Richard W. DeKorte
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Born in Paterson, New Jersey to John I. and Henrietta DeKorte, Richard W. DeKorte was educated at Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School. DeKorte specialized in Estate Law at the Paterson law firm of Jeffer, Walter, Tierney, DeKorte, Hopkinson & Vogel. He served as a mayor and councilman in his hometown of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
DeKorte was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1967 and later elected majority leader with Thomas Kean as speaker. In 1970, DeKorte was appointed counsel to Governor of New Jersey William T. Cahill
When Cahill lost his bid for re-election as Governor (due to the Watergate scandal's nationwide impact on Republicans), there were "Transition Meetings" where DeKorte assisted in bringing the governor-elect, Brendan Byrne up to speed. It is said that Byrne was so impressed with the DeKorte during those meetings he made DeKorte Head of the New Jersey State Energy Office (or "Energy Czar" as he was called). DeKorte chaired the New Jersey's United States Bicentennial Commission.
On March 16, 1975, DeKorte died of cancer at his home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. During the time between DeKorte being diagnosed, and the time of his death he was visited by former-Governor Cahill, Governor Byrne, (via helicopter landing on nearby McBride Field, amazing neighborhood children) and many other respected members of the New Jersey political community.
The funeral in the gymnasium at the Most Blessed Sacrament School in Franklin Lakes drew an enormous crowd. Although his funeral was held at the school, he was not Roman Catholic. In addition to the state police escorting former Governor William Cahill and Governor Byrne, the Franklin Lakes Police Department was called to handle the colossal crowd.
DeKorte's widow Paulette Ramsey (She has remarried, but at the time of the funeral she was still Paulette DeKorte. She now serves on the Franklin Lakes Borough Council) received an overwhelming number of sympathy cards, flowers, and boxes full of letters from people she never even met.
After DeKorte's death in 1975, the headquarters of the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission (renamed as the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in 2000), which DeKorte created by sponsoring a piece of legislation, was named Richard W. DeKorte Park in his honor.