Susan Harned Roth, a librarian, poet, teacher and dedicated mother and grandmother, died at age 70 on Sunday, May 13, from complications resulting from a heart attack and a stroke.
Born in Plainfield, NJ on June 29, 1947, Susan grew up in Piscataway, NJ, living with her parents Leroy and Betty (Groves) Harned, her sisters Nancy and Barbara, and her brothers Bobby and Dan. She earned an undergraduate degree in English from Douglass Women’s College at Rutgers University and went on to receive her Master of Library Science from Rutgers in 1975 and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 1990.
Susan was a dedicated library professional who believed in the power of reading and education, the importance of community and the love of family and friends. After beginning her career as a children’s librarian at the Highland Park Public Library, she went on to become the Director of the Library, spending over 12 years serving the community. She spent the second part of her career as a part-time writing teacher at Rutgers and New York University and then as a librarian at Princeton Public Library, working primarily as Readers’ Services and Adult Programming Coordinator until her retirement in 2006. She was also an accomplished poet, receiving awards and publishing many poems throughout her lifetime in several journals and literary magazines, including The Quarterly, Poet Lore, Calliope, Paterson Literary Review, and Mother/Poet. She combined her dedication to the library and the community by serving on the Highland Park Library Board of Trustees for 25 years. Susan strongly believed in women’s rights and progressive political causes and worked with several organizations to further them.
Susan lived in Highland Park for over 40 years, 36 of which were with her husband, Bob Roth, who predeceased her in 2014. Together, they raised Susan’s daughter, Leslie Vogel Lee, and their son, Brandon Roth. Susan focused her retirement years on caring for and inspiring a love of reading and imaginary play in her grandchildren. She enjoyed spending time at the beach, traveling with family, reading and writing, and attending library and writing conferences.
Susan is survived and greatly missed by her daughter Leslie, her son Brandon, her grandchildren Taran, Aysia, and Tyler, her sister Nancy Koze and her brother Dan Harned.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1:00pm on Sunday, May 20th at the Jaqui-Kuhn Funeral Home, 17 South Adelaide Avenue, Highland Park.In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family asks that donations be made to the Highland Park Public Library (send to 31 N 5th Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904 or call Jane Stanley at 732-572-2750), Democracy Now (democracynow.org), or Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org).