On Monday, Oct. 23, local business owner Frank Rossetti, the founder and CEO of FDR Financial, passed away at 51 years old due to a sudden heart attack. The financial specialist was inspired to start his company in 2012 to help school and municipal employees discover their retirement options. He created retirement plans that helped clients to have lifetime income streams to allow them to more easily live the lives they wished once they exited the workforce.
Mr. Rossetti attended Nassau College for Business and held a Florida 2-15 insurance license. He was dedicated to helping others, was a good friend, and a loving husband and father. He is survived by his wife Paula and his three children – Michael, Brittany, and Marguerite. He was also a “grandpa” to his grandson Landon, a title which was his “favorite.” Among his group of friends, he leaves behind County Commissioner Steve Champion, who reminisced on how he came to know Rossetti, WWJB owner Barbara Manuel, and School Board Member Gus Guadagnino, among other friends.
“I met him years ago on the radio,” Champion said. “So, when I started running for office, I met him on WWJB. He used to do like the 9 to 10 show. He didn’t really know me, but he had me come on every Monday and he got to know me and I got to know him. A long story short, eventually, once I got elected and stuff, I always kept in touch with him. He always supported my campaign and then we just became friends. Mostly, we would go on the boat together; his family would come to my house. We would hang out and stuff like that. He’s just a good guy, a good family.”
According to Paula Rossetti, Frank was reportedly feeling chest pains but wished to only see his family doctor due to being “kind of hard-headed,” said Champion. When he saw a doctor, he was sent for a stress test up at the Villages. The financial expert was checked out and given a clean bill of health but began experiencing chest pains again on that fateful Monday. As Frank and his wife were driving to breakfast, he asked her to call 911 as he felt he was having a heart attack. Shortly thereafter, Frank “died right in the car next to [Paula].” The paramedics attempted to revive Rossetti for “like two hours,” but they were unable to bring him back.
“51 years old, he scared me,” Champion said. “That’s for sure. I plan to get a test to check my heart and I told probably ten other people, at my age, to double-check and make sure I’m good, you know? But it’s sad. The whole thing’s sad. I went to his funeral on Saturday. Yeah, not good. When you leave somebody suddenly like that – his wife – there’s nothing you can say to them.”
“It was a shock that he passed so fast, how it happened,” said School Board Member Gus Guadagnino. “As far as taking care of yourself, I learned that lesson two and a half years ago when they had to take out two-thirds of my esophagus and part of my stomach from cancer. So, we had to give up all the vices that we had, but I think it is important for people to be more aware of when somebody is in a situation to have some kind of knowledge of how they could help. That’s a big factor.”
This tragedy should serve as a wake-up call, reminding everyone of the frailty and impermanence of life. If they have the time and resources, readers would be well-served to go in for a check-up, like Champion, to make sure the diagnosis comes back positive. If not, then perhaps catching it early could save someone’s life. In doing so, it would help more than just the individual but their family and friends as well.
Rossetti and his family were long-time residents of Spring Hill. In addition to his human family, he leaves behind four dogs: Ava, Bugsy, Chief and Miley (a German Shepherd, a Boxer, and two Shih Tzu’s, respectively). Besides boating and helping clients secure their financial futures, Rossetti also enjoyed traveling, fishing and spending time with his grandson. Commissioner Champion posted a tribute to Rossetti on Facebook on Oct. 23 that has received 169 likes and 56 comments as of the writing of this article.
“More sad news this week,” Champion’s post said. “Today, my good friend Frank Rossetti passed away suddenly at 51. Words can’t describe how sad I was to hear! My heart breaks for the Rossetti family. RIP Brother. Prayers for Paula Rossetti and family.”
A man who lit up the room wherever he went, Rossetti was admired by many. Below are comments from others in the community who knew the jovial man:
“He was a beautiful soul, a very caring man, do anything for anybody, and loved by everybody,” said Guadagnino. “We first became friends through the Sons and Daughters of Italy, which is a local organization for people of Italian heritage… It seems like every time we were together, it was just laughter and fun. Even when it was serious, it was just laughter and fun. He was just one of those individuals who brightened up a room. I couldn’t say enough good things about him. You know, there’s an expression: ‘The good die young.’ He was one of those people that I don’t know anybody could say anything bad about.”
“I will tell you this: we totally enjoyed having him as an employee of the radio station,” said WWJB’s Barbara Manuel. “He did a wonderful job. He was a wonderful employee and just had an expertise at talking. I mean, he could definitely talk. Yeah, never a loss for words, but he didn’t work here a long time. J.R. worked closely with [Rossetti]. We were so sad to hear about this because he was such a wonderful man. He really was. I’ll tell you, a lot of people loved Frank. He was a personality on the air and it was a wonderful time. It really was, and he’ll be so missed… He was always a personality behind the scenes he was. Like I said, he had a gift of gab, a wonderful way with words. He really was; he was a wonderful man… It’s been a while. Yeah, about eight years ago. J.R. and Frank talked a lot.”
“Definitely not at a loss for words,” said J.R. Scicluna of WWJB. “That’s for sure. He had a business, he was still running. He was coming in to fill a couple gaps that we had with people. So, he caught on very quickly as to how to run a radio board, etcetera, very knowledgeable about his beliefs and his political desire for what he wanted to see, etcetera. So, he was very astute as to what his views were and he was adamant to make sure that was part of it. Yeah, he was very good… It’s been a while, too, about eight years. I’ve kept in touch with him here and there, off and on… Didn’t get to see him as much as I wanted to, though. That was the bad part.”