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First female mayor of Alexandria Bay dies

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — Helethea R. Roy, the village’s first female mayor and a dedicated public servant for nearly two decades, died Saturday at her home in Alexandria Bay at age 70.

Friends and co-workers of the Alexandria Bay native remember her as a smart, straightforward and caring person.

“Her whole goal in life was to help people. She put her heart and soul into everything, and everybody,” said village Trustee Gary A. “Critter” Williams.

Mrs. Roy was Alexandria Bay’s mayor from April 1991 to November 1999 and was a village trustee for several years beginning in 1986.

She also was the assessor for the town of Alexandria and worked as village clerk for a short period.

When it comes to community involvement, Mr. Williams said, it would be easier to list the things Mrs. Roy was not a part of.

“She was involved in every part of the village,” he said.

Daughter of Seymour and Marjorie Monaghan Cooley, she graduated from Alexandria Central School and attended Jefferson Community College, Watertown, according to her obituary.

In 1967, she married William Roy, owner of the Thousand Islands Sun, who died in 2004. Mrs. Roy later became a co-owner of the weekly publication she had worked for since 1961.

She retired in 2007, but rejoined village government as a trustee in 2008. Named Alexandria Bay’s 2009 Citizen of the Year, Mrs. Roy served on the village Board of Trustees until November 2011.

Richard L. Drake, a former village trustee, said Mrs. Roy was an active and energetic person who accomplished many tasks as mayor, including construction of the $1 million municipal complex on Walton Street.

The village, which had outgrown the old municipal office building at Church and Rock streets, moved into the new facility in 1997.

“She was well-known in the community and was a hard worker until the very end,” Mr. Drake said.

According to Mrs. Roy’s obituary, she was active in the American Legion Auxiliary — serving as unit president, Jefferson County president and district president and on the state executive committee — and received state and national awards for her auxiliary newsletters.

Mrs. Roy was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Alexandria Bay Rebekah Lodge, Alexandria Bay United Methodist Church, the board of directors of the Northern New York Agricultural Historical Society, the River Hospital Auxiliary and the Thousand Islands Bluegrass Association.

She was a former Girl Scout leader, volunteered in the local church’s nursery and was a founder of the Alley Cat Rescue program.

She is survived by stepson Larry Roy and a stepdaughter, Amy Rodriguez, both of Texas; stepgrandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Her two brothers, Lynn and Peter Cooley, died before her.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Alexandria Bay United Methodist Church with the Rev. Fredericka Webb officiating. A reception will follow at John B. Lyman American Legion Post 904 on Rock Street. Arrangements are with Costello Funeral Home.

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