Frank Roesle, 84, a retired bartender who pulled taps for 28 years at Sparky's Georgia Tavern in the District and who, for another 20 years, worked as a house cleaner, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 5 at his son's Silver Spring home. He was an Olney resident.
Mr. Roesle, a native Washingtonian and first-generation American whose father fought in the Spanish-American War, was born in his family's home at Third and C streets SE. He graduated from Hines Junior High School and, in 1939, from Anacostia High School. He enlisted in the Army at the outbreak of World War II, but caught tuberculosis while at boot camp and was discharged.
He held a number of jobs before he went to work at the bar, at 7331 Georgia Ave., in 1947.
"He was a preacher, a psychologist. Like John Wayne on the outside, he was puppy dog on the inside," said his son Paul. A friend from Germany once sent him a letter, addressed to "Frank the bartender, Georgia Avenue, Washington D.C.," and the Post Office somehow knew for whom it was meant, his son said.
The tavern closed a year after he quit in 1975. The seeming fortune -- $150,000 -- that Mr. Roesle had saved up, dwindled when interest rates fell. He had spent several years raising his grandchildren after a daughter-in-law was killed in an automobile accident, but he went back to work, cleaning area houses with a partner until four years ago.
Mr. Roesle liked to fish in the Chesapeake Bay, although he didn't get the chance to do so very often.
What he did more often was cook for friends and family, because he loved seeing people enjoying themselves. He was also a voracious reader of history and poetry.
His first marriage to Anita Roesle ended in divorce. His second marriage to LaVerne Hafenrichter also ended in divorce.
Survivors include two sons from his second marriage, Paul Roesle of Silver Spring and Karl Roesle of Takoma Park; a sister; and three grandchildren.