Ilion Principal - Mr. Leo J. Sammon Jr.
Born 1925
Died August 4, 1974

Ilion High School Principal

Mr. Leo J. Sammon Jr.

Principal 1960 - 1974
Vice-Principal 1959 - 1960


Mr. Leo J. Sammon Jr. was raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Sammon was a star athlete at Pittsfield High School. He was a three-sport student and played baseball, basketball and football. He was the substitute first baseman on the high school baseball team. He graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1943. During World War II, he served as an officer in the Army Air Force.

Following the war, Mr. Sammon enrolled at Syracuse University. While there, he was a member of the rowing team for four years. In 1947, the freshman crew won all its races. They were designated as the university's official entry in the International Rowing Association (IRA) regatta at Poughkeepsie, where they came in second. Leo Sammon served as captain of the rowing team in 1951.

Leo Sammon graduated from Syracuse University win 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned his Master of Arts degree, from SU, in secondary education, in 1952. He took additional graduate work at Utica College.

On Dec. 19, 1953, Leo Sammon Jr. married Audrey Harsh, the daughter of Lynn and Irene (Pounder) Harsh. They wed at St. Paul's Methodist Church, in Northport, Long Island. Reverend Robert F. Ramm officiated at the wedding.

IHS 1974 Leo J. Sammon Jr.
Ilion Mirror 1974 - Last yearbook photograph
Leo J. Sammon Jr.

Mr. Sammon began his career, in education, as a member of the staff at Hudson High School. He served on their staff from 1953 to 1956. He transferred to Herkimer High School in 1956. Mr. Sammon came to Ilion High School in 1957. At Ilion, he began as a citizenship education teacher and football line coach.

From 1959 until August 1960, he was Ilion's vice-principal. He was named acting principal of Ilion High School in August 1960. He succeeded Robert H. Hall whose resignation became effective September 15, 1960. Mr. Sammon was later permanently appointed principal.

Mr. Sammon was the Principal during the 1963 high school fire. On Sunday night, April 21, 1963, the high school was destroyed by a fire. Damaged areas of the building included the auditorium, girls' gymnasium, 25 classrooms, and the administrative offices on the second floor. There was evidence that the fire was the result of arson.

Leo J. Sammon Jr., age 49, of 5 Hall St., principal at Ilion High School, died Sunday, August 4, 1974, in Mohawk Valley General Hospital. He died after being stricken at the high school track while jogging with his son.

Herkimer County Coroner Malvin Applegate, ruled that death was due to natural causes. Mr Sammon died of a coronary thrombosis. Dr Zafar Haider, a pathologist, performed the autopsy.

Mr. Sammon was a member of the Ilion United Methodist church and formerly was a member of the church's Board of Trustees. He was also a member of the Ilion Conversation Club.

Mr. Sammon also served as president of the Iroquois League. The league members ranged from Little Falls High, with a 400 enrollment to Oneonta Central, which had 700 students. Rome Catholic High School, Norwich, Mohawk, Ilion, Herkimer and Frankfort were other members of the Iroquois League. It sponsored varsity and junior varsity teams in football, cross country, basketball, wrestling, baseball, track and field. The League also operated winter sports competition in badminton, volleyball, bowling and table tennis.

His professional affiliations included serving as state chairman of the resolutions committee of the Secondary School Administrators Association of New York; a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Herkimer County Principals Association. He coached football and basketball and served as director of boys and girls camps.

Mr. Sammon was survived by his wife, Audrey, a daughter, Deborah and a son, Leo J. III, both at home. He also left a sister, Mrs. Charles (Marjorie) Frambach, and a brother, Herbert, both of Pittsfield.

Mr. Sammon's wife, Audrey Sammon, was also a teacher at Ilion High School. She died in 2002.

Alumni Site Cover Story - January 2015
Featured Story - January 2015 - Leo J. Sammon Jr. References

Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

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First published January 4, 2015
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