ALEXANDRIA BAY — A former longtime supervisor of the town of Alexandria, who also served in the Korean War and carved duck decoys, died Sunday.
F. Sampie Sutton, who served on-and-off for 14 years, died at the age of 86 at home, according to his obituary published by Frederick Bros. Funeral Home Inc., Theresa.
Mr. Sutton was first elected supervisor in 1992, was reelected in 1997 and served through 2009. He was lauded for several projects he oversaw, such as construction of 70 miles of new and paved roads, bringing water service to Redwood and attracting wireless internet to Alexandria, and criticized for others, such the townwide reassessment of properties that raised the taxable value 168 percent in 2007.
“He was an absolute fighter (for grants) when it came to his community,” said Jefferson County Legislator Philip N. Reed. “I think almost every state and federal official knew who Sampie Sutton was.”
Brent H. Sweet, the current town supervisor, said years ago, a representative from the governor’s office praised Mr. Sutton’s efforts to fund a water system for Redwood, an $7.6 million effort. The representative, Mr. Sweet said, described how “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” called Mr. Sutton the greasy wheel that, after many calls, garnered state funding.
“He did an awful lot for the town of Alexandria,” Mr. Sweet said. “He just had tremendous energy, and he never gave up and he never said ‘no’ for an answer.”
Independent auditors hired by the town in 2008 found that Mr. Sutton took 6,700 gallons of fuel from the town’s supply over a four-year-period, but never reimbursed the town. Mr. Sutton at that time denied stealing gas from the town and blamed former Highway Superintendent David H. Bain for telling the board “that it would save the town money if I used the town’s fuel” instead of having Mr. Sutton claim mileage reimbursements.
Years prior to serving in public office, Mr. Sutton served in the Korean War as a tail gunner with the U.S. Air Force, according to his obituary.
Mr. Sutton was also known for his decoy ducks. He opened a shop that featured his work and pieces from other duck decoy carvers in 2013, according to the obituary.
Alexandria Bay developer Patrick M. Donegan said Mr. Sutton was a good friend, and he enjoyed talking about town projects at a diner. Mr. Sutton also helped Mr. Donegan with building the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown years ago by overseeing workers and site work.
“He certainly loved anything to do with the public,” Mr. Donegan said. “He was a people person. He really enjoyed the politics of relationships.”
A celebration of life with military honors will be held for Mr. Sutton at 3 p.m. Friday at the Alexandria Bay United Methodist Church, 2 Rock St.