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Family, friends recall Rotino

By Staff | Dec 25, 2009

Fran Rotino remembers her father as a man with a great sense of humor, a humble approach to life, and as a consummate public servant.
Rotino’s phones were busy on Thursday afternoon in her North Fort Myers home, fielding calls from friends and admirers, paying their respects to a man that had his hand in shaping the Cape Coral of today.
She said she got a call from the building that bears his namesake — the Tony Rotino Senior Center — and that they held a moment of silence in his honor.
“You just don’t know how many lives he touched,” she said. “He simply loved to give his time to others.”
Tony Rotino died on Tuesday at Gulf Coast Village, at the age of 95.
For days, people who worked with and knew Rotino shared their memories, recalling his efforts as a public servant.
Former mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz said Rotino had a special way of getting things done for the people of Cape Coral.
Mazurkiewicz said Rotino simply had to pick up a phone.
“He just loved people and loved to do things for people,” Mazurkiewicz said. “It was the whole reason he wanted to be public official. He knew how to get things done.”
According to Fran Rotino, her father wanted to get into local politics, but was elected nearly by accident.
He was going to run in his first election simply to get his name out there, but when he ran unopposed, he was suddenly thrust into the local political game.
She said he had no aspirations to be mayor, only to his city council seat, and to all his constituents, not just those in his district.
“He wouldn’t just work for his district, he would help whoever he could, no matter what,” she said. “And he would never brag about what he did or accomplished. He was a very humble man.”
What Fran Rotino remembers her father for most, however, was a cardinal rule by which Tony Rotino lived his life.
“If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. That’s one of the things I remember him most for,” she added. “We had the quietest dinners when I was a kid.”
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1914, Rotino retired from the Ford Motor Company and made his way to Cape Coral in 1975, by way of Sheffield, Ohio.
Rotino is survived by his children, Joe (Betty) Rotino of Cape Coral, Sam (Ginny) Rotino of Buffalo, N.Y., Barbara Ann Lane of Florida and Fran Rotino of North Fort Myers. He also had nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy in 2001.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Tony Rotino.
The calling is Sunday, Dec 27, 5 – 8 p.m. at Metz Funeral Home, and the graveside service is Monday, Dec 28, 11:30 a.m. at Coral Ridge Cemetery.