In Memoriam: Tony Roder, former NCTA President
by Jacki Noh
The year was 1986. I was young and naïve, at the dawn of my translation and interpreting career. In an effort to find like-minded linguists and, if I were lucky, find some professional connections, I flipped through the San Francisco Yellow Pages and promptly phoned the Northern California Translators Association (NCTA). Edith Fried, a long-time NCTA volunteer, answered my call and invited me to my very first NCTA meeting. It was during that meeting that I first met Tony Roder. He had been one of the NCTA’s founders in 1978 and remained an active member until he retired and moved to Oregon. During Tony’s tenure as NCTA President, I served on the board as Membership Director, a glorified title for “official greeter.” Tony always generously offered sage advice, friendship, bear hugs, and a great big smile that I loved and will miss so much. Tony was well respected and loved by everyone he met. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be today without his guidance and friendship.
Tony shared a passion for languages, words, semantics, cultures, new information, new technologies, and constantly expanding the horizon of knowledge. He was an excellent writer with a unique voice. He signed his emails “Tony Roder, speaking his mind.” He always did speak his mind.
Everyone at my first NCTA meeting was very friendly, but none more so than Tony. I felt the warmth in Tony immediately. I am sure many NCTA old-timers like me remember the post-holiday parties at Tony and Sylvie’s Palo Alto home that lasted late into the night. Tony always welcomed me with open arms whenever I needed a place to rest and avoid the notoriously heavy traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area. As avid “foodies,” we shared so many wonderful laughs and meals in the Bay Area and later in Oregon. Tony introduced me to the hit TV show Seinfeld during one of our dinners at a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto and said we needed to return home to watch it! I had never even heard of it before, but soon became an ardent fan.
We both laughed uncontrollably at silly jokes and indulged in endless conversations. Tony never seemed to be bored, as he seemed to always be in a state of perpetual motion, engaged in whichever project he was involved in at the moment. Tony was a great listener. He never appeared bored or annoyed when I shared my trials and tribulations about being a new immigrant and novice translator and interpreter. He was always happy for me when I shared my triumphs. I don’t know anyone with a greater ability to demonstrate empathy. I feel so fortunate and privileged to have called Tony my friend for 37 years, almost 41% of his 91 years, and nearly two thirds of my life.
The NCTA is now in its 45th year. As a founding member, Tony was instrumental in making sure the organization got off to a robust start. He brought it up exceptionally well. Today, the NCTA is still healthy and shows no sign of slowing down. He would be proud!
To my dearest friend, I am so fortunate to have known you. I will hold the love, kindness, and support you have shown me deep in my heart for as long as I live.
You are very much loved and will be dearly missed.
Anyone who wishes to read Tony’s obituary and share your thoughts and respects, please click on the link here.
For those of you who know Sylvie and would like to reach out to her, I have attached her mailing address:
Parkland Village Assisted Living, Apartment 38
3121 NE Cumulus Ave, McMinnville, OR 97128