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Back row: Gerhard Roser, Ralph Franklin, Sam Claypoole, Robert Irwin and George Measer. Front row: Dick Schranz, James Harrington, Arthur Wittmer, David Ambrose and L.G. Spike Speckeen. Not pictured: Bon Henderson.
Sarasota Thursday, May. 9, 2013 4 years ago

Kindred Spirits: The Romeos


The dining area at The Glenridge of Palmer Ranch is packed with retired residents chatting and preparing for dinner. It’s a Monday evening and the Romeos are among the crowd of retirees, sitting around a table laughing and chatting with one another. The men in this group are all widowers and call themselves the ROMEOs, an acronym for Retired Old Men Eating Out. George Measer organized the current group of men in 2009, after his wife died. Measer was sick of eating alone.

“I don’t mind cooking once or twice a week, but I don’t like to do it every night,” Measer says. “And having the TV commentator as my company is boring.”

Every Monday at 6 p.m., the Romeos meet at the bar to grab a few drinks, then around 6:30 p.m., they sit down to enjoy dinner.

Although the group of men represent various career paths and backgrounds, they are close in age and have much in common. They chat about their days in the military during World War II, sports and their activities at the Glenridge. They are more than just a dinner group. They are friends who support each other and keep each other company.

“There are no strangers here,” says ROMEO member Dick Schranz.

The men have known each other for a number of years because they all live at the Glenridge, but only became good friends after the death of their wives.

The ROMEOs say they are too busy during the rest of the week to meet because of all their community activities.

“You don’t come here to retire you come here to be active,” Measer says. “I am busier here than I was at home sometimes.”

Romeo member Bob Henderson plays tennis four times a week, swims and helps in the sales department.
“This place is security for my family because they know they don’t have to care for me,” Henderson says.

“This is the ‘S.S. Glenridge’ and we are on a permanent cruise,” Schranz says jokingly. “And you don’t get (sea) sick,” Measer says.

George Measer
Married: 1948
Late wife: Joan Measer
George Measer met his wife Joan in 1946 while attending the Rochester Institute of Technology. They had an art class together and she was also from his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y.

“We struck up a conversation and went from there,” Measer says. He was married to Joan for 61 years. He has three children; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Dick Schranz
Married: 1953
Late wife: Marjorie Schranz
In 1940, Dick Schranz sat next to his wife in the seventh grade.

“I was just a kid but I put her on my ‘A’ list in seventh grade,” Schranz says.

The couple married in Chicago and stayed together for 55 years. He has three children; and four grandchildren.

Dave Ambrose
Married: 1948
Late wife: Peggy Ambrose
Dave Ambrose met his wife Peggy at a public swimming pool, after he was discharged from the Navy in 1946.

“It was the Fourth of July and I took her to the fireworks. There have been fireworks ever since,” Ambrose says.

The couple was married for 60 years. Ambrose has one daughter; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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