TREASURE ISLAND — Retiree Charlie Weisgerber dressed each morning as if headed to work. Khakis and a dress shirt, hard shoes. A haircut every 10 days.
Presentation was important to the former salesman. He still had pitches to make. He said goodbye to his wife and was gone for hours.
When former Treasure Island City Manager Chuck Coward saw Mr. Weisgerber at his door, he knew a request was coming. Some project he wanted the city's help with.
"Charlie would get all out of you he could," said Coward, who is now city manager of Indian Rocks Beach. "But he was reasonable."
Mr. Weisgerber had a style. Coward called it a "smiling persistence."
It's how he raised the money to put up flags on light posts every Fourth of July, or sold bricks for downtown restoration.
He called Bob Dowling, a buddy. We're doing Canadian Thanksgiving again, he said. Can you bring the turkey cooker?
"Of course, if you bring the cooker, you were expected to do the cooking, too," said Dowling, 63.
Mr. Weisgerber never asked for more than people could do.
"He would put the touch on you, but it was always just a little something," said Patricia Hubbard of Hubbard Enterprises, who has been hit up by a lot of causes.
Yet when his name flashed on her caller ID, "It was, 'Oh, it's Charlie, what's going on?' " Hubbard said.
Mr. Weisgerber was born in Woodbury, N.J., into a patriotic family. His grandfather, artist Charles H. Weisgerber, painted Birth of Our Nation's Flag in 1892. The depiction of Betsy Ross with George Washington was reproduced on a 3-cent stamp in 1952.
The painting lay rolled up in storage for decades at his brother's house.
He served in the Air Force and its reserves, dabbled in radio, then hired on as a salesman for National Cash Register. His marriage to his first wife, Rubimae, produced five sons in five years, starting with twins.
He retired from NCR after 18 years, then opened Baskin-Robbins ice cream franchises in Iowa and Largo. Rubimae died in 1983, of cancer.
In 1985 he met Janet Milton, a banker who was selling a sailboat. "He was a persistent suitor," said Milton, who married him that year. He stayed close to his sons, talking to all five at least twice a week.
His work was never finished. In recent years, he was lobbying the Smithsonian Institution to display Birth of Our Nation's Flag in its museum.
Mr. Weisgerber died July 21, of lung cancer. He was 84.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or [email protected]