Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Rocci Lombard Passed Away

Rocci Lombard and his daughter, Larchmont Buzz Co-Publisher Patty Lombard.

Rocci Lombard, resident of Fremont Place, passed away at his home on November 12 at the age of 98. Lombard was a long-time resident and civic leader in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and moved to Los Angeles six years ago to live with his family. He and his wife Anne were embraced by our local community including St. Brendan’s Church and the Ebell of Los Angeles, easing their transition to California.

Born July 10, 1921 in Sharpsville, PA, he was well known for his work in the insurance industry, his dedication to community service, and his love of carpentry and craft.  A WWII veteran, he served in the U.S. Army from his induction in 1943 to his discharge in 1946 as a Staff Sergeant in the 8th Air Force 346 Bombardment Group. Stationed on Okinawa, the memory he shared with pride was his role in building a church on the island. 

After graduating from Theil College in Greenville, PA, and attending the Wharton School at Penn, he joined Wharton classmate F. W. Hirt at what was then the Erie Insurance Exchange. While on a client call in Meadville, Lombard met Anne Petruso at St. Mary’s Church, where she was organizing a Girl Scout dinner. They married in 1951, building a home on Dickson Road, where they lived until moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1960.

Rocci Lombard in his Fort Lauderdale front garden stands between his pink rain lilies and begonias.

Lombard found his future in the Daniel Insurance Agency, eventually forming Ross, Lombard & Ballard Insurance. He was President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Broward County in 1966 and Chair of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) in 1977.  In the 1970s and early 1980s, he taught in the Insurance Program at what was then Broward Community College. He worked on legislation that became Florida’s No-Fault Motor Vehicle Law, and as incoming FAIA Chair he testified in the “Florida’s No-Fault Automobile Insurance Experiences: Hearings” before the Congressional Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Finance, of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives during the First Session of the Ninety-fifth Congress. He remained engaged in insurance law issues, most recently drafting his thoughts on a strong national hazard insurance program. 

Lombard also served on many community and professional boards, including the Board of Trustees for  the City of Fort Lauderdale General Employees’ Retirement System, and throughout his life he pursued his passion for construction, carpentry and craft. He added rooms and built furniture for the family homes, including a swimming pool and hot tubs built with his great friend Mickey Hinton. The features he added to homes on Idlewyld Drive and Clematis Place, and to his children’s homes in Los Angeles, Miami and St. Louis, were immediately appreciated and featured in style and design magazines including Southern Living, South Florida Home & Garden and a Better Homes & Gardens Do It Yourself issue. He was particularly pleased when the Clematis house appeared on the cover of Beth Dunlop’s book, A House for My Mother, and in The New Civic Art by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Robert Alminana, which highlighted the dual garages, one of which served as Lombard’s woodshop.

Lombard continued working in insurance until his 80s, when he limited his work to consulting for long-time clients and woodworking projects ranging from a fence for the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society to Christmas angels for his grandchildren to give as teacher presents. When he couldn’t personally work on a project, he provided the tools, as he did for the sailors participating in the Broward Navy Days Fleet Week, who worked on HANDY’s facilities. After his move to Los Angeles in 2014, he supervised an addition and the construction of Anne’s outdoor kitchen, which was featured in the LA Times.

Lombards’s zeal for reading, especially history, philosophy and theology, continued to his final days. He was beloved for his thoughtful wisdom and his appreciation of family, friends and the details of life, down to the hummingbirds by his garden door. He believed in doing good and the simple importance of doing. He placed his faith squarely in a higher power, started each day with a blessing, and closed the night by saying he would see us on the morrow, “God willing.” He was predeceased this year by Anne, and is survived by his son John (Claudia), daughters Joanna (Denis Hector) and Patricia (Bill Simon), and grandchildren Joseph and Matthew Lombard, Dorothy Anne and William Hector, and Emily and Alexandra Simon.

Honoring Rocci’s love of carpentry and craft, donations may be sent to the B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab, c/o Professor Rocco Ceo, University of Miami School of Architecture, 1223 Dickinson Drive, Coral Gables, Florida, 33146.

A garden celebration of Rocci and Anne Lombard is planned for December 6, 2019.

Lombard’s garden view in Fremont Place.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }