SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Monroe County District Attorney Dan Cary passed away in his Sparta home. Police found his body Monday, after he failed to show up for court. No cause has been determined but foul play is not suspected.
For 10 years. Cary served as the District Attorney, after spending five years as the assistant district attorney.
"Dan handled most of the drug cases and he was very passionate about drug cases," said Monroe County Judge David Rice. "Not only about prosecuting the cases but he would go to drug forums and he would speak and he'd be willing to speak to anyone about drug issues."
Judge Rice says Cary tried to give drug offenders a chance to straighten out, but if they were repeat offenders, he'd fight hard to get them off the street.
"Dan has left a legacy of hard work and commitment to the community and particularly a commitment to doing something about drugs," Judge Rice said. "It's a very difficult problem in our community right now and it's one he was devoted to dealing with."
But Cary's dedication to public services extends even further back then his time as a prosecutor. He spent two decades in the Marines, rising to the rank of captain. Cary then graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School and raised his three children in Cashton.
"He was always in a suit an tie and he would come in to the grocery store and my aunt would say there's dapper Dan," said Tanya Dickman, a family friend. "That's kind of how I remember him, 'Dapper Dan.'"
Cary also had a passion for giving speeches and participated in toastmasters-- a public speaking organization.
"He won awards for it," Dickman said. "He had plaques, first place, second place."
Cary also won an award for his work as the DA. He was voted the state's District Attorney of the Year in 2012, and Judge Rice says his death leaves some big shoes to fill
"You don't just find somebody with Dan's experience and ability," Judge Rice said. "I'm really going to miss him a lot."