Rocci  Lombard
Rocci Lombard, a long-time resident and civic leader in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., passed away Nov. 12, 2019, in Los Angeles.
Born July 10, 1921, in Sharpsville, he was well known for his work in the insurance industry, his dedication to community service, and his love of carpentry and craft.
A World War II veteran, he served in the U.S. Army from his induction in 1943 to his discharge in 1946 as a staff sergeant in the 8th Air Force 346 Bombardment Group. Stationed on Okinawa, the memory he shared with pride was his role in building a church on the island.
After graduating from Thiel College in Greenville and attending the Wharton School at Penn, he joined Wharton classmate F.W. Hirt at the Erie Insurance Exchange.
While on a client call in Meadville, Rocci met Anne Petruso, a young home-economics teacher, at St. Mary's Church, where she was organizing a Girl Scout dinner. They married in 1951, building a home on Dickson Road where they lived until moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1960.
Lombard found his future in the Daniel Insurance Agency, eventually forming Ross, Lombard & Ballard Insurance. President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Broward County in 1966, and Chair of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) in 1977, in the 1970s and early 1980s he taught in the Insurance Program at what was then Broward Community College.
He worked on legislation that became Florida's No-Fault Motor Vehicle Law and testified on the law before the Congressional Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Finance, of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, during the First Session of the Ninety-fifth Congress. He remained engaged in insurance law issues, most recently drafting his thoughts on a strong national hazard-insurance program.
He also served on many community and professional boards and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the City of Fort Lauderdale General Employees' Retirement System.
Throughout his life he pursued his passion for construction, carpentry and craft. The elements he built for the family homes on Idlewyld Drive and Clematis Place, and in his children's homes in Los Angeles, Miami and St. Louis were featured in Southern Living, South Florida Home & Garden and a Better Homes & Gardens Do It Yourself issue. He was particularly pleased when the Clematis house appeared on the cover of Beth Dunlop's book, A House for My Mother, and in The New Civic Art by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Robert Alminana, which highlighted the dual garages, one of which served as his woodshop.
He worked in insurance through his 80s, consulting for long-time clients and engaging in woodworking projects, from a fence for the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society to wooden Christmas angels that his grandchildren wanted to give as teacher presents. When he couldn't personally work on a project, he provided the tools as he did for the sailors participating in the Broward Navy Days Fleet Week. After he and Anne moved to Los Angeles in 2013, he supervised the construction of Anne's outdoor kitchen, which was featured in the LA Times.
Rocci's zeal for reading, especially history, philosophy and theology, continued to his final days. He was beloved for his thoughtful wisdom and his appreciation of family, friends and the details of life down to the hummingbirds by his garden door. He believed in doing good and the simple importance of doing. He placed his faith squarely in a higher power, started each day with a blessing, and closed the night by saying he would see us on the morrow, "God willing."
He was predeceased this year by his wife Anne, and is survived by his son John (Claudia), daughters Joanna (Denis Hector) and Patricia (Bill Simon), and grandchildren, Joseph and Matthew Lombard, Dorothy Anne and William Hector, and Emily and Alexandra Simon.
A memorial will be held in Los Angeles in December. Honoring Rocci's love of carpentry and craft, donations may be sent to the B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab, c/o Professor Rocco Ceo, University of Miami School of Architecture, 1223 Dickinson Drive, Coral Gables, Florida, 33146.
Published on November 18, 2019
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Joanna Lombard
Nov 17, 2019
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