Sheldon Robert Roth, aka “Noodles,” a longtime resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., passed away on Nov. 18 in his home, surrounded by his loving family. He was 86 years old.
Sheldon was born on Feb. 15, 1936, in Hartford, Conn., to Samuel and Fannye Roth. He graduated from Avon Old Farms Prep School in Connecticut and went on to study business management at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., where he graduated in 1958.
Sheldon, who lovingly referred to himself as “Noodles,” moved to Washington, D.C., after college and met his wife, Joan Smelkinson, and they were married on April 19, 1959. They lived in Baltimore, where they raised three boys: Joseph, Robert and Jonathan. Sheldon went to work for Joan’s father’s business, Smelkinson Brothers Corporation, and was instrumental in the success of the company becoming the largest Institutional Foodservice Wholesaler in the Baltimore/Washington market.
Sheldon was a pioneer in the industry and helped create what is known today as a Full Line Foodservice Wholesaler and as a result was named by ID (Institutional Distribution) magazine as one of the “Top 25” people who shaped the industry to what it is today. The business was sold to CFS Continental in 1985 and was subsequently purchased by Sysco Foodservice (the largest food-service wholesaler in the nation). Sysco recognized Sheldon’s leadership and asked him to become president of their Phoenix operation in 1987 to help expand and grow their Southwest region. Sheldon and Joan moved to Scottsdale in 1987. Sheldon eventually retired from Sysco in 1989 and for several years continued to do private consulting in the food-service industry.
Sheldon was involved in many civic and philanthropic causes, including being appointed as a magistrate judge for the City of Baltimore; president of Golden Eagle Square and Compass Club of Maryland; president and board chairman of Jewish Convalescent and Nursing Home of Baltimore; chairman of Israel Bonds of Phoenix; member of the National State of Israel Bonds campaign cabinet; board member for Jewish National Fund-USA; and board member and campaign chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. He was he a lifetime board member of Congregation Beth Israel of Scottsdale.
Upon Joan’s passing in 2002, Sheldon married Maddy Shapiro in 2003, and they were married for 19 years until Maddy’s untimely passing in March 2021. Maddy and Sheldon lived in Scottsdale, Pinetop, Payson and Fountain Hills. Sheldon was a larger-than-life character who loved telling a good joke, and who had a passion for his family, golf, card games, food and wine, travel and a good cigar. Noodles enjoyed his retirement to the fullest and was fortunate to travel the world, spend time with his loving family and he liked to joke that he only played golf on days that ended in “y.”
Sheldon is survived by his three children; Joe (Amy), Bob (Susie) and Jonathan (Lori); in addition to nine grandchildren: Sami-Jo (Doug), Courtney, Spencer, Allison, Megan, Harrison, Jessica, Ben and Joelle; and his stepchildren Jason (Natasha) and Jenny (Angela).
Funeral Services will be held graveside at at 2 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Cemetery (24210 N. 68th St., Phoenix, AZ 85054, on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The service will be live streamed at: gotroth.com at 2 p.m. (MST).