Craven County Commissioner Johnnie Sampson Jr., has died after a battle with COVID-19. The 87-year-old had been a county commissioner for 24 years.
His family told NewsChannel 12 that he died on Thursday after being readmitted to the hospital. He had tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
Sampson was a Craven County native, noted as a public servant and icon of the Black community. Over the years, he was involved in the Craven County Voters' League, Concerned Citizens, NAACP and the Duffyfield Residents' Council, according to the Craven County government website.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Thomas Mark described him as a gentleman.
"He was very passionate person," he said. "He loved his family, especially his grandchildren. He was a fierce advocate of children."
Congressman G.K. Butterfield released a statement mourning the commissioner and highlighting his civic involvement.
"Johnnie Sampson Jr. poured his energy, conviction and love into the Craven County community," the statement read. "He was a friend, a man of passion and principle who impacted the lives of many. Though we mourn the loss of Johnnie Sampson Jr., we also celebrate and honor his life of service."