Gone but not forgotten

Area cycling clubs maintain vigil for Roth family

By Stefan Cooper
Sports Editor
Blount Today

Days later, Kathryn Roth returned the stretch of West Lamar Alexander Parkway where her husband lost his life in mid August.

Jeff Roth died instantly when a motorist struck the Maryville cyclist on the road’s shoulder. Three area cycling clubs organized a mass ride of silence the day of Jeff’s funeral, leaving behind the black arm bands they had worn laced to a post where the husband and father of three had fallen.

Kathryn Roth removed four of the arm bands when she revisited the site.
"One for each of us," she said.

Jeff Roth is survived by Kathryn, daughter Noelle, 7, and twins Hope and Lilly, 5.
He was 48.

A court date is scheduled for Tommy L. Carroll, the motorist that struck Roth, for Dec. 5. The Friendsville resident, who surrendered to police the day after the accident, is charge with criminal homicide.

Kathryn Roth, who has seen the case postponed on three occasions, said the hardest thing about her husband’s death has been the effect on the couple’s daughters.

"We’re doing OK," she said. "The girls are just trying to adjust. It takes time.

"The grieving for each of us is different. One of the twins is doing the talking for the other. The other one has more anxiety and fear. It’s so different for each of them. It doesn’t go away. It moves and alters.

"I just try to stay as busy as I can. I know everybody says that, but it’s true. Weekends are the hardest. Weekends are the time we spent together."

Jeff Roth lost his life on Wednesday, Aug. 9. Sunday afternoon, the day of the funeral, area cycling clubs Smoky Mountain Wheelmen, Knox Velo and Southern Cycling Operations organized a ride in silence in his honor past the spot where he’d been killed. Kathryn and Jeff’s sister, Laura Bruce, stood by the roadside as they rode past.

Each of the clubs three presidents vowed that day not to forget Kathryn Roth and her children. Each recently made good on the pledge, with Wheelmen vice president Tim Patterson presenting Kathryn with a check from a fund-raising effort.

"It just floored me," Kathryn said. "I couldn’t believe people were so generous in doing this for his kids."

Bruce did much to help her with the shock of Jeff’s death, Kathryn said.

"I was in a fog," she said. "I was honestly dazed. His sister was around. She helped a lot."

For now, all she can do is wait for the justice system run its course, Kathryn said. Another delay is possible, she said.
Should one occur, it will do nothing to lessen her resolve to see the case through to its conclusion.

"I don’t want this to go away because I want something good to come from this," she said.

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