Posted Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The Morris County Freeholders today shared their shock and sadness over the death Monday night of Morris County Assemblyman Alex DeCroce.

“This is a terrible loss for the people of our county and our state,” said Freeholder Director William Chegwidden. “My freeholder colleagues and I send our sincere condolences to Alex’s wife, Betty Lou, and his entire family.”

DeCroce, a former Morris County Freeholder and the longest-serving member currently in the state Assembly, collapsed and died at the Statehouse in Trenton late Monday night.

“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth,” Chegwidden said, quoting the late New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. “If that’s the case, Alex’s rent was paid in full many times over. He was a dedicated public servant in the truest sense, who took pride in the constituent services he and his legislative staff provided.”

DeCroce, of Parsippany, was elected to the freeholder board in 1983 after serving as chairman and a member of the County College of Morris Board of Trustees for 10 years; a commissioner of the county’s Board of Taxation for one term; and chairman of the Morris County Board of Elections. He served on the freeholder board until he resigned in March 1989 to fill a vacancy in the Assembly.

“This is a huge loss for Morris County, Freeholder Margaret Nordstrom said. “Alex was a friend and mentor to all of us on the freeholder board.”

DeCroce was director of the freeholder board in 1986. During his tenure on the board he chaired the Human Services; Administration and Finance; and Education and Cultural committees.

Freeholder Ann Grossi, a fellow Parsippany resident, said she was shocked to learn of DeCroce’s passing.

“The lives that he has touched and his everlasting contributions are the cornerstone of his legacy,” Grossi said. “We have lost a friend and a tireless advocate, especially for County College of Morris. He will be missed.”

As a member of the Assembly representing the 26th District, DeCroce served as Deputy Speaker from 1994 to 2001, and as Assembly Republican Leader from 2003 until his death. He also served as chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee.