edmonds, his parents Godfrey and Rose Roth, son-in law Glenn Vandersloot and brothers Fred, Alfred, Rudy, Walter and sister June Houser.

Visitation will be at Roth-Gerst Chapel at 305 N Hudson, Lowell on Friday March 16 from 2:00-4:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm. The funeral service will be at the First United Methodist Church at 621 E Main, Lowell on Saturday March 17 at 11:00 am with visitation one hour before the service at the church. Rev. Brad Brillhart officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Lowell FFA, Fallasburg Historical Society, Lowell Historical Society or Lowell Arts.

His parents came from Switzerland in 1909 and met on the boat immigrating to America, and settled in Michigan. Ed was born August 20, 1919 on the original family farm in the Clarksville area. His parents later bought the farm north of Lowell and packed up all the children and belongings and went by horses pulling sledded wagons to the new family farm. Ed then grew up on the dairy farm north of Lowell and began helping to milk the cows at age 11.

The family only spoke Swiss and learned English while attending the one room country school. There was no electricity at that time. Food was grown on the farm with fruit and nut trees, a large garden, chickens and other farm animals along with the dairy cattle for milk production. Fields were plowed with horse-drawn equipment. He took a short-course semester at Michigan State University  (MSU) after high school graduation and learned many skills, especially welding, as he ended up repairing items for neighbors and creating whatever he needed for the farm, such as wagons and tractor accessories. He saw the installation of electricity and phone service in later years to the farm. He also has witnessed the greatest time span of technology growth in America during his years of living with farming by hand and horses to huge computer driven tractors.

He met his future wife Doris at the Ramona Park skating rink in Grand Rapids. His introducing line to her was he thought she needed some help skating better. Life on a farm in those days only allowed dating on a Saturday night if all chores were completed. Ed and his brother Rudy ran the farm after their parents retired and moved to Lowell. Ed and Doris married in 1946. When the main barn burned, Ed and Rudy divided the cows and Ed and Doris moved to the adjacent farm 1/2 mile north and farmed with Holstein dairy cows for 50 years. They bought this farm in 1949 and over the years added more acreage from the original 80 to 267 acres. Having knee problems from hand milking, he built the first milking parlor in Ionia County where the milking person stands up instead of kneeling.

He designed and built his own barns from wood sawed from the farm woodlands. He retired from milking in 1981 but continued to help with tractor work into his 90’s as his son Steven had taken over the farm. He cut his own firewood until age 95. He loved to travel and attended the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and several other world fairs and attended almost every National Farm Bureau convention after he retired. He was the oldest Farm Bureau member in Ionia County joining the organization in 1947 for 71 years. Ed and Doris traveled a good portion of the world, with his favorite destination being Switzerland, where he visited many relatives with 4 trips there, and has hosted various Swiss family members in his home also. He was very proud of his full Swiss heritage and still spoke fluent Swiss.

He had a great sense of humor and always had a joke or two to make people laugh. He and Doris were founding members of the Fallasburg Historical Society and he was a member and supporter of the Lowell Historical Society, the Lowell Arts, the Tri-Rivers Historical Society and the FFA program.

“We deeply Sympathize with the family,” FHS spokesperson said.

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