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Former Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain has died at 61

Former Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain has died, town officials said Thursday.

"Jill served this community in many capacities for decades," the town said on social media.

Swain served as town commissioner from 1999 to 2007 and as mayor from 2007 to 2015, when she lost to John Aneralla. She ran again last year and narrowly lost to Melinda Bales.

She was the founder and executive director of the Huntersville Chamber of Commerce.

She was 61.

Charles Jeter served on the town board with Swain, and the two were friends and colleagues for 19 years.

"She just made the world a better place. She’s one of those rare elected officials who did it for the right reasons," said Jeter. "She wanted the absolute best for Huntersville.” 

Jeter says the town’s aquatic center and Discovery Place Kids, along with giving Huntersville its own identity, will play a large role in Swain’s legacy.

Jeff Tarte served as the mayor of Cornelius while Swain was Huntersville’s mayor. He considers Swain Huntersville’s matriarch.

“She cared a lot about how this town progressed and how we all got along and trying to get along in today’s world, so she was a good role model from that perspective,” Tarte said.

Cornelius Today was gathering reactions from other north Mecklenburg civic leaders. Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox told the publication that Swain's death was a "huge loss" for the community.

"I’ve known Jill for a long time and there are very few folks that you run across with the drive and passion Jill had in whatever she was involved with," Knox told the outlet.

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Jeanne is a producer for All Things Considered on WFAE. She previously worked at NPR member station WUGA in Athens, Georgia, where she graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism. Jeanne originally grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia.