My father, the great Al Roth, or Al Ross, as was his pen name, has passed away at the age of 100. This was a mountain of a man, who was born before the 1st World War in Rumania, and who later moved to Vienna, Austria before coming to America in 1922. His life was long and healthy, and full of love. He gave me all I could ever want and then some, and was always there for me as a child, and as an adult. He was the man who told me to “play the guitar,” as he said he could “just picture it,” as opposed to continuing the violin, and it was his constant listening to guitar music, particularly Flamenco, in our apartment in the Bronx, NY that helped fuel the fires for me wanting to pick up the guitar.
He was one of the “Classic Era” cartoonists from the New Yorker Magazine, who published him starting in 1937. He was known all over the world for his incredible work as a cartoonist, as well as his incredible paintings, drawings and collages. The amount of artwork he has left behind is simply staggering! It would take most folks a hundred lifetimes to create what he created, and he left behind an incredible legacy of work, as well as a legacy in the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all of whom adored him. His “extended” family reached into the many hundreds.
His love of children and all people in general is what set the example for me to be the kind of father I am, and he, like myself and my mother, never ever got over the loss of my daughter, Gillian and my wife, Deborah in a car accident in 1998. He was still strong, and his attitude towards life was truly his biggest asset. He had a very strong acceptance of “how things are”, and understood that the constant struggle between good and evil will never end. He knew that in his heart of hearts, the world was no Utopia, but at the same time, he spread nothing but love and appreciation to everyone he ever met. There wasn’t a bad, or mad bone in his body, and his kindness was something of legend. He chose not to be religious, but he worshipped the art, the music, the literature, the primitive cultures of this world, and all the good things that life brought without needing to pay a single red cent for them. All the love he had he gave to me, and now it makes me so sad that I can no longer call and tell him, as I had since I was a child, about the great gig I just had, or about the 3 doubles I may have hit in a baseball game! Love you, my Daddy, you were, and always will be the “King” of our family, and one of the greatest men who ever lived! Here’s to the celebration of the life and times of Al Roth (Ross)!