John C. Roth, 1959-2009: Ozark Trail organizer

John C. Roth founder of the Ozark Trail Association and driving force behind the restoration and extension of the Ozark Trail, died in an accident July 3rd.

The Ozark Trail now features about 350 miles of trail in southeastern Missouri, in large part created through ongoing support of the Ozark Trail Association.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:
John C. Roth, a computer whiz who led the restoration of Missouri's Ozark Trail, died Friday (July 3, 2009) when a tree fell on him at his farm in Crawford County. He was 50 and lived in St. Louis.

Mr. Roth apparently had been using his tractor to get his farm ready for a Fourth of July party the next day.

He was driving the tractor when a dead oak tree fell, missing the roll bar atop the tractor that might have protected him, and striking him in the back of the head. Later that day, relatives found his body with the tractor, which was still running. . . .

Mr. Roth loved to hike, and while on a section of trail in the summer of 1997, he found trees down, weeds overgrown and no trail markers. He called the U.S. Forest Service to complain.

That's when Paul Nazarenko of the Forest Service told him to come on down and help fix up the trail.

Mr. Roth showed up a day later, ready for work.

"John didn't know anything about the outdoors, trails or machinery," Nazarenko said in a 2006 interview. "He was a computer geek. I told him, 'You don't fit in here.' But he's been with me ever since. … He's taken the Ozark Trail out of the Dark Ages."

Mr. Roth formed the Ozark Trail Association as a nonprofit corporation to raise money on behalf of the trail. He was the organization's first president. . . .

Mr. Roth hoped to eventually see the trail grow from the Ozarks to Arkansas.

"He was driven to see the completion of the trail," said a friend, Steve Coates.
The Ozark Trail Association web site has information about the planned memorial service:
A memorial visitation for John has been scheduled at Kutis Affton Chapel, 10151 Gravois Rd, St. Louis MO 63123. The visitation will be from 4-8 pm on Friday July 17th.

The Roth family appreciates memorial contributions be made to:

Ozark Trail Association
483 South Kirkwood Rd. #40
Kirkwood, MO 63122.
The OTA's online forums has a tribute thread about John.

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