Gennero (Jerry) Rocco
Gennero (Jerry) Rocco died peacefully in his bed sometime in the early morning of July 30, 2021.
He is survived by his son Nicholas and two daughters Michelle and Marissa Rocco. Also 11 grandchildren.
Jerry was born June 4, 1948, in Chiaravalle, Italy to Chiara and Giuseppe Rocco. He left school at the age of 14 to become a barber’s assistant and then a barber. Soon after he moved to London with his father to look for better opportunities. His search for a better life leads him to America. He moved to Chicago at the age of 17, after spending a few years in Chicago the rest of the family immigrated from Italy.
At the age of 24 Jerry had heard of an opportunity that would change the course of his life. He learned of a hotel that was for sale in Florida. The hotel Putnam. It was run down and hardly making a profit, but he saw the potential. He bought it and turned the attached bar into a music venue “the American room “. It would become the hottest night spot in Central Florida for many years.
Jerry would spend the next 35 years creating new bars, restaurants, nightclubs and other entrepreneurial ventures. Club Europe, JR‘s Country Club and Saloon, Good Company and Casa Del Mare Italian restaurant just to name a few.
Along the way he helped many, took many under his wing. He was a devoted father. He ran the toys for tots Christmas event out of the bar. Mentored and advised other local entrepreneurs. Travel to Europe extensively. He loved to cook, play chess and poker. He lived a very big, very lush life. Too big to fit into this little obituary. He will be sorely missed by friends and family and was a big piece of Deland’s history. He was a bold and loved man. Deland is a less interesting place without him.
The funeral services will take place on Saturday August 7th, 2021, at Lankford Funeral Home located at:
220 East New York Ave. DeLand, FL 32724
The viewing will begin at 10 AM. Service is at 11 AM. The burial will be at noon at Oakdale Cemetery.