Zhi-Roth desired to honor her late husband Gunther Roth through the major gift towards the Lakewalk as recognition of the time they spent living in Wayzata on Ferndale Road and in Harrington House.
The gift was the second major donation to the City of Wayzata via the Wayzata Conservancy to help fund the construction and maintanance of the Lakewalk. The first major gift received earlier this year was from the Carisch Family.
Jennifer submitted the following letter commemorating the life of Guether:
Guenther was born and raised in the beautiful State of Bavaria in Germany. He studied classical music since the age of 12; earned his master’s degree in musical conducting; and became a professional musician and conductor.
Guenther immigrated in 1954 to Minnesota, a state he was proud to call home for more than 65 years. He began his career as a musician/conductor; expanded into the world of business
and entrepreneurship; and then found further joy and fulfillment as a philanthropist.
He purchased a classic Frank Lloyd Wright-style home on Ferndale Road West in the early 1990s, spending more than two years to restore it. Many in his Wayzata neighborhood considered the result to be one of the most beautiful homes – his for 20 years — in the area.
In more recent years, we wanted both to remain in Wayzata and to find safe and convenient one-floor living. The penthouse in Harrington House provided the perfect answer, overlooking Wayzata Bay and the beautiful lakefront. We quickly fell in love with the home – for its wonderful neighbors and its panoramic view of the City we both loved!
Guenther’s Wayzata neighbors knew well his practice of power walking through the neighborhood seven days a week – sometimes twice a day! – with me at his side. While some did not know our names, they knew us by sight for our everyday ritual on Ferndale Road West and on Lake Street.
Guenther was also well known in the surrounding area as the endearing, gifted, classically trained musician. He entertained the neighbors with the joyful spirit of his piano-playing. At Christmastime, we hosted parties at our home where Guenther played the piano so beautifully
that he inspired the neighborhood guests to sing enthusiastically.
Everyone joined in at the top of their voices to sing some 20 Christmas songs. When a piano was not nearby, Guenther turned to another passion – motorcycling!
He especially enjoyed riding his BMW motorcycle. He spent countless hours riding through the Alps when in Europe, and of course back home in Minnesota, he came to know virtually every street and avenue in the Twin Cities metro area.
Guenther quietly created a private charitable foundation focused on serving the needs of single-parent minority families’ children. For many years the foundation has helped fund educational opportunities for these children in the hope of building more productive and fulfilling futures.
Guenther R. Roth’s story is a true American story. He worked hard as a new immigrant to use his intelligence and skill to be the best he could be in all the pursuits to which he devoted himself. He encouraged others to pursue their own dreams too, rallying them to “go for it!”
And when he personally succeeded, his kind and loving nature prompted him to give back to the country that had been so good to him, his wife and his family. I am pleased to help honor my dear, elegant, generous husband with this lasting gift to the The Wayzata Conservancy for the City of Wayzata.
Sincerely, Jennifer Zhi-Roth