Ronald W. "Trooper" Rossi
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84 years of age, passed away peacefully on Wednesday January 13, 2021 with his family by his side. Ronald was born in Freeland, PA to the late Marino and Pearl (Bettine) Rossi. He attended Foster Township High School, and then enlisted in The United States Marine Corps in 1954. After his military service, he entered the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in 1960, and was a dedicated Trooper for twenty-nine years. Trooper Rossi was the Safety Education Officer, becoming a household name, after educating tens of thousands of school children in the Lehigh Valley. After retiring from The Pennsylvania State Police, Ronald was elected Lehigh County Sheriff and held that position for twenty-four years. Ronald was a devoted father. He and his son Christopher were often found supporting local teams at various sporting events. He always had a smile on his face and a warm, friendly greeting to follow. Sheriff Rossi was often seen running near the Court House on his lunch break. He loved his life in law enforcement and was dedicated to public service. Ron will be deeply missed by his family, which includes daughter Julie, wife of David Tonkay; son Christopher; Peggy Rossi who was a part of his life for many years; grandchildren, Gavin and Macey Tonkay; brothers Edward and Robert Rossi; predeceased by brothers Marino, Frances and Joseph, along with sister Marlene Swankowski.

Family, friends and the Law Enforcement community are invited to attend his Mass of Christian Burial celebrated by Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Wargo on Saturday January 23, 2021 at 11:00am in Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church 1879 Applewood Drive, Orefield, PA 18069. You may pay your brief respects beginning at 10:00 am. Interment with honors bestowed by The Pennsylvania State Police Ceremonial Unit will follow in Resurrection Cemetery, Allentown. At all times, properly worn facial coverings and social distancing will be required. Memorial contributions honoring Trooper Rossi may be presented to The ARC of Lehigh & Northampton Counties 2289 Avenue A, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18017

The Gilbert Funeral Home of Whitehall

is honored to handle his arrangements

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Morning Call on Jan. 17, 2021.
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70 entries
January 26, 2021
My father, Lou Strubeck, who passed away in August, and Trooper Rossi were colleagues and friends for many years during their texture as PA State Policemen. I got to know Trooper Rossi when I was growing up in Bethlehem. He was a great guy. Thoughts and prayers to his family. Best, Lou Strubeck (Jr.)
January 23, 2021
Trooper/Sheriff Rossi you were a dear friend to me, I will always cherish the time we got to spend together & wish I could have seen you one more time. You touched my heart so much with kindness & true caring & I will always remember that. Rest Easy Ron & prayers to the family.
Christine Afflerbach
Friend
January 22, 2021
Trooper Rossi, I remember your visits to speak with us as children at St. Jane's Elementary School through the years. Thank you for truly caring about the children in the Lehigh Valley. Thank you for your service sir!
Peter Raskovic
Student
January 22, 2021
So sorry for the loss of a Legend! I remember as a kid, him coming to our school every year teaching us how to keep safe. He left a mark on every kid he spoke to. So much so that I ended up going through the Criminal Justice program receiving my Associates Degree. My memories of him will last my lifetime. RIP "Trooper" Rossi!
Carol Tiley-Viglianti
Acquaintance
January 19, 2021
My deepest condolences go out to Mrs. Rossi, Julie, and Christopher. I grew up across the street from Trooper Rossi for much of my childhood for about 15 years. My memories of Trooper and his family are very dear. I remember spending many days playing with Julie and Trooper as he was always active with all the children in the neighborhood...gathering them to play volleyball, kickball and baseball at every opportunity. The entire neighborhood of children looked up to Trooper as a mentor and loving person. Even in my adult life during his tenure as Sheriff I met him a few times for lunch to catch up. He was always a mentor to me and true friend. He will be dearly missed but never forgotten. Rest In Peace Trooper Rossi!!
David Schnaufer
Friend
January 19, 2021
Trooper Rossi was a legend. I’m very sorry for your loss Miss Peggy, Julie and Chris. He will be missed.
Jill Davis
Friend
January 19, 2021
To the Rossi family,

