Donald Rogery Sr. knew from an early age that he wanted to be a successful businessman.
Rogeri, 89, of Hollidaysburg, who previously lived in Altoona, died March 22 at his residence.
His son, Don Jr., said Ruggery knew what he wanted to do.
“We found something he wrote going into eighth grade two days after he died that no one had ever seen,” said Don Jr.
Then-8th grader Don Rogeri Sr. wrote, “Ten years later, I hope to be a successful businessman with a family. I hope to be respected and respected. I will try to do my best and be a credit to my city.”
It took a little longer than he imagined for Ruggery to start his own company.
First, he had a long career with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, starting as an auditor for unemployment claims in downtown Altoona and retiring as Director of Pennsylvania Employment Services.
In the spring of 1992, at the age of 58, he took his passion for finding jobs for people and created temporary staff.
Over the course of nearly 30 years, he has grown that business into one of the largest Spherion staffing franchises in the country, retiring for the second time as owner/CEO of Ruggieri Enterprises.
“His risk and vision led him to start our business in April 1992, a business that now stretches from Erie County to Lancaster County,” said Donald Jr.
Ruggery was proud of Altonan, equally proud of his Italian heritage and his military service during the Korean War.
“He was a great businessman. With Don, it was always about family. He was very proud of his heritage and his family. He worked hard to provide a decent life for his family. He was a very proud man,” said Sandy Mazur, retired president of Spherion.
His longtime friend John H. Eichelberger Jr. said, “Don was a very successful businessman who started and grew a large company very late in his life when his peers were enjoying their retirement. Don’s legacy is his faith, his dedication to family, his sense of humor and his willingness to help others.”
Alex Seltzer, President/CEO of Altoona, said Rogeri was driven.
“Every time I met him, I knew where I stood, and I knew what he wanted or needed. He had a passion for hiring people,” Seltzer said. “Don was a fierce competitor and built a great business in the area.”
Ruggery had a passion for community service and served for several years on the Blair County Airport Authority.
“Understanding that public money should not be spent recklessly, Don worked pragmatically with the county commissioners to make progress on the airport,” said Eichelberger. His good nature and business acumen were recognized by the other members who elected him as their president.
Rogie is also survived by two daughters, Karen J. Schreiner and Mary Alice Morehouse. Another son, John F. 12 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren. two sisters, Regina May Pagliara and Margaret Albarano; and his brother, Victor Rogeri.
Mirror Team writer Walt Frank is available at 814-946-7467.