NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A North Ridgeville developer responsible for many homes constructed in the 1970s died on June 15 in Naples, Florida.
Frank Dettore, who was 83, once estimated that his land development company was responsible for about 60 percent of the almost 3,000 homes in the city built during the ’70s.
His construction in North Ridgeville put him in front of City Council many times.
Roseanne Johnson, a former Council member for about 18 years, remembered Dettore fondly, even though all the times they disagreed with each other.
“He was professional,” she said. “We would agree to disagree. … He had a deep impact on the city. He’s going to be missed.”
Johnson said Dettore was building the city even when it wasn’t really popular to do so. She said he took a chance and asked to build.
In 1964, Dettore started North Ridge Investment Corp. with his brother, Don, and Morris Shave. Dettore ultimately bought out Shave’s shares and traded shares with his brother for total control of the company.
In just over a decade, North Ridge grew into a multimillion dollar company. During that same time period, North Ridgeville was one of the fastest-growing cities in Ohio. Its population grew by 63 percent during the 1970s.
Dettore once told The Chronicle-Telegram that it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. But his company started a downward turn in 1979 and in 1981, Dettore and North Ridge filed for bankruptcy — it wouldn’t be the last time.
Dettore often tried to reestablish the empire he had built with moderate success.
North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock said Dettore did a lot for the community, including building houses and also donating land, including where some of the parks are today.
“Frank played a big part in the development of the city,” Gillock said. “He was very friendly and always thinking outside of the box. … He was always a go-getter.”
Gillock recalled times when Dettore would bounce ideas off of him while he served in City Council and Gillock sometimes had to guide him back to a more realistic path.
In one of several interviews he did with The Chronicle-Telegram, Dettore said he was tired of his name being associated with everything wrong in North Ridgeville. But he planned to remain in the city for a long time, and he did as he lived there more than 60 years.
“People are always looking for the boogeyman,” Dettore said in 2005. “There’s no boogeyman with me. I do what’s good, but when you’ve had as much exposure in life as I’ve had, that’s what happens.”
He also owned several local businesses including Dettore Farms, Moreland Homes and Colonial Oaks. His wife, Catherine, and two daughters survived him along with six grandchildren.
Dettore spoke proudly of his two daughters, Monica and Gina, and they learned every detail of their father’s business, even starting their own at one point.
Gillock called Dettore a hard-worker and a community guy.
“I enjoyed being his friend,” he said. “We’ll miss him.”