Daily Herald sales executive drowns trying to save 2 kids from Gulf of Mexico in Florida

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A suburban father and husband is being remembered for his heroic actions while he was on vacation in Florida.

Pete Rosengren rushed into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico to save two children who were struggling off the northwest Florida coast.

"He was the perfect definition of a best friend one could ask for," said Joe Shaker, Rosengren's best friend and business partner. "He always put others before himself."

Rosengren, 42, lost his life Sunday as he was attempting to save children struggling in the dangerous waters off Florida's Miramar Beach. Shaker said the Batavia father died trying to save another family's children.

"It doesn't surprise me that it wasn't his children," he said. "And I guarantee you there was zero hesitation, he was going to do what was, had to be done, and save those kids. He's a true hero."

SEE ALSO | Fla. swim instructor charged after boy nearly drowns

The conditions on the Gulf of Mexico were so rough Sunday morning that South Walton officials closed the waters to the public. Shaker said Rosengren and his family had arrived in Florida just days ago for what was supposed to be a week of fun.

"Any time you would spend time with Pete, he would always love to share stories about him and coaching his boys and trips that he's planning with his wife," Shaker said. "Family was everything to Pete."

Rosengren was the Vice President of Sales and Digital Strategies for the Daily Herald Media Group. Shaker said he was passionate about his work and helping others, but it was always family first.

"The love of his life was his wife and his three boys," Shaker said.

Rosengren's wife told the Daily Herald that Monday was the couple's 18th wedding anniversary. Tragically, instead of celebrating, she spent the day planning his return home to Illinois.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.