Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Fred Nassif

Clearwater Beach man loved to chime in

Mr. Nassif

Mr. Nassif

CLEARWATER BEACH — In his life, Fred Nassif had things to say. He had a knack for saying them.

Tony Dungy, please don't replace Shaun King. Just protect him. Give him the kind of protection opposing quarterbacks had all season.

I am very much against the erection of a tower on Clearwater Beach. It would be as out of place on our beach as a beach would be in downtown Seattle.

He wrote dozens of letters to the newspaper, his first after Hurricane Elena in 1985. He loved chiming in.

"He was original," said his wife, Janet. "One of his favorite songs was Frank Sinatra's My Way. He was not a man of convention. …He was a complicated man, but he wasn't dull."

Mr. Nassif died Aug. 22 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 79.

He was born to Lebanese immigrants in Massachusetts. As a teen, he was mischievous. When his high school ordered silence for Victory in Europe Day, Mr. Nassif led a snake dance through the streets. He was suspended.

He joined the military and later became an actor in New York. He appeared in a slew of commercials, including one for Pepto-Bismol with a young Jeff Daniels. On weekends, he was a lector at New York's Holy Family Church.

"He had a wonderful, deep baritone voice," said his friend Dick Matson. "He was the type of person that one could take to immediately."

At 45, he got married. He carried his wife's baby picture in his wallet, saying he had married a much younger woman. The couple moved to Clearwater Beach to retire, though he still took acting jobs. He loved to sit on the beach and identify birds — he could even tell seagulls apart.

His wife thinks the symptoms of Parkinson's had started to affect his judgment when the biggest tragedy in their life happened. In 1997, Mr. Nassif collided with a motorcycle while driving. He left the scene, and the driver died. Mr. Nassif pleaded no contest, expressed remorse and was sentenced to house arrest and probation.

"The irony is, this is a man who stopped for every pedestrian in a crosswalk," his wife said.

Later in life, he was private. He hated gossip and endured a lot of it. He didn't like to talk on the telephone. He exercised, read his daily newspaper and kept writing when he felt passionate.

The city of Clearwater recently compared the number of roundabout accidents during a 39-day period in 2001 with a 39-day period in 2002 after changes were made in the roundabout's design. … (T)hese design "improvements" would result in 292 accidents per year! Do our town fathers think that 292 accidents per year are acceptable? I don't.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at or (727) 893-8857.


Fred Nassif

Born: April 29, 1929.

Died: Aug. 22, 2008.

Survivors: wife, Janet Nassif; siblings, Fuad Nassif, Donna Rogers, Jean McKerrow; daughter, Kimberlee Haggin Rossi; granddaughters, Claire Cooper and Kate Rossi; predeceased by siblings Edward Nassif and Elaine Ellsworth.

Clearwater Beach man loved to chime in 09/05/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 5, 2008 8:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senator: American student arrested in China has been freed


    BILLINGS, Mont. — Chinese authorities have dropped charges against an American college student who was arrested and detained in the a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

    Guthrie McLean was detained for reportedly injuring a taxi driver after the driver physically attacked McLean’s mother.
  2. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post


    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  3. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike


    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  4. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116
  5. White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation


    WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration supports new legislation to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression toward Ukraine.

    President Donald Trump at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford  at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, July 22, 2017. [New York Times]