Longtime local librarian and county commissioner Connie Skinner McSwain died Monday, according to an announcement made at that night’s meeting of the Henry County Commission. She was 64.
She died Monday in Urbana, Ill. She had been competing in a miniature horse show there.
McSwain was honored with a moment of silence during the meeting. She was also honored in an invocation by James Travis, 5th District Commissioner, who recognized her service to Paris and Henry County.
McSwain served almost 19 years as Rhea Public Library director and 11 years as a Henry County commissioner.
She also served with the Paris-Henry County Healthcare Foundation, Tennessee Cares Early Headstart program, Family Resource Center, Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Literacy Council, Office on Aging and Downtown Paris Association.
Born Connie Skinner on March 16, 1955, she married John Grover McSwain of Paris on March 30, 1973. He preceded her in death on Dec. 2, 1998.
She served at Paris Elementary and Rhea Elementary schools for 12 years in various capacities. Her last position in the PSSD was as an assistant librarian at Rhea.
McSwain became Rhea Public Library director on Sept. 1, 1999.
She retired on Aug. 31, 2018 as the longest-serving director in the library’s history.
On her retirement, McSwain was honored by the city and county, and a portrait photograph of her was hung in the main library.
To recognize her many contributions to the library’s technology, the building’s computer room was renamed as Connie McSwain Technology Lab.
McSwain turned to politics about seven years after becoming the public library director.
She was initially elected to a seat in the county’s 2nd District in 2006, but gave that seat up after moving from her family farm to the 5th District in 2007.
She was elected to a seat in that district in 2008, where she served until stepping down in September 2018.
She is survived by three sons: Justin (Heather) McSwain and Michael (Rebecca) McSwain, both of Paris, and Houston (Tiffany) McSwain of Jackson; and four grandsons: Haynes, Turner, John Evan and Miller McSwain.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete, and will be announced by Ridgeway Funeral Home.