A former Dawson Springs mayor, known for her diligence, work ethic and love for community, has died.

Stacia Peyton, a Democrat, was elected in 1994. She was the town’s first female mayor, said long-time friend and coworker Jenny Sewell.

After serving as mayor for 14 years, Peyton resigned and became the deputy commissioner for the Department of Local Government under fellow Dawsonian Gov. Steve Beshear.

“She was a very sincere and very real public servant,” said Sewell. “It was her sincere desire for her city to succeed and for her state to succeed.”

Peyton, whose maiden name was Martin, was born November 13, 1940. She grew up in a small community about six miles from Dawson Springs in Ilsley. She graduated from South Hopkins High School. After graduation, she worked several years for The Dawson Springs Progress.

While at the Progress, Peyton became familiar with city government. She covered stories related to economic growth, the impounding of Lake Beshear and the construction of the West Kentucky Parkway, said Sewell.

As a result of working in Dawson Springs, she met and married Bob Peyton. The pair had two children — John and Jennifer.

Before being elected mayor, Peyton served as a city councilperson. While mayor, she was instrumental in Dawson Spring’s revitalization efforts.

“There were several housing grants, one was early on in her career in the 90s,” said Sewell. “She was able to attract a housing grant that completely rehabbed Fredrick Road — new housing, and, most importantly, new sewer lines all out in that area.”

Toward the end of her career, Sewell said Peyton was able to attract Community Development Block Grant monies for housing. Many housing units were redone in the community because of her efforts.

Peyton’s mayoral successor, Ross Workman, said she was always active in the community even before she got into politics.

“She was a great woman. She had the community’s best interest at heart,” he said. “During her tenure, she did a lot of really good things for this community.”

Downtown was revitalized thanks to her efforts, said Workman.

“Downtown was dated, and through grants and working with state officials, she was able to secure money to redo sidewalks, to bring them up to a safer higher standard,” he said. “She was a great person, she never met a stranger, and she was always willing to listen and always had an opened mind.”

Hopkins County Magistrate Charlie Beshears said Peyton was a role model for many.

“She was energetic in everything that she did, and she tried her best to have a vision of what this town needed to be,” he said. “I learned a lot from talking to her, like that you’ve got to look to the future, you just can’t handle day-to-day problems. She was always looking five and 10 years down the road. Some of it helped a lot, and some we’re still working on today.”

Beshears said when Peyton went to Frankfort to work for the DLG, she gained a lot of contacts and would always come back to Dawson Springs with suggestions and grants for them to research.

“She sowed a lot of seeds, and she trained a whole lot of us,” he said.

Peyton passed away Friday morning at her home in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was 79.

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