FamilyJoe’s parents, Lawrence and Lena Roth, were both born in Missouri. They moved to San Diego in 1939 so Lawrence could work for Consolidated, which later became General Dynamics. In 1975, after 36 years of working for General Dynamics and living in the San Diego area, the Roth’s moved to Jerome, Idaho to enjoy the outdoors and live in a slower paced environment. Both of Joe’s parents are still alive and they currently reside in the state of Washington.
Joe has two brothers, John and Tom, who were both much older than Joe when he was born. John was 14 and Tom was 11 years old when Joe was born. John still lives in the San Diego area while Tom currently lives in Washington state.
As Lena Roth wrote in her book, Joe: His Fight for Life, Joe more resembled John physically. Joe shared John’s quick, dry wit and both preferred to stay in the background. Joe relied on his brother John for both sympathy and consolation. John was a big brother who understood and listened to Joe when Joe needed advice.
Joe’s personality was slightly different that Tom’s as Tom was more outgoing. Tom regularly played youth sports and out of high school Tom received a football scholarship to Washington State University to play quarterback. Tom was the starting quarterback for the 1965 Cougar squad affectionately known as the “Cardiac Kids.” Joe shared Tom’s competitive spirit.