Ron was a fine man, Dedicated to the citizens of the Commonwealth, the citizens of Lehigh County and his family. I first met Ron when he became Lehigh County Sheriff. I found him to be a straight shooter and as I came to know him more, it was easy to see the effect he had on people. First always a smile and then a pat on the back, “How’s it going today”.
He will be missed and I offer my condolences to his family and thanks for his service. R I P Trooper/ Sheriff
Kevin Smith
Friend
January 19, 2021
Peg:
I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Barb Maitski
Acquaintance
January 19, 2021
Trooper/Sheriff Rossi, I lit this candle for you so it will light your way into heaven, my dear friend. Rest in Peace. God be with you.
Jody Hertzog
Friend
January 19, 2021
Trooper & Sheriff Rossi, you have been a true friend of my family for many years. I first met you through my mom, Jeannie at the Good Steer and then at Top Diner. I remember when you came to Whitehall High School & Liberty High School to talk about highway safety. My mom & I would come to the courthouse to visit you when we were in the area. But nothing compares to the day I called Lehigh County Sheriffs office on September 25, 2017 to inform you that my mom had passed away and you had told me you were honored to attend her viewing. And in fact, you were greeted by my and did exactly that because you been my mothers friend formany , many years. I thank you for the wonderful memory that had brought me. Thank you Trooper/ Sheriff Ronald Rossi for your many years of service. I am sure that you are rejoicing in heaven and I'm sure my mom had a smile on her face when you arrived. May you rest in peace my dear friend and thanks for the memories. God Bless you and your family on your untimely passing. Fly highly friend and watch over all your family and friends.
Jody Hertzog
Friend
January 18, 2021
The man was a legend......his nickname still reverberates to this day to those kids from Southside Easton who knew him a "Trooper Rawside"....Nearly a day went by in the summer's of our youth were the man's name wasn't uttered to a kid in the neighborhood...From behind a screen door you'd hear a mother yelling, "Don't make me call Trooper Rawhide"....and sometimes they did just that.....an era has passed us by with the passing of this enormous man with the mirror glass shoes......Rest in eternal peace dear Trooper........
Student
January 18, 2021
My condolences to Julie, Peggy and Chris. May Ron rest well.
Michael Serbia
Friend
January 18, 2021
To the Ron Rossi Family, My deepest sympathy to all of you. I met Ron when he was the Sheriff and I was the Recorder of Deeds. We were friends ever since and the last time I saw him was when I visited him at Fellowship Manor. I hope that your fond memories and my prayers will help you this difficult time.
Marie Dean
Friend
January 18, 2021
Dear Peggy, Julie & Chris,
Sending sincere sympathy to all of you on the loss of a special man in your lives. He is now your Guardian Angel still watching over you, Resting in Peace .
Kathy & Bob Griffiths
Friend
January 18, 2021
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The Schnaufer Family
January 18, 2021
In loving memory of Trooper Rossi who dedicated his life to keep School children safe. He was in charge of annual PA School Bus inspection. He volunteered as a Judge in the Annual PA School Bus Drivers Rodeo. He will be greatly missed. May the love of friends console his family at this time of need.
Ray A Leibensperger
Friend
January 18, 2021
PEGGY, JULIE, AND CHRISTOPHER, SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. JOHN AND KATHY CRISAFULLI.
JOHN CRISAFULLI
Family
January 17, 2021
Peggy and Julie I was sorry to hear about the passing of Ron, as you know we were neighbors many years ago. I will always remember all the fun and laughter we shared. Xoxoxo
Donna Grimshaw
Friend
January 17, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Thoughts are with you -Peggy and Julie!
Bethann Hankin and Family
Neighbor
