DeSana to return from medical leave tomorrow

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – One of the city’s longest-serving officials said he would return to the City Council tomorrow night after successful heart surgery three weeks ago.

James DeSana, who turns 80 on Wednesday, successfully underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery Sept. 10, and after recovering at home for the past three weeks, will return to his seat on the council Monday evening.

“It’s a slow recovery,” DeSana said. “It just takes time, so you just have to sit around. I’m getting out now.”

The uncommon five-bypass heart surgery was unexpected for DeSana, who found out he needed the surgery within the week leading up to it.

“I never had any chest pains or anything,” he said. “I flunked an (echocardiogram) test and stress test.”

The former Wyandotte mayor and state senator had the surgery done by Dr. Timothy Sell at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center. He spent seven and a half hours on the operating table.

“The operation itself, it’s a tough operation, but 99 percent recover,” DeSana said.

Since the operation, he has been taking it easy at home, but has been able to get out and about during the past week. He said it takes several months to fully recover from heart surgery.

“I’m getting around a little bit,” DeSana said. “You just have to be careful you don’t catch any cold.”

DeSana has a long history of service to city residents and the state of Michigan. His public service began on the council from 1957 to 1961, which transitioned into the first of his three stints as mayor, from 1961 to 1968. He first was elected mayor at age 30.

He continued to move up the ranks, serving as a Wayne County Commission member from 1969 to 1976 before becoming a state senator from 1976 to 1986. At age 57, he again became Wyandotte’s mayor from 1987 to 1997. DeSana became director of the Michigan Department of Transportation from 1997 to 2000 before returning to hometown politics for good.

He rejoined the council from 2001 to 2005 and then was elected mayor for a third time at age 75, serving from 2005 to 2009, when current Mayor Joseph Peterson took over.

DeSana rejoined the council last year.

(Contact Chris Jackett at