September 12, 2012 - A head for numbers and a wicked sense of humor.
That's how many folks will remember Addison Township Treasurer Dan Alberty, who passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 after a long and valiant battle with cancer He was 68 years old.
"You could ask him math questions and he'd have the answer within seconds," said township Supervisor Bruce Pearson. "He could tell me how much was in every account without looking. He could tell me where all the money was . . . At meetings, I always called him 'my numbers man.'"
Pearson recalled when he first took office in 2008, he was driving around with Alberty in the treasurer's old Buick and it felt like he was in the 1988 movie "Rain Man."
"He was babbling numbers left and right," Pearson said. "I guess that made me Tom Cruise and he's Dustin Hoffman. I was just amazed at how much knowledge he had and I relied on him tremendously for that."
But Alberty, who graduated from the Detroit Institute of Technology, wasn't the stereotypical straight-laced, no-nonsense financial type. He loved to joke around and had a biting wit.
"The one thing we will really miss is his humor," Pearson said. "He had a one-of-a-kind sense of humor and you couldn't help but laugh at the stuff he came up with. It was out there in left field sometimes and you had to say, 'How in the world did he come up with that?' He could make light of any situation and you had to like him for that."
A resident of Addison for 29 years, Alberty had served as township treasurer since November 2000. Last month, he won the primary election as a Republican and would have been elected to his fourth consecutive four-year term in November, given he faced no Democratic opponents.
"Dan did a great job as treasurer," said Addison Township Clerk Pauline Bennett. "He had a way with numbers and accounts – it was his passion. He took everything in stride, no matter what was thrown at him."
Bennett noted that Alberty "touched many of our lives," especially through his humor.
"As everyone lined up to pay their taxes, Dan would have a joke or two ready for them," she said. "We will miss Dan as a treasurer and a friend."
Alberty also proudly served as a board member and the treasurer for the North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA).
NOTA provides free rides via vans and buses to folks who cannot drive themselves – due to age, disability, medical condition or economic status – and live in Oxford, Addison and Orion townships along with their respective villages.
"Dan was more than a board member of NOTA; he really helped establish and maintain NOTA from its inception," said NOTA Director Lynn Gustafson. "He helped with the finances when things got rough.
"He was a wise man with a big heart who really, truly cared to make a difference. Dan was always the board member I could turn to for help and advice. He'll be greatly missed."
Prior to being elected to the township board, Alberty spent 31 years working for the federal government's Defense Contract Audit Agency, where he won numerous awards for his expertise, hard work and efficiency.
When he retired, Alberty decided it was time to serve the government closest to home. Ray Terry, who served as treasurer for 20 years and retired in 2000, urged Alberty to run.
Public service was in Alberty's blood as his grandfather, Jessie, had been the treasurer and sheriff for Davies County in Indiana. Alberty was born in Washington, Indiana.
When Alberty moved to Addison – where he built his house along Lakeville Lake from the ground up with help from family and friends – he got his first taste of local government through his appointment to the Zoning Board of Appeals. He wanted to serve because he believed the local ordinances at the time did not fit the community for which they were adopted.
Alberty's community service wasn't just limited to government positions. While living in Troy, he was an active leader in the Boy Scouts of America. He later was a 4-H Project Leader and was one of many parents involved in the creation of the Macomb County Horse Grounds on 29 Mile Road in Ray Township.
Outside of accounting, Dan was quite knowledgeable about woodworking, computers and automobiles.
A solid and loving husband, father and grandfather, there was nothing more important to Alberty than his family.
He indulged his wife and daughter in their love of horses and dogs, but always insisted to others that he had no dogs or horses. That love was passed on to his granddaughters with his encouragement.
Alberty is survived by his wife of nearly 45 years, Kathleen; son David; daughter April; two grandchildren Miranda and Lauren; and mother Helen. He's preceded in death by his father Arthur and brother William.
Funeral services took place on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 at SS. John & Paul Parish in Washington Township. Arrangements by the Henry W. Malburg Funeral Home in Romeo.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.