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Albert L. Rogero Jr., 57, attorney, banker

Albert L. "Buddy" Rogero Jr., retired local real estate agent and attorney and a founding director of the original Citizens Bank in downtown Clearwater, died unexpectedly at home Monday (Aug. 9, 1999). He was 57.

He was a second-generation Clearwater native and son of the late Albert Rogero Sr., a real estate agent and member of the State Road Department for many years.

According to best friend Glen Warren, co-owner of Tack and Warren Air Conditioning, Mr. Rogero died of an apparent heart attack.

"It was totally unexpected," Warren said. "Sunday he had been swimming and playing with his grandchildren. Mary (his wife) phoned him at home around 10 a.m. to tell him she would come pick him up after lunch. When she called back later and he didn't answer, she just assumed he'd probably gone out for some reason. When she got home in the evening and saw the mail hadn't been picked up and his keys and cell phone were there, she knew something was wrong.

"Then she found him . . . laying on the floor in the bathroom beside the shower. It was quite a shock."

Mr. Rogero graduated from Clearwater High School in 1960, earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi and got his law degree in 1968 from University of Florida School of Law, Gainesville.

He had a law practice for many years on Garden Avenue and later worked with his wife in her real estate business, Rare Earth Properties. He retired several years ago because of health problems unrelated to the apparent heart attack. However, there was a family history of heart problems and a sister, Beverly Metz, died unexpectedly at age 44.

Mr. Rogero was a director of First National Bank of Florida, a Paul Harris Fellow and a member of the Clearwater Rotary Club, the Clearwater Bar Association, Carlouel Yacht Club and the Casado Club. He was a lifetime member of Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, Clearwater.

Since Mr. Rogero retired, he spent many hours with several of his former high school chums, including Steve Brown, a retired independent insurance agent who remembers his friend as someone who loved to talk to people.

"Buddy treated everyone the same, no matter if he were the president of a corporation or an old person or a young one," Brown said.

He would have liked to have been an athlete, according to Brown, but at age 10, he broke his leg for the second time playing six-man football so his sports were limited to fishing, hunting and golf.

Brown said, "He loved golf, even though the game made him crazy."

Brown recounted that Mr. Rogero donated money to inscribe a bench at the Clearwater Country Club, where Mr. Rogero played golf.

"Typical of Buddy's great sense of humor he spent his $35 to inscribe on his bench In memory of my misspent youth. It sits at the second hole," Brown said.

Along with his wife of 22 years he is survived by a son, Albert L. III "Bo," who is an insurance executive in Denver. His oldest daughter, Gina Rogero, is a flight attendant in Miami and another daughter, Michelle Rogero-Burton, owns and operates a telephone messaging business with her husband, Clay. His remaining sister, Ditter McGhee, also lives in Clearwater.

He is survived by five grandchildren: Dillon and Rachel Rogero of Denver and Clayton "Bear" Burton, Blake Burton and Brendan Burton, all of Clearwater.

Memorial services will be at 3 p.m. today at Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater. The family requests donations be made to the Buddy Rogero Fund at the church. Rhodes Funeral Directors, Druid Chapel, Clearwater.