Services held for former council member
Tony Rotino was laid to rest at Coral Ridge Cemetery Monday, surrounded by family and friends who gathered to say goodbye to the Cape Coral icon.
Rotino died Tuesday, Dec. 22, at Gulf Coast Village at the age of 95.
In the days following his death, city dignitaries past and present, family and friends all recalled a warm, caring man who used his position on city council to foster the Cape’s growth, to lend a helping hand to any member of the community that needed it.
“He did so much for the city,” said Joe Rotino, Tony’s son. “You didn’t have to live in his district if you needed help. He didn’t care which district was yours, he’d help anybody.”
Rotino was survived by his sons,Joe and Sam; and daughters, Barbara Ann Lane and Fran.
Rotino had nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy, who passed in 2001.
Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Rotino retired from Ford Motor Company in Sheffield, Ohio, and moved to Cape Coral in in 1975.
Rotino served as a city councilman for 16 years, and was a member of numerous city clubs and organizations including the Kiwanis, the Italian American Club and the Volunteer Fireman’s Association.
And, of course, there’s the building that bares his name, the Tony Rotino Senior Center, which both friends and peers say was his passion.
“He went soliciting to local businesses for money for the senior center so it wouldn’t come out of taxpayer money,” Joe Rotino recalled.
Fran Rotino, Joe’s sister, said last week that her father put his name into the hat for the city council seat just so people would know who he was when the following election rolled around, never expecting to win the seat.
He ran unopposed, which helped, according to his family, but it was his time as an elected official in Ohio that whet his whistle, and his nearly two decades as a city councilman in Cape Coral was a lasting part of his legacy.
He made only $1 a year as his salary, and he fostered relationships throughout the city that enabled him to help citizens by merely picking up a phone.
According to friends and family, Rotino had an encylopaedic mind, remembering everyone and everything.
Citizens constantly reached out to Rotino for help, and more often than not he was able to meet the demands of those who elected him for four consecutive terms in office.
“The longer he was in office the more calls he got,” Joe Rotino said. “He helped to build the city that we know today.”