Seaway Trail Inc. has named Chuck Krupke as interim executive director following the death of President and CEO Teresa Mitchell. Krupke, a respected Pulaski-area businessman, has been associated with the byway since its inception in 1986 and has served as chairman of the board.
Seaway Trail Inc. is the not-for-profit organization that promotes travel and tourism along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway shoreline of New York and Pennsylvania. The 518-mile route is a National Scenic Byway and a National Recreation Trail.
Krupke will serve in concert with John Hall of Cannon Design (Grand Island), the current board chair of Seaway Trail Inc., and Alexander "Pope" Vickers of the Jefferson Community College Department of Hospitality and Tourism, who is chair of the Seaway Trail Foundation Sackets Harbor.
Mitchell, 59, passed away Tuesday morning at her home in Clayton with family at her side.
From 1972 to1986, she marketed the 1000 Islands international tourism destination for the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. She helped her mentor, Dr. Vincent J. Dee Sr., develop the concept for the Seaway Trail scenic byway and became the first executive director of the Seaway Trail Corporation in 1986. The route was named a National Recreation Trail in 1990-91 and a first-round National Scenic Byway in 1996. Mitchell was influential in the development of New York State Scenic Byway legislation in 1991. For her service to New York state tourism, she was awarded the I Love New York Individual Achievement Award by the New York State Economic Development agency.
Mitchell was the developer and managing editor of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine and a series of travel guidebooks voted "Best of the Byways" by the American Recreation Coalition. She led the $1.9 million renovation of the historic Union Hotel in Sackets Harbor into the Seaway Trail Discovery Center and Gift Shop, which opened in July 2000. Mitchell championed theme-based byway tourism and the development of quilting as cultural heritage tourism travel theme and created the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show, which is held each March in Sackets Harbor. She had recently completed her War of 1812-style quilt for the March 17-18 show.
Mitchell helped form the National Scenic Byway Foundation and served as chairperson from 2005 to 2011 on behalf of all of America's Byways nationwide. She conducted a series of national byway leader roundtables to develop a teaching resource on financial sustainability for byways.
She served as a member of the New York State Scenic Byway advisory board, New York State Travel & Vacation Association, St. Lawrence International Passport, Sackets Harbor Area Cultural Preservation Foundation Inc., Clayton Chapter of Rotary International, North Country Quilting Guild, and Stone Building Appreciation Society. The Clayton Rotary recently presented Mitchell with its Paul Harris Fellow Award for Service. At her passing, Mitchell served as president and CEO of the Seaway Trail Corporation and of the Seaway Trail Foundation, Sackets Harbor. She was loved and respected by people throughout the New York and U.S. tourism and byway communities.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Mary's Church in Clayton. Calling hours will be 2 until 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, at Cummings Funeral Service in Clayton.
Contributions may be made in Teresa's honor to the Seaway Trail Foundation, PO Box 660, Sackets Harbor, NY 13685; Hospice of Jefferson County, 425 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601; the Clayton Rotary Club, PO Box 295, Clayton, NY 13624; or to a charity of one's choice.