Hundreds of people fill a Rockford church to say a final goodbye to a longtime fire chief and alderman. Bill Robertson lived public service, from his years on the fire department to serving as an alderman, he spent decades doing things for others.
Robertson spent more than three decades with the Rockford Fire Department. He began his career in 1972 and rose to the rank of chief 1991 before he retired in June of 2008. In 2009, he was elected as a city alderman and continued working even while he battled bone cancer.
"He was a leader. He guided me along. He helped me and I watched him do that for everyone he met," says Alderman Carl Wasco.
"He was a personal mentor to me and that's what made me strive to want this position was his leadership and his attitude," says Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten.
In the last three years Robertson was often the expert opinion city leaders would seek out when it came to public safety.
"He was the voice of reason. He was very well educated as far as having his degree but also he was educated in how the city operated. He had been working there for 36 years. He had been the union president then also the fire chief for 17 years so he had a very good understanding of how city government worked, how the council worked and that was an insight that will be very difficult to replace," says Bergsten.
"So we are going to say goodbye to Bill. We will miss him. But I know all of us who have been friends of Bill's will never forget him," says Wasco.
After Robertson's ashes were carried into the fire truck for the final time he was driven to Arlington Memorial Park Cemetery in Rockford where he was laid to rest. Robertson was 66-years-old.
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