Former Rising Sun Commissioner Stephen Naughton remembered

Stephen Naughton came to Rising Sun town meetings many times after he was no longer a commissioner. As late as November 2019, Naughton urged the mayor and commissioners to vote against any attempts to cancel uncontested elections, saying voting is a basic American right.

RISING SUN — Friends and fellow commissioners are remembering Stephen Naughton for his sense of humor, love of his adopted home town, his hospitality and his pies.

Naughton, 56, died Sunday. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Anne's Episcopal Church in North East.

Rising Sun Commissioner Dave Warnick spoke on behalf of the current mayor and commissioners Tuesday night ahead of a moment of silence in honor of Naughton.

"It is with immense sadness that I announce that former Rising Sun Commissioner Stephen Naughton has died," Warnick said. "He was one-of-a-kind."

Naughton was a Rising Sun Town Commissioner from 2011 to 2013 on a board that included Allen Authenreath and Joanne Osborne.

"I met Stephen when he first got elected as a commissioner," Authenreath said. They did not serve together long, but remained friends.

"He had these open houses with all these foods he'd make," Authenreath said. "He would make all kinds of pies. He made an apple pie with a basket weave crust. You can't beat an apple pie with a basket weave crust."

Commissioner Augie Pierson also served alongside Naughton and remained friends.  Pierson said the two would have deep discussions over a glass of scotch.

"He had a group of nuns who always brought him bottles of scotch from their travels," Pierson said, referring to the Episcopal Carmel of St. Teresa, of which Naughton was an associate. 

Their interactions with Robert Fisher, who was mayor of Rising Sun from 2012-2014 was also part of the scotch discussions. Fisher accused Naughton of accosting him in the stairwell of town hall. Fisher filed charges against Naughton claiming he was grabbed by his necktie and that Naughton tried to pull him down the steps.

Those charges were later dismissed without prejudice by a visiting Circuit Court judge.

Osborne and Naughton were elected to the Rising Sun board at the same time. However Osborne had a different relationship with Naughton because they lived on the same street.

"He was a great neighbor and a great friend," Osborne said. "When he and Brandy moved here Sophia (their daughter) was young. He was the 1st neighbor I actually got to know."

She said that her son Brian and Naughton would sit on her porch for hours discussing music and bands.

"He would come over and sit with me and he'd talk and laugh and tell jokes," Osborne said.

Warnick said likewise.

"I will miss having those conversations with him," Warnick said. "I will miss his passion and his friendship."

After falling short in the 2013 re-election attempt Naughton would still attend town meetings and would, on occasion, take to the podium during the public comment portion. As recent as 2019 he urged the mayor and commissioners to maintain its elections even if the seats were uncontested.

Naughton was also an advocate for Cecil County Public Library, serving on its Board of Trustees. Morgan Miller, director of CCPL, called him "one-of-a-kind in the library and in life."

"He was such a committed library supporter and advocate, not only during his eight year tenure on our Board of Trustees, but also in the years after. We will treasure his kindness, humor, and contributions to our staff and community always," Miller said.

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