Rare county coroner’s race to be on Aug. 14 ballot

Republican primary contest between incumbent Deppisch and challenger Dane is first in 30 years

Tim Deppisch (left) and Sharon Dane
Ozaukee Press staff

For the first time in 30 years, Ozaukee County voters will find a race for coroner on their ballot.

Incumbent Coroner Tim Deppisch is being challenged by Sharon Dane in the Republican primary on the Aug. 14 ballot.

The winner of the election will, in effect, be the coroner since there is no Democratic candidate on the November ballot.

Early voting and registration are occurring, with residents able to cast ballots at their local municipal clerk’s office through 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. Proof of residence is required for registration, and a photo ID for both.

The only local race on the ballot is for coroner, a position that doesn’t typically draw competition.

Deppisch, 66, of 8100 W. Hillview Dr., Mequon, has been coroner since 2015 and previously served as the county’s chief deputy coroner for 25 years.

“I think I’m doing  a good job,” Deppisch said. “I’ve been doing it for a number of years, and I’m very competent at what I do. It’s a job that’s a lot more involved than people realize.”

The coroner is on call around the clock and investigates whenever anyone dies due to an injury and orders autopsies in suspicious death cases. The coroner also works with families who need to identify bodies, signs off on cremation permits and transports bodies to the morgue.

Deppisch, who previously was a Mequon firefighter and emergency medical technician, said he worked to organize a team of people to handle the transport duties, a challenging duty given the nature of the job.

“It was a big task,” he said.

Dane, 45, of 1657 Sherwood Dr., Cedarburg, worked as a hospice nurse for 25 years and is currently a registered nurse administrator for an assisted living facility in Plymouth.

 Through the years, she said, she’s had a number of contacts with coroners and medical examiners, and “it often didn’t go well for the families.” After one particularly bad night 15 years ago, she said, she vowed that when it was possible for her to run for coroner, she would.

“This is the time,” she said. “They (the families) need the situation to be treated with compassion. I’ve always been comfortable with end-of-life care.”

Dane, who said her bad experiences didn’t occur in Ozaukee County, said she has the needed compassion and empathy to serve as coroner, and added that her experience as a nurse would be helpful in the role.

“I don’t have anything negative to say about him (Deppisch) or the office,” she said. “I’m not campaigning against him. I’m campaigning for myself.”

Dane, the single mother of two, earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Boston College in 1994. She has not run for political office before. 

Deppisch, a Homestead High School graduate who attended firefighting school through Milwaukee Area Technical College, is married and the father of three children. He has not run for any other political office.

The coroner will be paid $40,355 annually next year.

The only other local offices on the Aug. 14 ballot are uncontested, with Sheriff Jim Johnson and Clerk of Courts Mary Lou Mueller running for re-election.

Races on the ballot will determine the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and secretary of state and treasurer; the Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor and state Assembly District 23; and the Republican candidatefor U.S. senator.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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