Chattaway restaurant host Raymond Frers dies at 89
ST. PETERSBURG Warren Raymond Frers, a longtime host at the Chattaway restaurant, died early Saturday.
Mr. Frers, an Army World War II veteran, suffered from Alzheimer's disease and other ailments and had grown weak after a fall several weeks ago, said his wife, Jillian Lund Frers of St. Petersburg. He was under hospice care. He was 89.
"We realized we were going to lose him, and we did," said Lund Frers, 77, owner of the landmark restaurant.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Frers did not have a financial stake in the restaurant at 358 22nd Ave S, which is famous for its Chattaburgers, homemade onion rings and quirky gardens of flower-filled bathtubs. Opened as a gas station and grocery store in the 1920s, the business took form as a restaurant after Prohibition ended in 1933.
He was a boyhood friend in New York City of Everett Lund, co-owner of the Chattaway and Mrs. Lund Frers' previous husband. Mr. Lund died in 2002.
Mr. Frers' effusive personality, Mrs. Lund Frers said, carried him through five careers: Army staff sergeant, minor league baseball player, master of ceremonies at a bridal house, cross-country ink salesman and Chattaway host.
"People would come back to see him," she said. "He just had a way of entrancing people."
Mr. Frers is survived by a sister, a son and daughter, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Arrangements are being made by Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, 2201 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg.