The Local - Fort-Greene - A New York Times Blog



August 6, 2010, 4:29 pm

Friends and Family Remember Local Pharmacist

Romeo Memorial - Blue FlowersLiza Eckert Flowers and candles sit outside Greene Community Pharmacy in tribute to Frank Romeo, who passed away last week.

Frank Romeo, pharmacist at Greene Community Pharmacy, died suddenly from unknown causes last Friday. He was 50. His colleagues, customers, neighbors and family say they remember him as a generous, community-oriented and kind person.

“As long as I can remember, he’s been around,” said Amy Linden, a long-time Fort Greene resident. She said he was willing to work with patients who were elderly, not well-off, or otherwise in need of help. He hired youths from the neighborhood to work in the pharmacy, and would send them on deliveries for customers who were unable to get to the shop.

Frank2Mr. Romeo passed away Friday from unknown causes.

Ms. Linden called the shop a “real neighborhood place,” saying Mr. Romeo knew his regular customers by name and would call when prescriptions were ready to be picked up.

“You were family when you went in there,” she said.

Joseph Jean from J&S Tire Shop, located across Fulton Street from the pharmacy, said that last Friday morning he saw the pharmacist park his car, and the two talked while Mr. Romeo smoked a cigar. That same afternoon, Mr. Jean received a phone call telling him Mr. Romeo had passed away.

“He’s like family,” Mr. Jean said. “It’s so sad for us.”

Romeo Memorial - Passers ByLiza Eckert Passersby stop to look at flowers left outside Greene Community Pharmacy. The store was closed Wednesday so the staff could attend Mr. Romeo’s funeral.

Mr. Romeo was always willing to donate a little money to neighborhood fundraisers, said Adrienne Rosario, who works in the pharmacy. Every winter, he would raffle off a large stocking full of toys to a neighborhood child. The pharmacy plans to continue the annual contest and community giving without him, Ms. Rosario said. She said he would help people get their medications even if they couldn’t afford it.

“He was a wonderful person,” she said.

Mr. Romeo started working at Greene Community Pharmacy in 1999. In 2001, he brought in Sam Hom, a former classmate at Long Island University, to work with him.

“We worked very well together,” Mr. Hom said. He said they joked around while they worked, but they moved through their business quickly. “Nobody waits.”

Romeo Memorial - Cake Man RavenLiza Eckert Cake Man Raven and his staff left a large colorful bouquet outside the pharmacy.

Mr. Romeo’s sister, Diana Brunetto, said her brother would do anything he could to help someone, without asking what was in it for him. She said the pharmacist, who was unmarried and had no children, was generous to his family as well. He took their elderly father on vacations and doted on his niece and nephews.

Ms. Brunetto said the family does not yet know the exact cause of death, but it may have been a heart attack. She said Mr. Romeo had not been sick.

Renee Egebo, Mr. Romeo’s other sister, said he never wanted gifts at birthdays or Christmas. Instead, he would ask his niece and nephews to get presents for children at neighborhood schools who needed them, Ms. Egebo said.

She said she knew her brother was generous, but her jaw dropped when she heard stories at his funeral about what he did for his neighborhood. He wouldn’t let anyone leave the pharmacy without their medication, whether or not they could pay on the spot, she said.

“Community meant a lot to him.”

Romeo Memorial - CandlesLiza Eckert Candles sit outside Greene Community Pharmacy in honor of Frank Romeo.

14 Comments

  1. 1. August 6, 2010 5:19 pm Link

    Sad. Looks as though the world has lost a wonderful person.

    — myasara
  2. 2. August 6, 2010 7:02 pm Link

    I would really like to thank Liza Eckert for this wonderful piece on my uncle. I cannot express the impact he has had on my life and all those who he came into contact with. I am truly grateful to have had someone so pure and sincere in my life because without him I would not be the person who I am today. Growing up with such a loving and caring person brought me great memories and life lessons that I would have never learned in a classroom. I appreciate the support from his community because he had so much love for the people he worked with and worked so hard for. This is a great loss for all his family and friends but we will always remember the life of my uncle, Frank Romeo.

