FULTON, NY – Community members and city officials gathered today (Dec. 1) to pay their respects and express their sadness for the loss of one of Fulton’s respected leaders, Hugh MacKenzie.
Mayor Ronald Woodward acknowledged that with Mr. MacKenzie’s passing last week “Fulton lost a decent and hard-working community leader.”
“I had the privilege of working with Hugh for many years at Nestles,” Woodward said. “Hugh was Chairman of Fulton’s Fire and Police Commission for many years, was active in the Democratic Party and was a dedicated family man. My heart goes out to Hugh’s family. He will be missed in our community.”
Mr. MacKenzie, a 1969 MBA graduate of SUNY Buffalo, moved to Fulton in 1971. He worked for decades as personnel and labor manager at Nestles until he retired in 2000. He lived in Fulton with his wife, Monica, where they raised their two children, ‘Dan’ and Megan.
Fire and Police Commission President Kurt Brown was elected commission chairman after Mr. MacKenzie’s illness took him from the job last year.
“Hugh was a professional, no question about that,” the president said. “He sat as the chairman of the Fire and Police Commission for a number of years while I was there. He was certainly well respected and his passing is our loss.”
He added that Mr. MacKenzie was a principled man with a great business background and he was sincerely concerned about the community.
“The Commission is an appointed position, not one we get paid for,” he explained. “The chair is voted in by the other commissioners. I was vice chair under him for a number of years and he was truly dedicated to the community.”
Fulton Police Chief Orlo Green said the man was a respected leader.
“Hugh MacKenzie helped set the standard for professionalism and integrity while acting as the president of the Commission for many years,” the chief said. “His passing will be felt not only at City Hall but throughout our entire community.”
Upon learning of the local leader’s passing, Retired Police Chief Mark Spawn, now living in California, lauded Mr. MacKenzie for his business and personnel skills, and his service to the community as Commission president.
“I had the fortune of working with Hugh during my early years as chief of police, developing policy and discussing recruitment and promotions for members of the police service,” Spawn said. “Hugh had great insight and led a team of other commissioners who were tasked with very important work governing public safety.”
The retired chief added, “Hugh was an energetic commissioner and valued community engagement and problem solving strategies. His passing is a tremendous loss to the Fulton community, but his work will live on.”
Acting Fire Chief Paul Foster said Mr. MacKenzie embodied fairness. “He was always professional, straight forward and no nonsense, keeping the city of Fulton’s best interest in mind,” Foster said. “He was very fair and very thorough when dealing with appointments or departmental issues and his absence at Fire and Police Commission meetings will be noticed.”
Working alongside Mr. MacKenzie, Commission member Alan DeLine said he was “a class act” but the men had other common interests within the Fulton community beyond the commission.
“We both coached,” DeLine said. “I coached the high school basketball team and the men’s swimming team at Oswego State, and Hugh coached soccer and youth hockey in Fulton.”
“And Hugh and I used to talk a lot about teaching. I taught at Oswego State and Hugh taught at Cayuga Community College,” DeLine added. “It was a pleasure to know the gentleman.”
Calling hours are today (Dec. 1) from 3 – 6 p.m. at the Sugar Funeral Home, 224 W. Second St. S.
Funeral services will be conducted on Tuesday (Dec. 2) at 9:30 a.m. in Holy Trinity Church, where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated.
Mr. MacKenzie’s obituary can be found here.