E i l u j i o n

Artist in Birthfamily Found
March 10, 2009, 12:02 am
Filed under: adoption, Creativity | Tags: , , , , , ,

hydrawing1I finally found out that the one artist in my family is alive! We lived in proximity to each other for years, but I never knew of him. I’ve been in touch with a friend of his who is an art director. I wrote about him in a couple of earlier posts – https://eilujion.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/artist-in-the-family/#comments & https://eilujion.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/job-near-birthmother-and-extended-family/

I found his daughter and also found out that he was in a nursing home. His friend went to visit him, printing out a picture that my birthmother had gotten from him when she was 10yrs old and had saved all these years. The picture on this post is of him drawing with a printout of the picture my birthmother had saved.

This is what his friend wrote after visiting:


I visited Hy today. He appeared glad to see me, but it’s very difficult to understand what he’s saying. I know he understands me.

I brought him the art supplies and got him draw something for you and asked him to sign it ‘For Julie’ and he did.

I think written communication would be best. I told him all about you but I’m not really sure he understood it all. I gave him the drawing he gave your mother, you can see it in the bottom photo.

Why don’t you write him and tell him the whole story. I’m sure he would be excited to know. And encourage him to draw. He hasn’t been drawing.

When I mentioned Tracy, he seemed to get a little sad. Guess he misses not seeing her.



12 Comments so far
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[…] Artist in Birthfamily Found […]

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Hello Julie
Hy Roth was one of my instructors at The Chicago Academy of Fine Art back in the mid 60’s – he was incredibly talented and totally crazy. He would regale us with tales of life in the (advertising) fast lane – and even though he had a “bad boy” image, he was well respected and served as a “I wanna be like him” role model. He was also a realist – told us if we wanted to get into commercial art – we’d better learn keyline and paste-up – that counsel served me well and after a 30 plus year career in advertising – I know I would never have gotten that first job with out heading his advice. Can’t tell what your connection is with Hy – but whatever it is …be proud he is a member of your family.

Comment by Ellen Cholewa

Hi Julie,
I knew Hy Roth during the late 70’s till the mid 80’s from the Chicago Antique Photo Collector’s Show held each year near O’Hare Airport. Hy was a really creative and great guy – lots of fun to be around. He and I shared a love of Circus Freak photographs from the 19h Century. I still have his book Little People. We use to get together with him (and his wife Marilyn and young daughter Tracy) several times a year at the show. I also visited them at their home in Evanston, IL . It was really sad to see what has happened to him now. What happened to Marilyn and Tracy? I remember the time that he discovered an unknown/unpublished photograph of John Wilkes Booth. He was so proud and he made some good money out of it too. He was always the most colorful guy at the Photo Show and the freakiest too. I guess that’s why we got along so well. Everyone knew him and liked him. I am glad I got to know Hy Roth. Sincerely, Ron Becker

Comment by Ron Becker

Hi, Julie 🙂 & Et al;
IT’s Tracy, I just want to thank you for the warm stories about Dad. It is appreciated. Long story here goes… I am living with my Husband in Tallahassee, FL.. My Hubby is getting his Ph.d. in History at Fla. State. I moved to FL. 2 years ago. I had some troubling things happen to me staring in Sept.10th, 2002, my 1st Husband died. I moved back to Evanston to live with my Parents. I was depressed, well 4 months go by and my Grandmother died 1/12/03. Okay, here’s where it gets really bad 4 days go by and Mom dies of a rare condition called Schleroderma on 1/16/03. Well I started to get really bad off with my depression and was diagnosed by my Doctor at that time. At the same time Dad also had his own grief and health issues as well. Dad’s health deterorated at the same time. Mom was not around to take care of him. He had some strokes and had to be taken care of 24/7, so he was admitted to a nursing center. Side note. Dad when he was good had a severe gambling probs. and his house was foreclosed on. I moved to Lakeview and was okay. But I had to leave. I needed a change so I moved in with my boyfriend Darryl and we got married. I am in-between jobs. I am also a graphic designer by trade. But I worked as a court clerk for Cook Co. Il for 7 years. (needed the insurance) And that is the cliff notes of my life.

