Racine Alderman Ray DeHahn dead at age 80

Ray DeHahn dead at age 80
Ray DeHahn

RACINE – Ray DeHahn, a man who served on the Racine County Board and Common Council for 40 years, died early Thursday morning.

DeHahn, 80, served as the Racine alderman of the 7th District. His public service as Racine County Board Supervisor included 16 terms starting in 1972 and ending in 2004. He was also quick to remind people of his humble beginnings as a city bus driver.

Those who knew DeHahn spoke of his dedication to public service and the pride he had for his family. They describe him as selfless and guided by love.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason issued the following statement:

“Today, the City of Racine mourns the loss of an incredibly dedicated public servant, father, and husband. Alderman Ray DeHahn spent more than 40 years serving the community he loved – as a bus driver, a county board supervisor, an alderman, and in so many other ways. This is a somber moment for us all. Just last night, Alderman DeHahn engaged in a lively debate during a Committee of the Whole meeting. It is hard to believe he is gone.”

David Maack, director of Emergency Management for Racine County, posted on Facebook that he worked with Ray when he served as a Racine County Board Supervisor and as an alderman for Racine Common Council.

“Ray was always upbeat and positive, a smile on his face. Over the past several years, Amy and I would run into him at one of our local restaurants. He was proud of his children, his grandchildren, and his civic service. Godspeed Ray,” Maack said.

Trevor Jung, who serves on the Plan Commission, said Ray committed his entire life to the community. But he also had a sense of humor.

“The last council meeting I attended, Ray looked into the audience and gave me a thumbs up and a wink. He proceeded to make funny faces to make me laugh. I did. That was the last moment we shared,” Jung said.

No funeral plans have been announced.

Mason mentioned that he will always remember Ray’s invaluable historical perspective, no-nonsense approach to governing, and wit.

“As his family works through this difficult time, we must keep them in our thoughts and prayers, and offer to support them as best we can. His passing is truly a loss for all of us and he will be sorely missed,” he said.

Jason Meekma recalls being in a closed session meeting on Wednesday night with Ray. He had an eagerness about the topic and was excited about the direction the City was heading.

“He was good old Ray,” Meekma said. “He was straightforward and thoughtful. You never expected that things would turn for the worse… it’s heartbreaking.”

DeHahn played a significant role in shaping Meekma’s political career. DeHahn often shared his experience and gave advice to Meekma.

“He brought compassion, but he was also stern and firm in his perspective,” Meekma said. “It was useful for me and he will be dearly missed.”

No details have been released surrounding how DeHahn died. But we will update the story when we have more information.

Question: What are some of your memories about Ray DeHahn.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.