This week in the Flamingo Lounge is a conversation sparked by my 40th high school reunion in July 2022. Since then, I’ve learned that three of my classmates’ fathers were musicians with fascinating stories. These stories, often untold, need to be shared, especially when they come from the people I know and love.
Milissa Albano, Bizzie Rathgeber Cors, Lisa Rathgeber Bobotas and Lisa Roeder shared stories about their fathers, Richard A. “Dick” Albano, G. Donald “Don” Rathgeber and Dr. Harold H. “Buck” Roeder, in August 2023. Lisa also shared her experience writing a book with her sister Lynn about their travels in the mid-1970’s with Donny and Marie Osmond.
Dr. Harold H. “Buck” Roeder
Dr. Harold H. Roeder, a longtime resident of Fredonia, New York, and a distinguished Emeritus professor at SUNY Fredonia, was an accomplished musician, playing Bass in a local Buffalo band for over 10 years. While attending college, Dr. Roeder would play his Bass on weekends in local Buffalo establishments in order to pay for his distinguished education of two Masters Degrees and Ed.D. in Education. In 1968, Dr. Roeder moved his wife and two young daughters to Fredonia, N.Y., where he put his Bass down and pursued a lifelong career as a professor in teaching at SUNY Fredonia. Dr. Roeder recently passed away on April 17, 2023, at the age of 87, but his 1942 vintage upright Bass remains visible in his Grandson, Maxwell’s room, as a reminder of Harold’s accomplishments and dedication to his family.
Richard A. Albano – pharmacist and musician.
A lifelong resident of Fredonia, NY. “Dick”, as his family and friends knew him, began his musical career at FHS. He started the Moonlight Serenaders with his close friends, Jeanenne Galowicz and Ronnie Burrows while in high school.
After Dick graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, he returned home to takeover the family business, The Park Pharmacy. While working and raising his family, Dick continued his love of music by playing his trumpet and singing with various local groups. He sang for the Chautauqua County Barber-shoppers choir and also sang lead in the 4 over 40 quartet.
Dick played in the Cassadaga Community Band, Westfield Deutschmeister Band, and he sat in for the Frank Farina and Dave Golando bands.
G. Donald “Don” Rathgeber
After beginning his career with the New York State Public School System, he was called to serve in the United States Army from 1953-1955 as a trombone player of the Continental Army Band at Fort Monroe, VA.
During his many opportunities performing with various artists two notable are Captain & Tenille and Smokey Robinson.
Don returned to his lifelong career in education as a music teacher and guidance counselor. His talent and knowledge were enjoyed at schools throughout New York State, including Kenmore, Scio, Iroquois, Grand Island, Saratoga Springs, and Ballston Spa. In 1970, he began the last stop in his career with Fredonia Central Schools, from which he retired as the Director of Guidance in 1987.
Don was always an active member in the community. He volunteered his time and skills at the Fredonia Opera House, Habitat for Humanity and many other organizations in Fredonia.