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Iconic Adirondack Leader Remembered Fondly

George Canon
Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board
George Canon

Former Town of Newcomb Supervisor George Canon died earlier this month. Canon was considered a mentor, friend and icon of the Adirondacks to many in New York’s northern region.
George Canon was born in 1938 in Indian Lake in the heart of the Adirondacks.  The Albany Business College graduate was politically active for most of his life within the Blue Line.  He served as a councilman and supervisor for the Town of Newcomb.  He was Chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors and served as president of the NYS Association of Towns.

Former Town of Jay Supervisor and former chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors Randy Douglas calls Canon a mentor with an impressive breadth of knowledge.  

“His knowledge of the North Country, his knowledge of the Adirondacks and his knowledge of the laws especially when it came to APA (Adirondack Park Agency) laws, he knew it inside out and he was a master at it.  And I think his communication skills were second to none to be honest with you.  I mean I was a Democrat and he was a Republican. We didn’t always agree, but he respected me and he respected my opinion.  And I think that’s how he got things done.”

Town of Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava knew Canon for over 25 years and often called him the “Godfather of the Adirondacks.”  “I called George ‘Godfather’ because George had a way where he could put out there: Make ‘em an offer that they can’t refuse! Not in a bad way but that was George’s gift.  I remember one time years ago the book came out Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun.  I said George I want you to read this book, it’s a great book.  And he flips through it and he said I wrote it. I had a lot of good times with George.  And you know George and I had many disagreements many times over different things involving Essex County. But at the end of the day we were friends. Just a great guy.”

Essex County Republican Party Chair Ron Jackson served as the Town of Essex Supervisor when Canon was chair of the Board of Supervisors.  “He’s kind of a unique guy.  I consider him my mentor when I came on the board and almost everybody else when on the board considered him their mentor. Not many people are that universally liked and respected but George went out of his way to help everybody.  He was a major player in every group in the Adirondacks.  He’s just The Adirondack Man, I mean it’s the way he will be remembered. He was part of every one of the groups that worked for the Adirondacks and he spent a lot of time, effort and energy making things better for everybody up here.”

Canon was a founding member of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages and remained a senior advisor to the organization.  Second Vice President and spokesman Ron Moore, who is also North Hudson Supervisor, says the group would not exist nor be as successful without him.   “He had everyone’s respect.  He was a true leader and I would say a visionary.  Over the years he really did an enormous amount for not only his town of Newcomb but for the entire Adirondack Park.  To me he is sort of an iconic figure.”

Although he is being remembered for his serious efforts, Moore recalls that Canon was a fun-loving individual.   “You know he was a kid that grew up in the Adirondacks. You know he loved the fishing and the hunting.  He always talked about trapping. And he loved sports. I don’t care what it was. He loved basketball. He loved baseball and he loved football.  He loved golf. He is the main reason that Newcomb has the High Peaks Golf Course. He was just a fun loving guy.”

A memorial service will be held Saturday afternoon at the Newcomb Central School.