    — Cassandra Brunetto
  3. 3. August 6, 2010 8:10 pm Link

    This makes me so sad. Mr. Romeo was a wonderful guy. He took great care with his work and was always kind and friendly. My condolences to his family and coworkers. He’ll be missed.

    — beatrice
  4. 4. August 6, 2010 11:18 pm Link

    I just want to repeat what everyone else has said, that he made that pharmacy a community center. He was always warm and concerned about the cost of medications, and even though filling prescriptions is not normally fun, I loved going in there. The community will really miss him.

    — Grace
  5. 5. August 7, 2010 10:49 am Link

    Frank is my 2nd cousin and I never knew him until his wake on Wednesday. I am honored to share some of his blood. He is an inspiration and an amazing person. I wish I knew him during this life, where he was an angel here on Earth. May he rest in eternal peace.

    — lauren
  6. 6. August 7, 2010 10:52 am Link

    I work across the street from the pharmacy and I am very saddened at this news. Frank was an unbelievably kind and helpful man. He will be missed.

    — mike
  7. 7. August 8, 2010 5:17 pm Link

    Some of my good friends call me “Frankie,” and whenever I’d go into the pharmacy, Frankie and I would sing out, “Frankie!” at the same time. He was the sweetest, most amazing man. When I went in the other day and they told me what happened, I burst into tears. Frankie wasn’t just the local pharmacist, he was the spirit of the neighborhood. I really can’t say enough about the love people felt for him. Heavy hearts abound in Fort Greene.

    — Amanda Stern
  8. 8. August 8, 2010 7:29 pm Link

    He sounded like a very special person who meant a great deal to his family and his community. So sad. I am very sorry for the loss of such a great man. My sympathies with his loved ones.

    — Andrea
  9. 9. August 8, 2010 8:41 pm Link

    I am so sorry to hear about this great loss. Frankie was very helpful to me over the years that I lived in Ft. Greene. He always went above and beyond for his customers. My condolences to his family.

    — Jessica Dunlap
  10. 10. August 8, 2010 10:20 pm Link

    Frank was my pharmacist for the last ten years. During this time I bugged him quite a bit with insurance or drug issues. He helped me through those times like he’ll never know. When doctors & health insurance companies were letting me down, he was always there to help in any way he could, always with genuine concern and kindness. I know he did this for everyone who came to his pharmacy. Thanks Frank. We miss you.

    — jon p
  11. 11. August 9, 2010 8:28 pm Link

    I cried when I heard the news. Frank was a wonderful and caring man who always took the time to make sure that my family had the right information and medication for our needs. His smiles and hello’s when we passed him on the street were a happy part of our day. There will never be another like him.

    — Beth
  12. 12. August 11, 2010 3:29 pm Link

    Frank will be missed…….. I cryed when I heard the news he was family to me and my husband…… God needed another angel…Rest in peace….. you were a good and faithful servant

    — Lynn
  13. 13. August 31, 2010 9:37 pm Link

    We met Frank several years ago when we moved into his building. He was a wonderful, kind, generous, always helpful, funny, and very humble man and the heart of that building. We were shocked and saddened to hear this news. Our deepest condolences to Frank’s family, he’ll be missed.
    Shana and Pio

    — Pio and Shana
  14. 14. September 11, 2010 10:32 am Link

    I am related to Frankie through marriage. Married to his only male cousin on his mom’s side of the family, Frankie was in our bridal party 28 years ago. I will always remember his generousity and willingness to help others. Whenever you called him for advise, he was always eager to help you. He, and his immediate family always made me feel like I was always a member of their family. Today is his memorial service, 911. I cannot think of a day more fitting to honor someone who touched so many people in different ways. Frankie, we love you and will miss you, but we have many memories of good times together.

    — Tana

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