January 17, 2021
You left quite the impression on many of us “kids” each year at Holy Family School. Your assemblies were looked forward to each school year, and left a very positive impression on this former student. Rest In Peace Sir and Peace to your Family
A grateful citizen
Acquaintance
January 17, 2021
My deepest condolences and sympathy to Peggy, Julie, and Chris. I have only the fondest memories of Trooper Ron Rossi. His years of dedicated civil service to our nation (Marine Sergeant), our community (State Officer), and our county (Sheriff) will always be remembered. My family lived across the street from the Rossi’s for 15 years. Growing up next to Trooper, as we respectfully called him, was like having a celebrity as a neighbor. As a child growing up in the tight knit neighborhood of Parkland farms, all the young families in the community knew Trooper as a “larger than life” figure who was a personal friend, dedicated father, and respected officer who reached out to the community by teaching traffic safety in all of the area public and private schools. My brothers along with other neighborhood kids played actors in Trooper’s school bus safety videos. We will always remember the core values and life lessons he instilled on us and others growing up.
Although our families have grown apart during the years, we will always cherish the wonderful memories of Trooper. I have fond memories of playing volleyball in his driveway with other neighbors, going to Julie’s softball games with Trooper and Chris, and our families sitting on their back patio as Trooper enjoyed an occasional cigar.
There are few people in life who make such lasting impressions as Trooper Ron Rossi did on my family and I. His influence and achievements will always be remembered. God bless you and your family.
Todd Schnaufer
Friend
January 17, 2021
My condolences to Trooper Rossi's family. Yes, I was one of the kids you looked up to him. Always followed him in his career, reading newspaper articles of his many achievements. I was a child of the 60's and my own children knew him as I did. 2 generations he had shown us how to be decent human beings, and do whats right. He will always be fondly remembered by many.
Sandy Longenbach
Student
January 17, 2021
Dear Ron "Moose," You were always one of my closest friends, a neighbor and like a big brother. I think back often of our good times; the trips to Freeland, the nights at Leather Corner Post with our boombas, the neighborhood gatherings. So many thoughts run through my mind. I am so happy we were able to see you and Christopher during our last trip to Allentown a few years ago. Our deepest sympathy to Peggy, Julie and Chris. God Bless You, Ron. Your friends, Bobby & Julie Hazard, Mays Landing, NJ
Bob Hazard
Friend
January 17, 2021
Thank you sir for all you did, for all of us. Rest in Eternal Peace and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon you. The world needs more people like you.
Stephen S. Constantine
Student
January 17, 2021
Finally was blessed to meet Trooper Ron at Special Olympics in 1997, after years of hearing his voice on WKAP & Lehigh Valley radio stations! Make sure you have your "Purdons" handy up on the streets in Heaven! Semper Fi!
Gunny Svaby
Served In Military Together
January 17, 2021
When we heard of Trooper Rossi's passing, we were saddened at the loss. His household name was something to be heard coming out of the mouths of children around the dinner table following one of his memorable safety presentations. My husband and I believe that his influence in our lives was one of the many influences that set us on a path of our professions of fire safety education. We send peace and and love to the immediate family members who ate feelings his loss more and reiterate that his life and his role this lifetime was one that changed others and often saved children from dangerous elements. Test in Peace Trooper Rossi, please watch over us and our children.
Debra-Ann Brabazon & Bruce Lang
Acquaintance
January 17, 2021
Sheriff Rossi,

