Usually when someone is struck by a car on Thursday, and they’re whisked to a hospital with broken bones and bruises, they take Friday off from work. But for Robert (Bob) Roth, a beloved English teacher at Evanston Township High School, there was no way he was going to miss his last day of school after 40 years of service.

At a special assembly for the faculty Friday morning after the kids went home, Roth was presented with a plaque that referred to him as a “professional educator and King of Grammar ,” who not only was a teacher, but who also served as president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the Teachers’ Council.

He also was cited as winner of the Teacher Excellence award in 2009.

It very nearly came to an end for him in downtown Evanston at about 8 a.m. Thursday, however, as Roth crossed Church Street at Benson Avenue at the same time that a southbound 2011 Jeep Cherokee driven by a 78-year-old Evanston woman, made a left turn onto Church Street, striking Roth in the crosswalk, according to Evanston police.

“I never saw the car turn the corner,” he said. “The paramedics took me to Evanston Hospital, where they fixed me up and sent me home.”

“I’m pretty sore today,” he admitted Friday, with his left arm in a cast and bruises on his arms and face, “but I couldn’t miss the last day of school.”

Top: Retiring ETHS English teacher Robert (Bob) Roth. Above: On stage to receive his retirement plaque is Roth with Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and School Board Member Deborah Graham at the lectern.

 A feature in the school newspaper, The Evanstonian, last week quoted a student as saying:  “He had a very natural way of getting students to share their opinions, and a sense of humor that always generated some of the best discussions that I’ve had in ETHS.”

Roth joined ETHS in 1972, his first teaching job after earning his master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. His undergraduate degree was from West Virginia Wesleyan.

What are his plans now that he has retired?

“I’m going home and rest,” he replied.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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1 Comment

  1. ETHS English teacher

    I spent some wonderful years as an English teacher (although not in Illinois), and I admire Mr. Roth's King of Grammar description–how glad I am that he was not terribly hurt, and (but of course) the driver must feel great angst.  How lucky more damage was not done.  Happy retirement to Mr. Roth!

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