ST. PETERSBURG — Every year, numerous people claim they are wronged or injured by county government.
A sheriff's deputy arrests the wrong person. Smoke from a prescribed burn lingers in the homes of neighbors. Backed-up sewage forces a family into a motel.
As Pinellas County's director of risk management, Domenick Murano had a hand in compensating those people and many more.
Mr. Murano, the man who Pinellas County relied on to fix its blunders, died Jan. 27 of kidney failure. He was 74.
He was born in the Bronx and served in the Army in Germany in the late 1950s. He worked most of his life as an insurance claims adjuster.
In 1963 he married Margaret Borrello, a woman as shy as he was outgoing. They preferred each other's company to anyone else's.
"They were kind of homebodies," said daughter Kim Murano-Bayne, 44. They just enjoyed puttering around the house together."
The family of three moved to Florida in 1974. Mr. Murano set up a ham radio in the garage. Sometimes he took his daughter into the back yard to look at the constellations he had studied in astronomy books.
"He loved knowledge, he loved the pursuit of knowledge," his daughter said. "He loved knowing there was something out there."
Murano-Bayne, an insurance defense lawyer, said she thinks her father, a certified court mediator, might have been a wannabe lawyer — he often made an entrance with mock seriousness, announcing, "All rise!"
But he also showed compassion for those harmed. In 1994, after a 59-year-old woman from Ireland was accidentally run over by a lifeguard's truck on a Fort De Soto beach, Mr. Murano visited the woman in the hospital.
"I just wanted to let her know we were concerned," Mr. Murano said at the time. He spent his last five years as director of risk management.
After retiring in 2003, he worked as a paralegal at Saunders & Walker. State Rep. Rick Kriseman, a lawyer at the firm, described him as "a really good guy" with a fascinating life.
Several years ago, Mr. Murano won an essay contest sponsored by the Tampa Bay Rays. He assured other fans, including transplanted Yankee fans such as himself, that they could continue admiring their old teams — except when they played the Rays.
For his winning essay, the team invited Mr. Murano to throw out the first pitch in a game.
Margaret Murano died in 2005 at 63 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mr. Murano devoted himself to his paralegal work and working as a road patrol officer for the city of St. Petersburg. Those volunteer duties included writing parking citations at Rays games, a job that called upon his people skills.
"Some types of people can get really hot," said fellow volunteer Bob Costa, 70. "He was always able to control the situation."
Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or email@example.com.