Sharon Elizabeth (Mattes) Roth, was born on December 19, 1929, in New Orleans, LA, passed peacefully in her sleep at Ann’s Choice, Warminster, Pa., on Sunday, October 29, 2023. She was happily married for more than five decades to her beloved Dr. James F. Roth (“Jimmy”), who passed before her in December 2021. Sharon’s parents were Dr. Abraham Mattes and Henrietta Pearlstine Mattes, and she was the sister of the late Ivan Jordan Mattes (Suzanne Verek) of Houston, and Paul Ellis Mattes, who died early in childhood. She was the mother of the late Lisa Phillips (Jim) of Milwaukee, Ladd Hirsch (Cindy) of Dallas, and Tom Hirsch (Chris) of Louisville. She was step-mother to Larry Roth (Colleen) of St. Louis, Ed Roth (Sue) of New City, N.Y., and Sandy Freeman (Mickey) of Allentown, Pa., and delighted by her 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Sharon was active from her youth, and at age 12, she began attending the Eleanor McMain High School for Girls before she started college at just 16 at the Sophie Newcomb College for Women. She graduated from college in 1950 at age 21 with a B.A. in Spanish, and minors in history and English. She walked to school, which saved her 7 cents each way on the St. Charles streetcar. Wisely using her savings, she had enough to go downtown on Saturdays to enjoy a lemon coke after a movie at the Lowe’s Theatre or the Orpheum.
Sharon married Jimmy in St. Louis, Missouri. He was an award-winning scientist at Monsanto and later the Chief Scientist at Air Products in Allentown. This was the second marriage for both, and they had a Brady Bunch blended family of six kids. In more than 50 years of marriage, they had homes together in St. Louis, Allentown, Sarasota, Florida, Dallas, and Warminster. Sharon once noted she had served food from 19 different kitchens in five states. She loved setting a beautiful table, trying interesting recipes, and, especially, serving unusual appetizers. She and Jimmy enjoyed traveling, and made trips around the globe to Japan, China, West Africa, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Mexico, as well as to many different cities in Europe. While living in Allentown, Sharon and Jimmy frequently visited New York City to experience the joy of live theatre, opera, shopping, and dining on a variety of cuisines. For a number of years, they ventured to New York the day after Thanksgiving with Ladd, Sandy, and Mickey to take in a pre-Broadway lunch at Carnegie Deli, a Broadway matinee, and then dinner at Shun-Lee, a wonderful Chinese restaurant, before all heading back to Allentown.
When not traveling, Sharon was always active outside the home. She taught Sunday School at Temple Emanuel in St. Louis, served as a Board Member of Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, was a docent for more than 20 years at the Allentown Museum of Art and at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, an active member of the Brandeis University National Women’s Club, and she led reading groups for the National Council of Jewish Women. Sharon was an avid duplicate bridge player, and in later years her daughter Lisa taught her beading. She became an artist in her own right making colorful jewelry, and gave away hundreds of her beaded creations and also enjoyed selling these creative pieces at craft shows, which allowed her to donate thousands of dollars in proceeds to various charities.
But life has suffering as well as joys, and Sharon experienced the tragic loss of her beloved daughter Lisa to breast cancer more than 12 years ago. Sharon was fond of saying that Lisa’s surviving husband Jim was pure platinum as he kept in touch with her on a weekly basis after Lisa’s passing. The walls of Sharon’s home at Ann’s Choice were adorned with photos of her family. She always loved being visited by her children, as well as her grandchildren, and eventually, her great grandchildren.
Sharon’s life was rich in friendships that she enjoyed in each of the cities in which she lived. These many friends are too numerous to mention, but she cherished her time and memories with Joe and Sandi Black, Ralph and Jane Edwards, her sister-in-law Suzanne Mattes, Norlyn Quinn, and Guido and Terri Pez.
At almost 94 years of age, Sharon retained much of her southern charm and also her distinctive New Orleans accent. She remained interested in world events, even if she didn’t understand how things had become so crazy. The latest technology always befuddled her, and one of her favorite expressions was, “Can you just make it work for me?” But in truth, Sharon always made things work for her throughout her long life, and we will miss her smile, her laughter, and her incomparable New Orleans style bread pudding, which she called “Lost Bread.”
Contributions in Sharon’s memory may be made to any of the following:
The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, https://www.dana-farber.org, The Jewish National Fund, https://my.jnf.org/donate-today/Donate or The Allentown Art Museum, https://www.allentownartmuseum.org/support/ .