BETHLEHEM She was a rare gem in today’s politics when she took office in 1993 as the first woman town supervisor in Bethlehem’s long history. Sheila Fuller would continue to lead the town, with her office door wide open, until she decided not to run again in 2003.
“I’m most proud of being able to have people feel comfortable about meeting with the supervisor,” Fuller told Spotlight News in 2003. “Everyone I met was most important to me. It’s all about people, and that’s what I love.”
Fuller died Thursday, Nov. 19 after battling a long illness. She was 71.
Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson ordered the town’s flag in front of Town Hall to half-mast on Thursday.
“Sheila Fuller is extremely well remembered in this town. As a Bethlehem Central school board member and [president], and as town supervisor for five terms, she gave Bethlehem her full devotion and established a legacy of service,” said Clarkson. “She was a model public servant and will be very much missed by the community. All of us at Town Hall today want to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to her family and friends.”
In addition to her 10 years as the town supervisor, Fuller previously served 13 years on the Bethlehem Central school board. She left her post on the school board when she was appointed to the town board in June 1991 to fill out the unexpired term of former Democratic Councilman Bob Burns. She would later earn a full, four-year term in the election that November.
When then-Bethlehem Supervisor Ken Ringler announced he was choosing to concentrate on business matters instead of seeking a third two-year term, Fuller sought to become the town’s first woman supervisor.
Not unlike 2015, where the supervisor race between Democratic incumbent Clarkson and Republican challenger Jim Foster was recently decided by absentee ballots, a close battle between Fuller, a Republican, and Democrat Matt Clyne was decided by mailed-in votes.
Former town councilwoman Doris Davis took her seat on the board the same time Fuller was sworn in as supervisor.
“How my heart just goes out to Sheila’s family, and I know it’s been difficult for everyone,” said Davis. “I will always remember her positively.