Jose Alonzo “Lon” Rosado, the founder of Great Lakes Data Systems who was elected into the Cable TV Pioneers in 2006, died on Dec. 18 at age 70 after suffering a heart attack at the family’s vacation home in Yuma, Ariz.
A "cable guy" to the core, Lon Rosado started his career with Warner Communications in the 1970s, and later owned and operated several franchised cable systems in Wisconsin. He founded cable billing leader GLDS in 1980 and loved the company, its employees and its customers, according to family, friends and co-workers. He was respected by those who worked alongside him, many of whom he worked with for decades.
Lon Rosado began his cable career as an installer in the sweltering heat of El Centro, Calif., in 1963, according to his wife, Laura, who survives him. He quickly discovered it was more fun to franchise, engineer, and build systems than to lay cable, and he went on to work in management for companies like Continental Cable, Time Warner, and Total TV. He built and franchised systems all across the Midwest, settling in Beaver Dam, Wisc., and serving as president of the Wisconsin Cable Association.
In 1980, he founded a small software company to provide billing and back-office solutions for his own cable systems. That company, GLDS, grew to be a premier provider of software solutions for the industry, serving customers in 49 states and 44 foreign countries. (In Lon's words, “Delaware – you're missing out”!)
Lon spent his last 22 years building the business with Laura. Shortly after being inducted into the Cable Pioneers group, day-to-day management of GLDS was ceded to Garrick Russell, the company’s current president.
The Rosados embraced retirement, allowing them to focus on family, friends, puppies, and flying, often making visits to customer sites nationwide. Their influence continues to be seen in every part of the GLDS organization.
Loved for his colorful stories and irreverent sense of humor, Lon had an impact on many lives.
The Rosados worked together, flew planes together, boated together, and raised seven children and nine grandchildren together. Both were current instrument pilots at the time of Lon Rosado's sudden heart attack. He had previously received a kidney transplant from his step-son James, and was in good health, enjoying life with enthusiasm, Laura Rosado noted.
He also is survived by a sister (Gloria), son (Wade Rosado), daughter (Teresa Rosado Johnson), step-sons James and Andrew Benson, and step-daughters Lisa Benson Hanson, Kimberly Benson, and Brooke Benson. He also leaves two granddaughters, seven grandsons, and two beloved puppies.
His family includes a close group of employees, who are like adopted family members, frequently barbecuing, playing, and socializing with one another. He is already greatly missed.