Thank You for Your service to our country and to our community.

God Bless You!
God be with your family!

Sincerely,
A Grateful Local Citizen
January 17, 2021
Thank you for your service to our country.

Rest In Peace.
January 16, 2021
Julie,
We offer our sympathy to you and your family on the passing of your father, who was such an icon for so many of us here in the Allentown and Lehigh County area. May he Rest In Peace, and may
you and your family cherish many fond memories.
Sincerely,
Sue and Andy Baranek
Andy Baranek
Coworker
January 16, 2021
MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO PEGGY , JULIE AND CHRISTOPHER Ronnie will always be remembered
Carol Rossi
Friend
January 16, 2021
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
Carol Rossi
Friend
January 16, 2021
A United States Marine, A Pennsylvania State Trooper, & The Lehigh County Sherriff!!!

I WILL stand and salute this Honorable Man!

Rest in Peace Brother
Retired PSP
Coworker
January 16, 2021
Trooper Rossi came to my school when I was a little girl about 40 years ago, and spoke about stranger danger, his speech I believe literally saved my life. I was walking to bus stop on my 1/4 mile dirt road a couple days after his speech , when a car drove by me and my first thought was, this weird looking man looks like someone that Trooper Rossi told us to watch out for, surely enough he turned around in our driveway and came back and tried to call me over to his car. I remember what Mr Rossi told us to do, I said no and started moving to a nearby trailer as if I were going for help, the weirdo drove away. Trooper Rossi was definitely an angel here on earth so I know he is an angel up in heaven! My deepest condolences to the Rossi family, God Bless Trooper Rossi!
Michelle Pitts
Student
January 16, 2021
Rest in Peace Trooper Rossi. I remember you coming to my elementary school ( Peters elem. In Northern Lehigh) WAYYY back in the 80s. We always looked forward to your visit. You really made an impact on the lives of many many young people. Rest Easy Sir.
JODI Stettler
January 15, 2021
I remember When I was 12 Trooper Rossi at PA State Police Camp Cadet and as well as every year at School May he find Eternal peace
Harold Siegfried
Student
January 15, 2021
So sorry for your great loss. I remember he came to my school, also my father's colleague at PA State Police. Unfortunately I am unable at attend the funeral on short notice but my father will most likely attend.
Donita Marakovits
Student
January 15, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Mark Wasmer
Coworker
January 15, 2021
A true servant of the people and an incredible patriot. Thank you “Trooper” Rossi.
Jack Tonkay
Family
January 15, 2021
Our deepest sympathy to the family of Trooper Ron...he and I went to school together and graduated together..( I am from Eckley and he from Freeland) we would always meet up with friends to go ice skating!!!
Again...deepest sympathy and may God Bless your family.
Sincerely, Dorothy (Petrushka) Samler and Daughters and Families
Dorothy Samler
Friend
January 15, 2021
I remember our family reunions and the fun times we spent together. These are fond memories!
Love and Sympathy,
Melanie Burkhardt
Melanie Burkhardt
Family
January 15, 2021
Peggy, Julie, Chris and family,
I’m sorry to hear about Ron. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember all the good times we had at the Burkhardt Family Reunions.
Marylou and Ted Crocus
Family
January 15, 2021
Many thanks to his dedication in representing law enforcement to many children as being friendly and welcoming. Thank you and rest peacefully, Frances (class of 83 from SHS)
Frances Cortez Funk
Student
January 15, 2021
Dear Peggy, Julie, and Christopher,
My name is Judy (Ernst) Case. I am the niece of Bill and Stella Strobl who lived across the street from the Rossi family many years ago. We sometimes visited with your family when we were in town.
My husband Kirt and I were sorry to hear about your loss. When I think of Ron I remember him as honorable, personable, and always interested in the person he was speaking to. He had an admirable career; you must be very proud of the man he was.
May God comfort you and give you peace.
Blessings and Sympathy,
Judy
Judy L Case
Friend
January 15, 2021
Rest in peace Ron.
Ralph Marinetti
Coworker
January 15, 2021
My condolences to the family on the loss of this wonderful man. He will be remembered by many who were lucky enough to have him visit their schools as children. I will for sure.
Tracy Kich
Acquaintance
January 15, 2021
My daughter and I worked for the BASD IN THE 80’s and 90’s.. and have many great memories of his visiting all the kiddies in the elementary schools . They all loved him , as everyone did . He was a kind, decent man . My children also have many of their own memories of his teaching his safety agenda in their school when they were young, and are sad to hear that he is now gone on ... Cheers , TROOPER ROSSI,, you will always be remembered as an HONORABLE MAN , Trooper , and SHERIFF. We all looked up to you , and you are a HERO in all the kids hearts. Gratefully, ALICE N FAVATA, Whitehall, PA
Alice N Favata
Teacher
January 15, 2021
So many of us, whether personally in our school years or through the enthusiasm of our children, remember “Trooper Rossi” as a man who could communicate, with ease, the true meaning of citizenship. Now THAT’S community policing! Rest in the peace you so faithfully taught and have now earned.
JoAnn and Frank Klucsarits
January 15, 2021
We all knew Trooper Rossi in grade school and his safety messages; and so many more came to love and admire our own "Mr. Rogers" as a Sheriff. Thank you and RIP
Ann Wlazelek
January 15, 2021
What a remarkable man. We loved when he would come visit our school. I was in kindergarten (decades ago) and I was the lucky one who got the handcuffs! He is very fondly remembered.
Heidi Csencsits
Friend
January 15, 2021
Julie, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved father and valuable member of our community. I know that you and your brother had a special bond with him. He will be dearly missed by many who were touched by his kindness and expertise. He was an example for all of us. May he Rest In Peace. With deepest sympathy, Linda
Linda Perilla
Friend
January 15, 2021
Rossi Family,

Moose (Ron) was a great friend to my family. He will be missed.
RIP Trooper Rossi!

Jim and Barb Buzi
James Buzi
Friend
January 15, 2021
Rossi Family,

Moose (Ron) was a great friend to my family. He will be missed.
Rip Trooper Rossi!

