PORT RICHEY — Family and friends are mourning the passing of former Port Richey mayor and City Council member Bob Leggiere.
Mr. Leggiere's wife, Carole, said her husband died at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point on Sunday night (Sept. 16, 2012) of congestive heart failure. He was 71.
Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Mr. Leggiere moved to New Port Richey in 1983, and later to Port Richey, where he opened his business, Custom Windows and Doors, at U.S. 19 and Grand Boulevard.
Mr. Leggiere was elected to the City Council in 1997 and won a second term two years later without opposition. He then took over as acting mayor in 2000 upon the resignation of then-Mayor Eileen Ferdinand, who left to run for Pasco County Commission.
In 2000, he lost the seat in a special election to current Mayor Eloise Taylor. He and Taylor found themselves opponents in two ensuing mayoral elections as well, with Mr. Leggiere losing in 2001 and 2003.
After his final campaign in politics, he continued to run his business until he began suffering heart problems nine months ago, his wife told the Times on Tuesday. His sons, Bobby and Gary, are continuing to run the store.
"He was a self-made man. He was that shop," she said. "This is a tremendous loss for me and my family. He was a wonderful father and husband."
Mr. Leggiere's friends also expressed deep sadness at losing not only a talented businessman in the area, but a great fishing buddy.
"It's a terrible loss. In my heart there's a terrible empty spot," said Philip Poje.
Mr. Leggiere's time in the Port Richey political limelight was not without controversy. In 2005, he signed a settlement admitting he violated state ethics law and agreed to a $2,000 fine in lieu of continued enforcement action after being accused of pressuring city building officials.
An investigator in the case found Mr. Leggiere — while serving on council — "knowingly used his position in an attempt to circumvent the requirements of the building code for the benefit of his customers and friends." Mr. Leggiere consistently denied the accusations.
On Tuesday, his wife as well as his daughter, Terri Chapman, said Mr. Leggiere remained upset about his life in politics in Port Richey.
"When he didn't play the game like his detractors wanted him to and tried to do what was right for the city, they went after him," Chapman said.
Mr. Leggiere is also survived by daughter Laura Ludy and stepdaughter Gloria Janelli.
Two viewing services will be held on Thursday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at the Michels & Lunquist Funeral Home at 5228 Trouble Creek Road in New Port Richey. There will also be a funeral service there at 11 a.m. Friday.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Laura Ludy is one of the surviving daughters of former Port Richey official Bob Leggiere. The original version of this article misspelled her name.