Obituaries » Robert Rossman

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May 24, 1936 - April 9, 2021

There will be a viewing on Monday, April 12, 2021 at 6:00 to 9:00 pm with a prayer service at 7:00pm all at the Landmark Funeral Home, located at 4200 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, FL 33021. A church service will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at the Nativity Catholic Church at 10:30 am, located at 5220 Johnson Street, Hollywood, FL 33021. Interment with Military Honors will be April 29th , 1:00pm at South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, FL.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Police Officers Assistance Trust, Wounded Warrior Project, or Folds of Honor.

Lastly, there will be a celebration of life following the church service to be held at the Field Irish Pub, located at 3281 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. There will be food and drinks available as dad would like to treat all to a “Black & Tan.”

Bob died of congestive heart failure on April 9, 2021 at Holmes Regional Medical Center. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Margaret, his five sons, Robert, Eric, Randy, Scott and Gregg, and his eleven grandchildren. Bob was a true native Floridian, born in Miami to Aaron “Buzzy” Rossman and Rita Rossman in 1936. He was the oldest boy in a family of six. As such, Bob was responsible for watching over his younger siblings and working on the family farm. Thus began a life devoted to leadership – in his family and throughout his career as a public servant.

Bob’s father was a policeman for the City of Miami from 1946 through 1977. This set the stage for Bob and two of his brothers to become law enforcement officers—while another brother became a fireman. The Rossman family was all about public service.

Bob joined the US military right out of high school in 1954. He served with the 11th airborne, 503 Air Group, Military Advisor Assistance Group (MAAG). Dad was a paratrooper and was proud of earning his wings. He briefly served in Laos and Cambodia as an advisor. As a noncommissioned officer, Bob earned an appointment to West Point Military Academy.

It was at West Point where he met the love of his life, a young nursing student named Margaret Terracino. Dad used to joke that he was running last in a track meet at the Academy, so he had plenty of time to survey the stands. Upon spotting Margaret, Bob immediately asked for an introduction. They met, and he was smitten—and six months later, Bob proposed.

There was only one problem. Margaret’s father told Bob that he would have to get a job to earn his blessing. So, Bob hopped on a “puddle jumper” back to Miami via Opa Locka airport to apply for a position with the Dade County Road Patrol (later known as the Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD)).

Bob worked 31 years with MDPD, rising through the ranks and earning the title of Major. However, of all the ranks attained in MDPD, the one Bob relished the most was “coach.” He managed one of the elite department softball teams that competed in the Police Olympics and various charitable tournaments.

Bob’s career highlights include his command over 60 police officers, FBI, and Secret Service to ensure Pope John Paul’s safety during his 1987 visit to Miami. And as a commander, Bob earned a reputation for being a great boss. He was beloved by so many officers that, when his son started at MDPD in 1984, people would always tell Rick, “Your dad was the best Lieutenant I ever worked for.” One former officer stated in a press article that he and others would literally ride into hell to put out fires if Dad asked them to. Bob continually received high praise from those he mentored—and his mentees, in turn, achieved high rank themselves. They have all said they owe their positions to my father.

  In 1989, Bob left MDPD to start another career as the Chief of the Palm Bay Police Department (PBPD). It was not an easy task. The officers were underpaid, underappreciated, and operated with obsolete equipment, standards, and methods. He updated the Standard Operating Procedures to professionalize the department. Additionally, he utilized his contacts at the MDPD to send PBPD officers to training facilities at no cost to the city.

With the new job also came perils, as Bob had to manage political relationships. He battled the City Manager to obtain funding to tie into 800-megahertz radio frequencies, as the radios PBPD had did not operate in large swaths of the growing city. Bob also garnered notoriety when his command had to put down a crazed circus elephant. He retired after 6 years and to this day I am told that his legacy is such that the current PBPD Chief and previous Chief were both personally hired by my Dad.

Bob loved Jack Daniels (he was an honorary Tennessee Squire). He also loved sports— “Go Canes!”—softball, and golf, later in life. Golf became Dad’s addiction, although sometimes he had trouble counting all his strokes.

Working for the police department was his calling but there was much more to Bob than his professional life. He was also a devout Catholic, member of the Knights of Columbus #7408, Saint Joes Catholic Church, and a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels. He also did a stint as a council member for the Town of Malabar, as he just could not get public service out of his blood.

If one were to ask Bob about his greatest legacy, he would unequivocally reply, “My five boys and eleven grandchildren.” His favorite titles in the world were just husband, dad, and then Gramps.

There will be a viewing on Monday, April 12, 2021 at 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Landmark Funeral Home, located at 4200 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, FL 33021. A church service will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at the Nativity Catholic Church at 10:00 am, located at 5220 Johnson Street, Hollywood, FL 33021.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Police Officers Assistance Trust, Wounded Warrior Project, or Folds of Honor.

Lastly, there will be a celebration of life following the church service to be held at the Field Irish Pub, located at 3281 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. There will be food and drinks available as dad would like to treat all to a “Black & Tan.”