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Raymond Albert Roth, a lifelong resident of Plymouth and well known in Northern Indiana for his long career as a television reporter and videographer, died on June 25, 2024, at Miller’s Senior Living Community in his hometown. He was 78 and had battled cancer for several years.

Ray was born on November 21, 1945, to Albert and Mary Ethel (Gretter) Roth. He graduated from Plymouth High School in 1963 and from the Ray Vogue School of Photography in Chicago in 1966, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a well-known portrait photographer in Plymouth for many years.

Ray married his high school sweetheart, Dawn Ann (Travis) Roth, on June 18, 1966, at St. Michael Catholic Church in Plymouth. They were the proud parents of two children, Amy Lyn (Roth) Knapp and Daniel Paul Roth. Dawn predeceased him on March 5, 1997.

Also in 1966, Ray joined the Indiana Army National Guard to serve with American troops during the Vietnam War. He was assigned to the 151st Infantry Battalion, which was converted to a special forces unit. While training to be a paratrooper at Fort Benning in Georgia, Ray met legendary actor John Wayne, who was learning to parachute for the movie “The Green Berets.” Ray’s unit was not deployed to Vietnam, and he continued his National Guard service one weekend a month for several more years in Indiana.

In July 1967, Ray began his 38-year career at WSBT Channel 22, the CBS affiliate station in South Bend. He first worked as a cameraman and chief cameraman, carrying a heavy movie camera on his shoulder, before broadcast technology evolved to video equipment. Ray was promoted to assignment editor and then named Elkhart bureau chief and later Plymouth bureau chief. For many years he worked as a mobile on-air reporter and videographer, covering breaking news, daily deadlines and features throughout northern Indiana and sometimes southern Michigan. For 15 years he filmed the home games of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Ray also reported on stories with Indiana ties in Washington, DC, and made a documentary about Church World Services’ work with the poor in Brazil in 1974. His investigative reporting on the illegal dumping of hazardous waste at the Four County Landfill, which polluted groundwater and the Tippecanoe River near Delong in Fulton County, led to a federal indictment that resulted in the facility’s closure.

During his years at WSBT, Ray had the opportunity to meet, film or interview many famous people, including presidents, senators, governors, sports stars and celebrities. He covered visits to Northern Indiana by Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, Vice President Dan Quayle, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Army General William Westmoreland, comedian Jerry Lewis and baseball stars Mickey Mantle and Ernie Banks, among other notables. His work was occasionally broadcast on CBS stations across the country.

In 1988, Ray received an Associated Press journalism award for “Best Television Documentary of the Year in Indiana” for his coverage of the 25th anniversary of the closing of the Studebaker automobile plant in South Bend. In 1989, he also received a state Associated Press award for his coverage of the 25th anniversary of the 1964 Palm Sunday tornadoes in northern Indiana.

Upon his retirement from WSBT on November 30, 2005, Ray was honored by Plymouth Mayor Gary Cook with the Key to the City and “Ray Roth Day in Plymouth” in recognition of his nearly four decades of television reporting. In 2009, Ray was inducted into the Plymouth High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

Ray was a lifelong member of St. Michael Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus Council in Plymouth for 25 years. He was also a longtime member of the Indiana News Photographers Association.

During his retirement years, Ray enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, and cats, Sammy and Melvin. His hobbies included photography, genealogy, reading books, watching Notre Dame football and basketball games, Chicago Cubs baseball games, Plymouth High School sporting events, studying international and national current events, antique hunting, using metal detectors, and playing blackjack at area casinos. He also enjoyed family barbecues and attending the Indianapolis 500.

Ray was preceded in death by his wife Dawn Roth, his parents Albert and Ethel Roth, his older brother Marte Roth, and his younger brother Roger Roth. He is survived by his children Amy Knapp and Daniel Roth, his son-in-law Bruce Knapp, his daughter-in-law Jennifer Roth, his grandchildren Emily (Nick) Seltenright, Joseph Knapp, Nathan (Lauren Weston) Knapp, Sarah Collier, and Ryan Collier, his great-grandchildren Emmelyn, Hank, Hazel, and Henry Seltenright, his sisters-in-law Patricia Roth and Mary Ann (John) Garber, his nephews James (Melissa) Roth, Randall (Alissa) Roth, and JP (Kelly) Wyand, and his niece Joan Wyand.

Palmer Funeral Home – River Park Chapel in South Bend is in charge of arrangements. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, July 2, 2024 at St. Michael Catholic Church. Prayers will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m., followed by burial at Oak Hill Cemetery in Plymouth. Memorial gifts may be made in his name to St. Michael Catholic School in Plymouth or Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.

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