Comment by Tracy Roth-Myers

I lived in Chicago between l963 and 2000, and all that time Hy was one of my best friends. As a fellow cartoonist, I was always impressed with his style, and I saved much of his printed work over the years. I also have videotapes of the early movies Hy made when he was in his late 20s or early 30s, and videotapes of appearances Hy made on various Chicago television shows. I have them around here somewhere. I will look for them. I moved to Upstate NY a decade or so ago. Send me an email with a mailing address, and I will lend ’em to you when I find them. It was hard to discern the context of the vid on YouTube. Do you plan on making a documentary on HY? Hy spent most of his career doing advertising illustrations. Most often, these were unsigned. So while he had a huge body of work, It is only his signed pieces that went to spread his name to the masses. He did a regular weekly comic strip for the Chicago Tribune in the early ’80s about two kids…the title was , I think, “Eldon and Mary”. I know one of the words of the title was “Eldon”, but I’m not sure about “Mary”. He also did many full color things for the Chicago Tribune Sunday Comics section in a strip that was called “SPOTS”. These things, and his Midget book, and That Gangster coloring book are what he is known for.

Comment by Jay Lynch

Jay ~ So good to hear from you! I have been searching for Hy’s past and his work. Yes, I would like to make a documentary at some point and am very interested in seeing your collection. I will be going to visit Hy in Chicago the week of September 6th. Have you been in touch with him?

Comment by eilujion

I have lost touch with Hy. I talked to him on the phone when he was in the nursing home a few times a few years back. It’s hard to understand what he’s saying on the phone. I live in upstate NY now, and I haven’t been back to Chicago for ten years. Lee Groban in Chicago visits Hy, and reports his visits to me on the phone.

Comment by Jay Lynch

Hi! Hy Roth was one of my teachers when I was studying Graphic Design at Columbia College. He was, as others have said, fun, crazy, and a realist about the business–he did give me a lot of useful advice (and I am a graphic designer now!). I house-sat for him once or twice in Evanston, but eventually lost touch. I ran into a friend of his, Lee, at a used book sale last week, and he gave me a brief update on Hy and Tracy. I am glad to know that you are keeping tabs on him–he was really talented! And it’s nice to know that Tracy is doing fine.

Comment by Tina Woelke

Hy and I were freinds many years ago…would love to have his telephone number to give him a call…I now live in Queen Creek, Az…near Phoenix…My phone is 4890-882-2175…Thanks…or let me know what nursing home he is in, and I will be visiting Chicago area in the next few months…Thanks, Eddie

Comment by Eddie Ferstadt

I dont know Mr.Roth but i have a signed pencil art that seems to be the original sketch for a poster for a veriety show ive had it for a whiland thought i would look up his name. and found you. from the other posts it seem he was well liked thats always a good legacy.my father was born in decater who knows maybe thay crossed paths.

Comment by john abraham

Hi Tracy,
I am Ilene Winn-Lederer, an illustrator and writer, a Chicago native, but now based in Pittsburgh, PA. I was prompted to post here after seeing the YouTube video of your dad made by elujion.You and I may have met once many years ago when you were a teenager at your old house in Evanston and I came by to check out your dad’s old English taxi. I loved all the old collectibles there and the unique decor. I also remember your mom, Marilyn when she was a hairdresser. I knew she had become ill with scleroderma and was very sad to hear she had passed in 2003. I had been looking unsuccessfully for your dad until this past summer when I attended the 45th reunion of my class from Bowen High School on the South Side and found Lee Groban, a classmate and fellow artist who told me that Hy was in a nursing home following a stroke. I am glad he is still around and still sharp despite his physical difficulties. I owe a great deal of my professional success to his advice and support. Hy was one of my teachers at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts from 1966-68 and later a good friend over the years. I still have some of the paste-up boards and assignments from his class! I also have one of the Linweave Tarot Decks which he handed out when he assigned our class a similar illustration project! I hope that when next you see your dad, you will convey my love and best regards and tell him I think of him quite often, particularly remembering our discussions about illustration reps. He was so right when he said not to trust any of them! 🙂 You and he are welcome to visit my webfolio to catch up on the years: http://www.winnlederer.com I wish you and your family the best and would love to hear from you and Hy, if possible. My phone: 412.421.8668-email ilene@winnlederer.com

Comment by Ilene Winn-Lederer

Hi…Im Eddie Ferstadt in Arizona…Hy and I were good friends for many years, when I called his old phone, no answer…Please let me know his phone number, so I can give him a call, and please let me know what nursing home he is in, so when I get to Chicago, I can visit him..Thanks, Eddie Ferstadt…Queen Creek, Az…480-882-2175

Comment by Eddie Ferstadt

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