Jane E. DeRosa, October 14, 1926 - August 12, 2019

Jane E. DeRosa
Jane E. DeRosa
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After 72 years spent sharing their great love, John and Jane DeRosa could not be separated, even by death. On July 30th, 2019, John H. DeRosa passed away, and exactly two weeks later on August 12th, 2019, Jane Elizabeth DeRosa passed away as well.

Jane Elizabeth DeRosa (née. Herbst) was born on October 14th, 1926 to Frank and Kitty Herbst in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Seven months later, on June 30th, 1927, John H. DeRosa (née. Genaro DeRosa) was also born in Chicago Heights, to Tony and Jenny DeRosa. The two fell in love while attending Bloom Township High School where they were both actively involved in “The Morgue”, a social club hosted on Friday nights at their high school. 

After graduating in 1945, John served in the army, playing clarinet in the 392nd Camp Lee Post Band and tenor saxophone in the 392nd Big Band. Time and distance did little to stop their affection for one another. After John was discharged, the two got married on August 9, 1947 at St. Agnes Church in Chicago Heights. 

The couple was blessed with five children, and Jane, a devoted mother, stayed home to raise them. Despite having her hands full as a parent, Jane was also very active in the Chicago Heights community. Jane volunteered monitoring the playground at a nearby school, and she also was a Troop Leader for her daughter’s Brownie Troop for several years. In addition, Jane also served on the St. Ann’s Church Altar & Rosary Society, the Chicago Heights Women’s Club, and other local organizations. 

Meanwhile, John first worked at the Armour Agricultural Chemical Company as district accounting manager. In 1972, John went into banking and served as a Senior Vice President in charge of lending for the American National Bank of Chicago Heights. John was also a very active member of the community, and he served on the board of directors for the Chicago Heights Community Fund, the Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army, St. James Hospital, Rotary Club, St. Ann Finance  Committee, Chicago Heights Builder’s Club, and the Chicago Heights Country Club. 

In 1983, John and Jane purchased the Burger King franchise in Eau Claire, and with the help of family members, John managed them remotely from Chicago Heights. By 1987, their involvement in Burger King had grown, and they now had four new locations in the area. Due to the expansion and the desire to be closer to family, John and Jane relocated to Eau Claire. During their Burger King years, John and Jane did more than just sell cheeseburgers – they hosted an annual Christmas breakfast for those in need of food and camaraderie during the holiday season. Over the course of twelve years, they served approximately 5,000 community members with the help of volunteers. In 2008, they decided to sell their shares and retire from the business, turning it over to one of their children. 

Before and during their retirement, John and Jane were also very involved in the Eau Claire community. Most notably, John served on the Board of Directors for Sacred Heart Hospital, where he started the Sacred Heart Classic, an annual golf outing and fundraiser for the hospital that has earned more than 1.25 million dollars since it began. John frequently noted it as one of his greatest achievements in life, and coincidentally, he passed away the same day as the event. Jane served as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, and was a frequent donor to many charitable causes. The two also spent considerable time as involved grandparents, treasuring their time with their family. They also continued to travel, especially to Florida and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as spending time at their lake house in Hayward. 

In 2014, John and Jane were given the news that Jane had dementia, which had previously claimed the lives of both her sister, Evelyn, and her brother, Dick. Despite the challenges he faced, John dedicated himself to caring for her in their home. However, one year ago when John found out that he had congestive heart failure, he and Jane were able to find support in their family and beloved caregivers, and the two continued to live in their home together. 

Despite their individual conditions, John and Jane both truly stood by their wedding vows to love each other “in sickness and in health, till death do us part”. Despite her advanced dementia, Jane always was trying to help John, pushing him around their home in his wheelchair, telling him where things were when he lost his eyesight, and spending every moment she could right next to her beloved. John similarly cared for Jane, and one of the few fears he had surrounding death was not being there for her.

As they signed each card they gave to the other, John and Jane truly loved each other “Body and Soul”. When John passed away on July 30th, Jane continued a steep decline that had begun with and paralleled John’s worsening condition. Just three days after the couple’s 72nd wedding anniversary, Jane joined John in heaven. 

John and Jane are survived by their children: AJ (Carole-Malia) DeRosa of Wilson, WY, Mary Ann Wold of Eau Claire, WI, and John R. DeRosa of Fall Creek, WI. They are also survived by six grandchildren and four great grandchildren: David (Andrea) DeRosa of Los Angeles, CA with children Luca and Sophia, Jenna (Mike) Ellis of Long Beach, CA with children Max and Sam, Steven (Kali) Kolle of Eau Claire, WI, Kari (Travis) Swirth of Janesville, WI, Tony (Megan) DeRosa of Eau Claire, WI, and Sara DeRosa of Minneapolis, MN. In addition to their immediate family, they will also be sorely missed by many beloved friends, extended family members, and caregivers. 

