Pioneer who charted Scottsburg’s modern electrical system, James ‘Sy’ Satterly, dies PDF Print E-mail
The man who came along at the right time to help Scottsburg’s progress into a demanding future, James Truman ‘Sy” Satterly, died on Thursday, January 23, after a long battle with cancer.
Satterly could be described as a futurist. He saw beyond the boundaries of Scottsburg when he first began working for the city in 1962. He stayed as a loyal employee for the next 41 years, planning out and expanding the intricate electrical system which, for the most part, serves the City of Scottsburg today.
Satterly, 78, was born on December 15, 1935, in Anderson County, Ky. He was the son of the late Orthey E. and Vila Faye (Corn) Satterly. In 1956, he came to Indiana to begin his career in the fledgling field of electrical systems.
At first, he worked for several communities in southern and central Indiana, learning his trade from the ground up, so to speak. Then he arrived in Scottsburg. What he saw of the city back then, he liked. He stayed and was so prodigious in electrical knowledge that, when Mayor Bill Graham came into office in 1988, he accepted the Mayor’s appointment as superintendent of the electrical department, a job he kept until his retirement in the spring of 2003. Even then, he was kept on as a willing and involved consultant.
For years, Sy was the man to contact for anything electrical. He helped build one of the most well-operated and efficient public power communities in Indiana, and he did it through old-fashioned hard work and high principles.
Not only was he able to keep the department current on increasing demands for power, Sy built for the future, envisioning booming businesses and homes where only cattle and crops were located. Additionally, he looked beyond the day he would leave the department, attracting and keeping younger, talented men who would continue his work and maintain the pride that was always reflected in his work. And he did all this without accruing debt, paying for improvements and expansions through money the department saved.
Noted Sy in 2003, “We are resourceful, saving what we can and then re-investing the people’s money back into their utility to continue to make it better.” At the end of his career, Sy was supervising a network of 3,000 miles of electrical lines and infrastructures.
Satterly also gave back to his adopted community in other ways. He and wife Bertha M. (Back) Hall-Satterly raised a combined family of a son, three daughters, three stepsons and a stepdaughter. They in turn gave the couple 21 grandchildren and, at last count, 36 great-grandchildren.
Sy was also active proponent of his faith. He helped establish the Elevation Church of Scottsburg, in which he was an elder. He was a member of Gideons International and a former member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 555. Professionally, he served as vice president of the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA), the organization in which the City is a recognized member. The funeral service was conducted on Sunday afternoon, January 26, at Elevation Church. A graveside service was held on Monday afternoon, January 27, at Lawrenceburg Cemetery in Lawrenceburg, Ky.
Memorial contributions may be arranged through the staff of the Collins Funeral Home in Scottsburg to benefit his church’s building fund. On-line condolences may be expressed by visiting