A good friend in his personal life, a real estate king in his professional life, and an unpredictable character at all times. Larry Rowe, long a pillar of South Florida’s business and social scenes, has died. He was 80. 

Rowe was born in Columbus, Ohio, where he had an active childhood, playing on his high school’s golf and tennis teams and raising his voice in Glee Club. After attending Ohio State University for Arts and Business, he made his way to Chicago. In 1964, while working in sales, he met a talented designer, Niko Gianopoulos*. They spent 31 years together until Gianopoulos’s death in 1995.

In the late ‘60s Rowe and Gianopoulos decided they needed a break from the cold winds of Chicago and looked for a place in Florida, and eventually found a condo in Fort Lauderdale. Rowe decided to get his real estate license and in 1973 formed his own company and hired dozens of agents. He quickly became the go-to guy for real estate in the gay community.

Elliot Rosemon moved down from Pennsylvania and met Rowe in 1986 while buying a house. Rosemon said Rowe and Gianopoulos quickly brought them into their group of friends. “They were very gracious. Larry was a character. He enjoyed having fun and having some cocktails.”

Ken Evans is another friend who met Rowe long ago but his memories are vivid. Evans once owned a little dive bar where Rowe would drive up in his Rolls Royce and come in to support his friend’s business. “He always had a smile on his face,” Evans said.

Rowe was everywhere in the community.

Over his decades in South Florida, he served on the Board of Directors of the Fort Lauderdale Realtors Association, the board of the Florida Realtors Association, and was a founding member of the Charitable Association of the Fort Lauderdale Realtors Association. At one time he was president of the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale South and served on the board of the Stranahan Museum.

He was also an active member of Fort Lauderdale Prime Gentlemen, inducted into their Hall of Fame as Mr. December. Happy and boisterous, Henry Penas, the group’s president, said you could always tell when Rowe was around. During their mixers on Zoom he was often asked to turn down his microphone. 

*SFGN could not confirm the spelling of Niko Gianopoulos’s name.