The couple will be honored with joint services beginning with a visitation on Friday August 23rd, from 4-7 PM at Hulke Family Funeral Home. The funeral will be held at Immaculate Conception Church on Saturday August 24th at 10:30 AM followed by a luncheon at the church. There will be no visitation at the church on Saturday morning prior to the service.  Finally, the family invites family and friends to John and Jane’s home 2-9 PM on August 24th following the funeral for a celebration of life. Interment will take place at a later date in the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner, WI. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Sacred Heart Hospital or the Alzheimer's Association. Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Condolences

  1. TERRI HUGHES September 30, 2019

    I just came across... My heart is saddened, but at the same time in awe. John and Jane will be greatly missed, but somehow I am comforted knowing they are together... Still. Love and hugs to the wonderful family they left behind. They were one of the amazing love stories! And great people! I am proud to have known and spent time with them.

  2. Gary Bartlett August 22, 2019

    I met John and Jane during the negotiations with their son Mike when we were preparing to add a Burger King store to the food offerings at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. I was the Director of University Centers and their Burger King franchise had won the bidding process to be the first fast food franchise to be located in a Student Center in the state of Wisconsin. From the moment I met them, I knew our relationship would be very positive. They were enamored with the opportunity to be part of the university and could not wait to start selling burgers.

    The state of Wisconsin has rigid regulations regarding food service infrastructure and I can still remember John telling me that they were having to do much more to meet the state's requirements than they would if constructing a stand-a-lone store. When the venting system was being installed, he told me that if they ever lost the bid for fast food, he would be tearing out the vent system as it was costing him way more than anticipated. One of the things unique about the Burger King operation at Davies Center was that the successful bidder was also required to have a salad bar and also different sandwich options. Mike and John were able to secure permission from Burger King Corporate to meet these requirements and during the many years which Burger King was in Davies, the DeRosa's used this unit as an experimental operation for all of Burger King with different food ideas. Opening night for the franchise was something special. John, MIke, and myself all rented tuxedos for the event and our wives were also dressed to the hilt. We wanted this opener to be a night to remember. After the speeches and ribbon cutting--which included the University Chanellor, all in attendance got free food and everyone left having had a great time.

    We opened in the Fall and that same year, the DeRosa's used the university facility as the initial home for hosting the free Christmas Breakfast for anyone who wished to have a hot meal. We served many families that day and the tradition grew larger each year while they had the university franchise. The entire DeRosa family and their many close friends did all the cooking, welcoming, serving and cleaning. It was a joyous event and was looked forward to by all in need of a hot Christmas breakfast.

    John and Jane became great friends with my wife and I. They were more like parents to us than business associates. John was a great musician and played regularly with several dance bands. We would go to where the band was playing and often sit with Jane and enjoy the music and the dancing. They often had us over for a friendly visit or meal.

    We have now been retired for 13 years and live in Yuma, Arizona. Our paths did not cross again, but I always knew what they were up to. I know they developed countless friends and business associates as you could not help but love them. They were old school---- a handshake was as good as a contract and when they told you they loved you, you knew they meant it. They will be missed, but I am so pleased they are now together in heaven where there is no more pain both physically and emotionally. Their hearts and bodies are one and somewhere John is playing that saxophone or clarinet very beautifully.

    Gary Bartlett--Business Associate but more importantly Friend of Both

  3. Benjamin Damiani August 19, 2019

    To all of the Derosa clan.........I have(and so does our entire family) so many fond memories of your parents, and the close relationship we shared with your family, that this is a difficult condolence to send. Our parents were close for so many years, our families had vacationed together, and of course the music lessons in the basement with your dad. Friendships and family relationships like this are rare and we are so grateful to have shared these times with you and your parents. We will forever have the memories of your family and parents in our memory!

  4. Ron and Mary Keezer August 19, 2019

    So sorry to see the two of them leave us. They were the nicest people. Many gigs with John...always fun. He was a great musician. We will miss them greatly. Please accept our sincere condolences.

  5. MARTY GREEN August 18, 2019

    I knew John as a Fine MUSICIAN and LIFELONG CUB FAN {he got to see Them Win The WORLD SERIEs
    after So Many Years,

    Great Guy with Smile Everytime we met

    Marty Green another Ex Chicagoi Guy

  6. Greg Selting August 15, 2019

    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Prayers and thoughts to the entire family during this hard time.