Teresa H. Mitchell

January 24, 2012

CLAYTON, N.Y.  —  Teresa Hall Mitchell, 59, passed away Tuesday morning, Jan. 24, at her home in Clayton with family at her side.

Born Oct. 3, 1952, in Watertown, the daughter of Roy and Regina White Hall, she graduated from Clayton Central High School, earned an associate's degree from Jefferson Community College in 1972, and later earned a bachelor's degree from Empire State College.

She married Joel N. Mitchell on Oct. 24, 1973, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Clayton, with Msgr. Dennis Lynch officiating.

Teresa was a certified travel counselor (CTC). From 1972 to 1986, 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 to 1991 and a first-round National Scenic Byway in 1996. Teresa 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.

Teresa 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 that opened in July 2000. Teresa championed theme-based byway tourism and the development of quilting as a cultural heritage tourism travel theme and created the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Quilt Show held each March in Sackets Harbor. She had recently completed her War of 1812-style quilt for the March 17-18 show.

She helped form and lead the National Scenic Byway Foundation as Chairperson from 2005 to 2011 on behalf of all of America’s Byways nationwide, and conducted a series of national byway leader roundtables to develop a teaching resource on financial sustainability for byways. Teresa 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 Teresa with its Paul Harris Fellow Award for Service. At her passing, Teresa served as President and CEO of the Seaway Trail Corporation and of the Seaway Trail Foundation, Sackets Harbor.  Teresa was loved and respected by people throughout the New York and U.S. tourism and byway communities.

Surviving are her husband Joel Mitchell; a son, Michael, Clayton; a daughter and son-in-law, Marcy and Patrick McGuire; three grandchildren, Elizabeth, Lauren, and Aidan, Turin; a sister, Sylvia Hall, Redwood; a brother, Dennis Hall, Redwood; a brother-in-law, Paul J. Warneck, Sackets Harbor; as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. 

Her parents Roy and Regina Hall, her beloved Bill and Loretta Aubertine, and a sister, Marsha Hall, all predeceased her.  

A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Mary’s Church, Clayton. Calling hours will be 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., 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, Clayton Rotary Club, PO Box 295, Clayton, NY 13624, or to a charity of one's choice.

Information provided by Cummings Funeral Service and Newzjunky.com, Watertown