Ralph DeRose of Secaucus, a lawyer, former state senator and twice New Jersey gubernatorial candidate, died Wednesday December 21, 2011 at the age of 83.
Mr. DeRose was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1928. He completed his undergraduate studies at Rutgers University and became a graduate of Rutgers Law School.
He began his Law practice in Newark NJ, in the 1960’s, ultimately moving to Nutley, New Jersey, where he was the senior partner of the firm DeRose & Rinaldi.
He later became Vice President and General Counsel of Little Ferry-based Major Products Co., a global manufacturer of soup base, gravy and seasonings. The company was founded by Mr. DeRose’s late brother, Daniel DeRose Jr.
Mr. DeRose was a member of the board of trustees for Columbus Hospital, in Newark, New Jersey and served as President of the Board.
Mr. DeRose was also active in New Jersey politics through the 1960’s and ’70’s, eventually representing Essex County in the State Senate, where he strongly opposed the creation of a state income tax. He later ran in the 1973 and 1977 New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial primaries.
In 1974, Governor Brendan Byrne appointed Mr. DeRose the New Jersey Commissioner for the Bi-State Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, an interstate government regulatory agency, having the mission of investigating and policing criminal activity in the Port District. He also returned to serve as the commission’s secretary, in the early 1980’s.
In 1981, Mr. DeRose led “Democrats for Kean”, supporting the Thomas Kean to the closest election victory in New Jersey history, by 1, 791 votes. Governor Kean went on to become so popular that he was re-elected by the largest victory margin in the history of New Jersey’s races for governor.