James H. Roth

Prologue by Jorge Arman

Researcher and author of the Roth report

Several years had passed after Don Jim’s death, when a good Rotarian friend, the late John Rains, approached me with the idea of “doing something” to honor the man who had made such a great contribution to the spread of Rotary.

Since he and I were the two members of the Rotary Club of Ventura who had been closest to James Roth, I agreed to help him.

He started by writing a letter to one of the Directors of RI in 1988.

The answer to that letter was very disappointing, because it did not show any interest in our proposal.

Many more years went by, and then, August 1998: I had been a member of the Rotary Club of Escazu (Costa Rica) for 5 years, and their president in 1996-97.

The 30th. anniversary of Don Jim’s death was approaching, and it provided me with an excellent opportunity to revive the issue.

The Rotary Club organized a session to honor him; I had done enough research to put together a good presentation, so it was a very special meeting attended by the U.S. ambassador, the chargé d’affairs of the Brazilian government, past District Governors and other personalities.

It was very successful, and the members of the Rotary Club of San Jose (Costa Rica) learned for the first time that their Club was in debt with Don Jim.

By 2008 I was a member of the Rotary Club of Ventura again.

This time (2008) it would be the 40th anniversary of Don Jim’s death, so I convinced our President that we should have a presentation to honor him during one of our regular meetings.

It happened, and it was very successful; it came as a surprise to most of our members that a man born in Ventura, past honorary member of the Club, had taken such a prominent role in the spread of Rotary in Latin America.

They had never heard of him.

I know my efforts to make him known to the Rotary world, and to give him the place he deserves among the individuals who contributed to the development of Rotary, are just a drop in the bucket.

But I hope that enough drops are generated to fill the bucket.

I was shocked to discover at the Centennial International Convention that his name was nowhere to be found.

He helped form almost 200 new Rotary Clubs: if each one of them adds another drop, then maybe Rotary International will take notice, and the name James H. Roth, better known as Don Jim, will join others in the history of RI.

Born in Rosario, S.F., Argentina. Graduated Civil Engineer in 1953.
1956 Charter member Rotary Club of El Aguilar (Argentina), the highest in the world while it lasted.
Our regular meetings: 15,000 ft. above sea level. President of the club 1962/63.
Brief membership Rotary Club of Cañada de Gomez.
Member Rotary Club of Ventura; President 1976/77
Several times Chairman Student Exchange District Committee.
Member Rotary Club of Escazú; President 1996/97. Made this club 100% Paul Harris.
Again, member Rotary Club of Ventura.
Life Member ASCE; President of Ventura-Santa Barbara branch 1969
Life Member USCID
Many years of service in VITA

Member of Rotary Global History Fellowship since 28 November 2008