Iron County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis DeRosso, 78, of Oma, Wis ., who also served as county administrator, died on Monday.
A lifelong resident of Iron County, DeRosso devoted much of his life to make the area better, including donating his time to many civic organizations. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Ironwood and the Hurley and Mercer Lions clubs, among other organizations.
He worked at the Iron County Forestry Department, retiring as county forester. However, retirement didn’t slow him down, has he owned an operated Pine Lake Logging for 20 years.
After retiring from the logging business, DeRosso started a career in politics, being elected to the county board in April 2004.
While on the board, DeRosso worked side-by-side with his fellow supervisors to make Iron County a great place to live and work, according to county clerk Mike Saari.
“He was always good to me,” Saari said, “and he was great to Iron County.”
Soon, DeRosso rose through the ranks, becoming county chairman in 2006. He remained chairman until his death.
“Dennis was a good guy,” said James Lambert, a supervisor from Mercer. “He was into the county 100 percent. He liked his work.”
He also served as chairman of the town of Oma.
“Before, the county chairman job was part-time, but with Dennis, he was always there to answer any questions that people had,” Lambert said. “His door was always open. He was a hard worker for this county, and he is going to be sorely missed.”
Some of his accomplishments while on the board included campaigning to open a mine in Iron County, increasing timber sales and serving county residents on a day-to-day basis.
County board member Tom Innes, of Gurney, appreciated DeRosso’s leadership.
“One thing about Dennis, he always let you know how he felt about issues. He would step back, listen and take the best path forward. He always had the Iron County taxpayers in mind.”
DeRosso’s leadership led to action, according to Innes.
“Through his leadership, Iron County was able to update much of its infrastructure and get many projects done, including Schomberg Park and Saxon Harbor. Also, our timber and stumpage sales are very substantial, and he did all of this despite budget cuts from the state and much of the tax levy being frozen across the county,” Innes said. “I learned a lot from him, his demeanor and the way he conducted himself.”
DeRosso’s family issued a statement which said, “Dennis was a wonderful provider for his family. He worked hard his whole life. He will be sadly missed by his wife, Irene, their children, grandchildren and families.
“He enjoyed serving the people of the town of Oma and Iron County residents. As county chairman, he was never afraid to step up to a challenge, and he will be greatly missed.”
The funeral is today at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hurley, with the Rev. Frank Kordek OFM, celebrant.
A visitation takes place at 9:30 a.m ., and luncheon follows the service at the Liberty Bell Chalet in Hurley.