Jim and Barb Buzi
James Buzi
January 15, 2021
I can remember him well. He used to come to my elementary school every year. I would like to thank him for that and for getting me out of class. My condolences go out to his family. There are no word's that can make anything better. I will always remember TROOPER ROSSI!
Jacob Seidel
Student
January 15, 2021
I would always wonder whatever happened to Trooper Rossi. I would remember him coming to my elementary school to see us every year. I am sure he is up in the sky. Bless him and his family.
Jacob Seidel
Student
January 15, 2021
I will always remember Trooper Rossi... He was a wonderful man .... always teaching the children of the area.... He will be missed by many
Mindi
Student
January 14, 2021
At 50 years old I still remember when Trooper Rossi would come into school and do his presentations! He was someone who left an impression on all students he talked to! God bless and prayers to his family!
Deb
Student
January 14, 2021
Trooper Rossi I am 63 years old and I grew up with your visits and talks. You made a huge impression on me and I grew up to be a good person who respects the law. Thank you for being you and making a great impression on all of us. God bless you and your family.
Donna Hoch
Student
January 14, 2021
I was very sad to hear the news that Trooper Rossi had passed. I grew up in Wilson Boro and his assemblies were always something I loved and looked forward to each year. Even at a very young age I admired and respected him and the work he did. I am now 56 years old and have worked with law enforcement almost my entire career. I am currently a senior program manager at the International Association of Chiefs of Police where I work on training and technical assistance for law-enforcement, officer safety and wellness for officers and their families, and community policing engagement. I want his family and friends to know that Trooper Rossi had a profound influence on me and my future career. We can never underestimate the power of one individual. I know he was beloved. For me - I owe an outstanding career that I love to him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us. May he rest in peace. Thank you for everything Trooper Rossi.
Rosemary DeMenno
Friend
January 14, 2021
Julie,
I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing. I hope the memories of your Dad will comfort you during this difficult time.
Sending love from the entire Bower family ❤
Angie Bower
Friend
January 14, 2021
RIP TrooperRossi! I will remember you fondly! Such good memories of the talks you gave at Shoemaker Elementary school. He was a great role model!
Jody Bear
January 14, 2021
Sincere condolences to Trooper Rossi's family....What a great man.....will never forget him coming to Cheston School in Easton, in the late 70s and early 80s..He certainly was a household name in my neighborhood....I'm sure he guided many of kids away from the dangers of life...he certainly had my attention in that auditorium each year of grade school....R.I.P dear man........
Gil Vogt
January 14, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always. I fondly remember your Father coming to Vera Cruz Elementary School when I went there.
Sharon Dech
Student
January 14, 2021
I remember Trooper Rossi visiting my elementary school in Easton (St. Anthony’s.) Each year, he shared important information with my class about staying safe and being a law-abiding citizen. He held our attention by his strong presence and protective nature. I am grateful for the caring he demonstrated and the lessons he taught. May God bless your family as you celebrate his life, knowing that he made a difference in the lives of many children in the Lehigh Valley.
Stella DePaulo
January 14, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with the Rossi family. I remember Trooper Rossi fondly from my elementary days. We always looked forward to seeing him. He was an icon that will always be remembered.
Kathleen Wiltraut
Student
January 14, 2021
Mrs. Rossi, Chris and family,
I first met Trooper Rossi when I was in Nazareth elementary school. He did a safety presentation for us and I never forgot that. Many years later, I would meet up with him at the Arc of Lehigh Northampton Counties, when the family was touring the SPARC Adult Training Facility for his son. What an honor is was for me to have the opportunity to meet and speak with him again after all those years. Deepest sympathy to Chris and his family on the loss of a wonderful, kind man.
Imogene Kresge
Acquaintance
January 14, 2021
Back in the 70's, students at Walnutport Elementary School were awed by the man in full uniform who commanded respect with his imposing stature and booming voice. No one dared talk while Trooper Rossi had the floor. We were rapt into full attention at his every word. He left an indelible trust and respect for police officers that I've carried with me my whole life. May his family and friends take comfort knowing the positive impact he had on so many.
Tammy Kirschbaum (Green)
January 14, 2021
I am so sorry to here about Ron's passing. I worked with him for many years at Musikfest and was also one of the many children who heard his speeches about safety. He was a great man!
Sandy Gunkle
Friend
January 14, 2021
Trooper Rossi will always be fondly remembered from my elementary school days.
What joy he brought us as we learned much needed life skills and safety from him.
My condolences to his family.
Janet Helene Levitsky
January 14, 2021
Dear Rossi family , I loved your Dad . Had known him for many years.. when my daughter pitched for Emmaus HS he was at every game at pates park with Chris .. we got to see his smile and how proud he was to be with Chris, watching ball games. I love you Ron, rest well angel.. we all will meet again!!! Hugs!!! Love, Deana Frederick Held
Deana Held
Friend
January 14, 2021
I was a custodian at Allen HS he painted His Daughter Julie’s
class room I always saw him at the Allen basketball games with his son...
RIP Mr. Rossi
Tom Boyer
Friend
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