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Dresch dead after long battle with cancer


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Dresch dead after long battle with cancer

Former state rep dies at home Sunday

By GARRETT NEESE, DMG Writer

HANCOCK — Stephen Dresch, a former state legislator, Michigan Tech University dean and forensic analyst, died of lung cancer Sunday at his home. He was 62.

Dresch enjoyed a long and varied career, culminating in the indictment of a former New York City FBI agent accused of aiding a Mafia informant with murder.

While dean of the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Tech, he worked to expose activities at the Michigan Tech Ventures, an economic revitalization group that had become a hotbed of embezzlement.

“He was a very bright individual ... he was very smart and very ethical,” said Terry Monson, a professor at Michigan Tech. “That’s the story of his life.”

As dean, Dresch hired Christa Walck as associate professor. Walck, now dean of the school herself, looks back on that time fondly.

“He was a very intellectually engaged, thought-provoking man,” she said. “We were fortunate to have someone of his intellectual caliber at Michigan Tech and the School of Business and Economics. Things were never boring when he was around.”

Walck credited Dresch with raising the intellectual standard of the school, broadening the teaching emphasis of the school to include more research. He also fostered a higher level of debate at the school through everything from symposiums with visiting faculty from Eastern Europe to routine conversations.

“I’ll always remember seeing him in his office ... his feet propped up and having an intellectual conversation about the state of the world and economic issues,” she said.

Dresch served one term as state representative, winning his seat in 1990. In a rarity for the Democratic-leaning district, he won as a Republican.

State Rep. Rich Brown, D, Bessemer, who now holds Dresch’s former seat, praised Dresch’s tenacity.

“He was a fighter for the folks he felt that had been wronged by the government ... he never wavered in his desire to make the things he felt were wrong right,” he said.

As an example, Brown cited Dresch’s legal work with Richard and Nancy Delene, a Baraga County couple who fought the Department of Natural Resources over their creation of wetlands on their property.

He also created his own firm, Forensic Intelligence International, LLC, in which he pursued a variety of cases.

Last year, he tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a stash of weapons hidden by Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols in Harington, Kan. The tip came via mob informant Gregory Scarpa Jr.

His most recent high-profile case was that of R. Lindley DeVecchio, an FBI agent accused of providing information to Scarpa’s father that helped him commit four murders.

“I should wait for a conviction to notch my gun, but, given that it is unlikely to occur within the next few months, I think I’ll do it now,” he told the Gazette in April.

Walck said Dresch’s death would be a real loss for the community.

“It’s tragic that someone of his intellectual caliber died so young,” she said.

Garrett Neese can be reached at gneese@mininggazette.com.

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