Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-26) passed away late last night in the State House after a long legislative voting session that went into the night. He had reportedly been feeling ill earlier in the evening.
DeCroce, at age 75, had been in the Assembly since 1989 after serving as a Morris County Freeholder from 1984 to 1988. Prior to his tenure as Republican Leader, DeCroce served as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly from 1994 to 2001.
Senate GOP Leader Tom Kean, Jr. had this reaction to the news of DeCroce’s passing,
The New Jersey Legislature lost one of its own today, and with him, a great leader and public servant.
Assemblyman Alex DeCroce passed away while serving the people of New Jersey shortly after adjournment of the 2010-2011 legislative session.
Alex was a true leader for the Republican caucus in the Assembly, and was loved and respected by legislators of both chambers, on both sides of the aisle. He worked tirelessly for his constituents, for our party, and to make sure this institution never lost sight of who it was supposed to serve- the people of New Jersey.
I knew Alex DeCroce long before my first term in the Assembly, and we forged a special bond as leaders of our respective caucuses. It is hard to believe we will start a new legislative session without his wit, charm, and energy.
My deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to his wife, Betty Lou, and the entire DeCroce family, as well as the Assembly Republican members and staff who fought alongside Alex until his last minutes on Earth to make our state a better place.
Alex DeCroce will leave a huge void in this institution and in the hearts of the loved ones he leaves behind.
Reportedly, once word reached Governor Christie, he made his way to the State House immediately, not even sparing a moment to get dressed. The Governor was seen speaking with members of both caucuses in a Notre Dame t-shirt, no socks, and loafers with a suit jacket on top. Christie said,
I have known Alex for nearly twenty years. He helped to give me my start in elective politics in Morris County in 1993. He was one of the most kind, considerate and trustworthy people I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was an enormously accomplished legislator and a tremendous servant to the people of New Jersey. Mary Pat and I offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Department of Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner Betty Lou De Croce, and to Alex’s entire family. This is an enormous loss for our state and for me personally.
During the brief time I spent working in the state house last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Leader DeCroce on a number of occasions and watching his work as a leader. Assemblyman DeCroce was always affable no matter what the issue of the day, and always exhibited the demeanor of a legislator worthy of his leadership position. I often found myself impressed during caucus meetings when DeCroce would easily wrangle or rally a Republican caucus that may not have always agreed on key issues when heading into an important vote or a big announcement from the Governor’s office. Alex DeCroce’s leadership will be sorely missed in the Assembly and across New Jersey.
I know that I can speak for everyone at Save Jersey when I say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Assemblyman DeCroce in this time of sadness.
Update: Save Jersey has just received a statement from Assemblyman Jay Webber who served the 26th district with Leader DeCroce.
Today I mourn with deep sadness the loss of my friend and colleague Assemblyman Alex DeCroce. Alex was a tireless public servant who cared deeply for our great State, Morris County, and his beloved hometown of Parsippany. Over a career of public service spanning five decades, Alex displayed an extraordinary dignity and commitment to his constituents that was an example for everyone in public life. Alex was generous, compassionate, and smart, and those gifts and more allowed him to be a very effective and successful legislator. Quite simply, Alex DeCroce has left New Jersey a better place than he found it. So even as I grieve with and for his beloved wife BettyLou over Alex’s passing, I can’t help but celebrate his life, and be grateful and encouraged that I have been blessed to count Alex DeCroce as a mentor, leader, and friend.
Update 2: Statements from both Assemblyman Bramnick and Senator O’Toole:
I am deeply saddened by the shocking and painful loss of Leader DeCroce. Alex became a close personal friend over the years and I spent many hours by his side. He was a model statesman who led our caucus with grace and integrity. Alex was a mentor to many of us, and his wisdom and kindness made this state a better place. Our thoughts and prayers are with Betty Lou and the entire DeCroce family. We have lost one of our most dedicated public servants.
I am truly saddened to learn that my friend and mentor Alex DeCroce passed away last night. He truly loved New Jersey and from an early age dedicated his energy, his intellect and his spirit to serving the people of this State. I learned a lot on how to be an effective legislator, under Alex’s tutelage, during my tenure in the General Assembly as part of his leadership team. My thoughts and prayers are with Alex’s family and those he served with in the Legislature. I considered him a role model for public service. His work for his constituents and all the residents of this state left New Jersey a better place. Alex will be sorely missed by all who knew and respected him.
Update 3: Rumana statement,
Words cannot express the utter shock and sadness at the sudden passing of Leader DeCroce. Alex was, first and foremost, a loving, kind and generous family man. As a legislator, he fought for what he believed in, but he was always the ultimate gentleman. For me personally, I have lost a trusted friend. The sting of his passing will be felt for a very long time by our caucus and all those who knew and loved him. I extend my heartfelt condolences to his wife, Betty Lou, and his family.
Update 4: Joint statement of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Assemblyman Greenwald
The Assembly and the state of New Jersey has been struck by a terrible and shocking loss.
Alex DeCroce was a friend, colleague and leader.
He was a dedicated public servant.
He was a true New Jerseyan.
He was always someone ready with a handshake and a laugh, no matter the circumstance, and his devotion to the people of New Jersey was unwavering.
The Assembly has lost one of its great institutions.
His absence will never be filled.
We are saddened beyond words. We grieve his loss and know that the prayers and condolences of the entire New Jersey General Assembly are with his friends and family.
Update 5: Statements from Assemblyman O’Scanlon, Senator Kyrillos, Assemblyman Brown, Assemblyman Amodeo, and Former Assemblyman Vince Polistina
Words cannot express the sadness we all feel over the loss of Alex. He was a great husband and father, and caring brother who loved his family. His energy and enthusiasm for serving the public were qualities that everyone admired. Alex was a tireless worker and could have retired at anytime, but loved being a legislator and helping others. It is fitting that he passed away in the State House doing what he loved.
Alex led by example and always put others before himself. He is someone who can never be replaced. His friendship is something that I will always cherish. New Jersey has lost a great legislator and an even better person.
My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Betty Lou, his children and entire family.
Alex DeCroce was my friend with whom I served for over twenty years in the legislature. Words cannot adequately express the sorrow we all feel today, nor our condolences to Betty Lou and the DeCroce family. May Alex rest in peace and his legacy never be forgotten in the halls of the State House.
I am saddened by the death of Alex DeCroce. One solace in the grief of his passing is that we will always have his example. As one the state’s leading elder statesmen, Alex set a high standard for public service and decorum. The General Assembly is a better place because he was a dedicated member to the institution and, most importantly, committed to the people of this state. I was looking forward to serving with him and benefitting from his guidance. On behalf of my family, I extend our condolences and prayers to his family.
Amodeo and Polistina,
Alex’s sudden passing is a shock to both of us. Our prayers go out to his wife Betty Lou and his children and grandchildren.
Alex cared deeply for the people of New Jersey and fought passionately for the ideals that he knew would improve the lives of everyone. The realities of the Legislative politics certainly challenged his efforts as our caucus leader, but he kept rallying the troops and kept fighting for what he believed in. He would not give up.
Through his efforts, we were able to know Alex DeCroce, the man. Alex was an authentic gentleman who kept his character intact in an all-too often ungentle profession. He was generous to us with his time and advice. Alex was our mentor, our colleague, and our friend. We miss him deeply.