BROADALBIN — Even until his final days, Mayor Eugene Christopher was concerned with the village’s business.
Village Deputy Mayor Lawrence Cornell said Christopher summoned him to his bedside Tuesday night to discuss what would happen after he was gone.
“There wasn’t any surprise. I met with him, to talk turnover and such, because he knew the situation,” Cornell said. “He always cared about the village, so he wanted to make sure that things went as smooth as possible. We worked together for a long time. He was a great person, a great leader.”
Eugene Christopher died at the age of 88 on Friday. He was a lifelong village resident who graduated from Broadalbin High School in 1945. He was first elected to Broadalbin’s Board of Village Trustees in 1976. He became mayor for the first time in 1991, after the death of former village mayor Larry Olmstead. He was elected mayor in 1992 and served until 2005, when he chose not to run for re-election due to heart-bypass surgery. He came back again to run for mayor in 2007 and remained in office, having been re-elected again for another two-year term in March.
One major part of Christopher’s legacy as mayor was he oversaw the complete sewerization of the of village during the 1990s, a project that Cornell estimates cost around $8 million at the time.
“It was his leadership that got us through that,” Cornell said.
Cornell served with Christopher for about 25 years, starting in 1993. He said he and Christopher discussed many of the future issues facing the village during their last meeting.
“We’ve got a lot of pans in the fire so to speak. There’s quite a few items. He was a very active individual who kept things moving, so we have a lot of bits and pieces and things moving forward,” he said. “We still have the development on Bellen Road that we hope gets off the ground. We have the old [furniture] mill that we hope something occurs with. Besides that we have many other discussions that may or may not be open at this point.”
Cornell said he as the deputy mayor has the powers of mayor until the Village Board of Trustees appoints him to serve as mayor, which he said it will do at the next Board of Trustees meeting April 25 at 6:30 p.m. He said the meeting has been postponed from April 18, due to Christopher’s funeral. He said he will serve until a special election in March 2018 decides who will serve-out the remaining year of Christopher’s two-year term.