Chuck Roth – a tribute by Franklin Houston.


Chuck Roth
Dec 5, 1932 – Aug 24, 2022

Chuck RothAs someone in our folk dance group who knew Chuck for over 60 years, I have many memories of him.

I was 13 years old when I first met Chuck. He was very tall (to me), very intellectual, and a very precise dancer. Chuck got into almost every dance and became a regular teacher at AIFD. He conducted teacher training for many of us who, at the time, didn’t really know how to teach folk dances.

As a student at UT, I enrolled in the Electrical Engineering program. Although my academic career was decidedly undistinguished, I did very well in the courses I took from Chuck, particularly his digital logic course, for which he wrote an exceptional book. He also received several teaching awards, which I feel he truly deserved as one of the best teachers I ever had in college.

Bridging the gap between engineering and dancing, Chuck created EDBARG (Electronic Digital BAlkan Rhythm Generator), a specialized computer that he built and used at his home for teacher training to explain syncopated rhythms. The sounds and flashing lights were quite impressive.

Chuck was always full of energy. Even as a young adult, I was tremendously impressed with the fact that he rode his bicycle from his home in northwest Austin to campus every day. Combined with his dancing, Chuck was never out of shape!

Chuck devoted literally hundreds of hours to AIFD and/or TIFD each year, serving in various elected positions in AIFD and filling a number of elected and appointed positions (as many as 8 at one time!) in TIFD. For his efforts, he received two awards for his long and valuable service in leading, teaching, and promoting international folk dancing in Texas.

Chuck was the regular contra caller at AIFD and for other groups for many years. His dedication and passion encouraged others to keep that activity alive and well in Austin after he had stopped.

Even into his 80’s, Chuck continued to work on academic and folk dancing pursuits. It’s rumored that he finally finished clearing out his office on campus when the building it was in was about to be demolished. I retired after my own 30-year career in engineering, at which time Kaye told Chuck, “When your students are retiring, it’s time for you to retire!”. When he retired from his volunteer folk dance positions, it took an incredible effort on the part of TIFD to fill his shoes.