At the intersection of North Roosevelt Boulevard and Jose Marti Drive
Key West, FL 33040
This fountain became operational the first time on Monday, November 28th, 2016! The ribbon cutting was held on December 5th, 6:00 PM 2016.
There are various nozzles used on this fountain, so the patterns will change.
Frank Romano and Joe Liszka were partners in life and business for over 50 years. When Frank passed away, Joe decided he wanted to build a fountain in honor of Frank and as a thank you to the people of Key West for all they had given him.
The project was put into motion when Joe called his longtime friend Dan Reynen in July of 2015 and asked him to "get the ball rolling." Dan, with the help of his team at WeBeFit began researching what sort of fountain would fit in the space, be capable to handling things like salt water and tides, plus be kept operational years after the original donation had been made.
There have been many challenges to get and keep this fountain operational. At this time, the City of Key West Public Works is doing an excellent job of making sure it keeps running for everyone to enjoy.
Frank Romano - Born August 19, 1922. Died May 19, 2011
Joe Liszka - Born February 9, 1930. Died October 14, 2015
Frank and Joe had two fountains at their home in Key Haven that they enjoyed every day. It was a natural progression to simply want to scale that up to something that everybody in Key West could enjoy.
Joe Liszka, master perfumer, visionary, loving partner and beloved friend and family member, died suddenly on Oct. 14, 2015. He was 85.
Joe was born in Chicago, Illinois. His family was multigenerational and multilingual, preparing Joe to move comfortably among a wide range of people. While growing up, he also worked long hours in the family’s business, preparing him for his work life. He attended Loyola Academy, a college preparatory high school, and after graduation, he enlisted in the Navy during the Korean crisis. He said the only action he saw was stateside behind a desk because he possessed a coveted skill: he could type! After his discharge, Joe attended the University of Illinois and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He went on to work for Swiss Watchmakers of America and later, for the Caterpillar Corporation.
Leaving the corporate world, Joe returned to his earlier interest in fragrances. While traveling abroad with his life partner, Frank Romano, Joe spent time in Grasse, France, home of the perfume and flavorings company, Robertet.
After returning to the States, Joe and Frank decided to settle in Key West. They founded Key West Aloe in 1971, after learning first hand that there is too much of a good thing — the tropical sun. Frank, the science-based chemist, developed the initial aloebased products, and Joe, the perfumer, created the products’ lush fragrances, reminiscent of a tropical paradise. Together they built a globally recognized brand, one of the first companies to bring aloe skin care, cosmetics, and perfumes into mainstream use.
As the company grew, so did Joe’s involvement with the Key West community. A naturalized Conch, Joe delighted in the diversity, vibrancy and playfulness of Key West. He called Key West home for over 40 years and was a vital community leader and advocate for the island. Joe served as president of the Key West Chamber of Commerce; of the Tourist Development Association; and of the Founders Society for the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center. Ever a leader, Joe served in the executive capacity as national treasurer of the Urantia Fellowship, and was a long-time participant with the Literacy Volunteers of America. He was Florida Governor Bill Graham’s choice for appointment to the White House Conference on Small Business. In 1979, Joe, Frank, Tony Falcone and Bill Conkle wanted to create an event to spur tourism during Key West’s slow Fall season. Forget a crafts fair; these men thought BIG. They created Fantasy Fest, held annually and attended by tens of thousands of people, which is considered Florida’s premier mask and costume event, and reputed to be one of the best parties in the world.
Joe’s personal interests ranged from scouring the Sunday New York Times to his love of growing orchids and Japanese Bonsai. He took delight in the performing arts: ballet and modern dance; opera; live theatre; and classical musical performances. He appreciated the fine arts and architecture. Knowing the lyrics to most Broadway musicals and the music standards of his youth, Joe was known to break out into song when prompted by — anything!
Joe was predeceased by his partner of 54 years, Frank Romano; his sister Rita Singer; his half-brother, Frank Liszka; his half-sister, Mary Liszka Hartz, his goddaughter and niece, Charlotte Lee; and his godson and nephew, Rob Hartz. He is survived by nieces Deborah McCormac (James) and Kim Romano, great-nephews Cody Romano, Edwin Steen (Kali), Sean McCormac (Jessica) and Luke McCormac, and great-great-nephew Seamus McCormac. Joe leaves behind a multitude of friends, especially his “Key West Family” — Linda O’Brien, Daniel Reynen, Marcus Varner, Campbell Cawood and AJ, his cat, Van, and by many other friends, nieces, nephews and cousins in the States and Europe.
Never one to miss a good time, Joe is surely beyond the “pearly gates” dancing with and among the stars, organizing some pageant — “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” — visiting with beloved friends and family, and relaxing with a Rob Roy or Manhattan.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be held at a future date. If you would like to honor Joe’s life, consider making a donation to Womankind, the American Red Cross, the Literacy Volunteers of America, the Urantia Fellowship, or another humanitarian charity of your choice.