Bill Robertson passes away - – Rockford’s News Leader

Former Rockford Fire Chief and alderman Bill Robertson passes away

Chief Bill Robertson Chief Bill Robertson
Flags lowered to half staff across Rockford to mourn Robertson's passing Flags lowered to half staff across Rockford to mourn Robertson's passing
Robertson (left) Robertson (left)

A former Rockford Fire Chief, turned Rockford Alderman loses his battle with cancer. Bill Robertson will be missed by those he worked alongside for decades.

Rockford native Bill Robertson began his time with the fire department in 1972. He worked his way up through the ranks, eventually becoming fire chief.

Division Chief Greg Castronovo says, "I was fortunate to work with him as an investigator, he was an advocate for fire safety, and he lead the department for 17 years."

Castronovo adds, Bill Robertson was a strong, hands on leader. "He liked to participate. He didn't like to sit back."

And he had knack for technology. "He had the ability to move with the times and we were never behind the eight ball. He was always ahead of it and that's great for an organization of our size."

Not only did he help the fire department stay up to date on their equipment, he also helped to modernize the emergency dispatch system in Winnebago County in the late 1990's as the 911 board chairman.

Winnebago County Police Department's Sheriff Richard Meyers says, "We enjoy one of the best, I think, communication systems in the Midwest and you have to lay a lot of that the table of Bill Robertson. That's all due to his leadership and his innovation."

When Robertson retired from the fire department, his service to the city was not over. It came as no surprise to Robertson's friends and  fellow fire staff when he ran, and won the spot for Rockford's 14th ward alderman.

"If his health hadn't deteriorated in the last few years, I believe he would have run again as an alderman," says Bill Beaman, retired Rockford Fire Division Chief. Beaman says he not only lost a long time co-worker, but also a friend. "We meet every few weeks we meet for lunch and talk about politics. that's the part of him I'm gonna miss is his perspective on politics, locally and nationally."

Flags at Rockford fire stations, the Public Safety Building, And at City Hall are all at half staff to mourn Bill Robertson's passing.

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