October 23, 2014

Jay Sanford Roth

Jay Sanford Roth, 85, of Woods Hole died at home Monday morning of acute myelogenous leukemia.

Dr. Roth began a long-time association with the Marine Biological Laboratory, first coming here as a young man in 1949 to conduct research, and returning summers for many years.

He purchased a home in Woods Hole in 1958, and moved here year-round after he retired.

Dr. Roth was born in Cedarhurst, Long Island, and attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from City College of New York, a master’s degree from Cornell University, and his doctorate in organic and biochemistry from Purdue University.

During World War II, he was initially drafted into Army infantry, but because of his background in chemistry, he was soon transferred to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to work on the Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the first atomic bomb.

In 1960, Dr. Roth took a tenured position as professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He stayed there 27 years, teaching courses and conducting cancer research.

In 1962 he was awarded lifetime fellowship in the National Cancer Institute.

In addition to writing more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles, he published several books, among them, All About Cancer, and All About AIDS.

He was an avid tennis player and member of a poker fraternity of scientists in Woods Hole.

Always possessing a keen interest in scientific observation, he even applied a scientific approach to his own battle with leukemia, researching and looking to devise groundbreaking treatment protocols.

He leaves eight children, Diana Roth of East Falmouth, Robert Roth of Telluride, Colorado, Katherine Roth of Sharon, Christopher Roth of Madison, New Jersey, and Alicia Roth, Jennifer Roth, and Stephanie Walton, all of Woods Hole, and Jay Jr. of Philadelphia; and four grandchildren. He was married to Lorraine (Blake) Roth and Joyce (Jarocz) Roth; both marriages ended in divorce.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 9, at 11 AM at the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole. A reception will follow. Memorial donations may be made to UNICEF.

Reprinted with permission from The Falmouth Enterprise.