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Obituary: George Henry "Hank" Swain, Brown County

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George Henry "Hank" Swain, 95, of Brown County, died Monday, March 3, 2014, at home.

He was born December 4, 1918, in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of George Henry and Elizabeth Hardy Swain. He graduated from Pendleton High School in 1936 and attended Indiana University. A Quaker pacifist, he spent years during World War II in camps for conscientious objectors, performing conservation labor for the government.

He married Margaret "Mardi" Coman on May 10, 1946. He and Mardi came to Brown County in 1947. Hank operated Brown County Builders for thirty-five years, building fifty-three homes, most of his own design.

He was a founding member of the Brown County Chamber of Commerce and enjoyed serving on several community boards, including the Brown County Office Building & Public Library building committees. He served on the Board of Zoning Appeals and was active in revising the County Land Use Plan.

He volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem child advocate. He was active in the League of Women Voters, and served a term on the Brown County Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees. As both a participant in and an observer of his community, he was often a moderating force on divisive community issues.

Retirement granted him time to pursue writing, resulting in three published books. He was a featured columnist for Our Brown County magazine from its inception in 1995, and a frequent guest columnist for the Bloomington Herald-Times.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret Coman Swain, and five daughters, Christanne (Gene) Traxler of Sharpsville, Davida (David) Kean of Nashville, Lesilyn (Robert) Neely of Bloomington, Sylvia (Steve) Shroyer of Nashville, and Gwenyth Swain (Vince Dolan) of Holliston, MA. Also surviving are eight grandchildren: Tess Kean of Columbus, Zoe Kean of Nashville, Nicholas Traxler of St. Paul, MN, Adrienne Traxler of Miami, FL, Hannah McCuiston of Louisville, KY, Luke Neely of Bloomington, Alexander and Amelia Shroyer of Bloomington, and Helen and Henry Dolan of Holliston, MA. He is also survived by two great-grandchildren.

Hank willed his body to the Indiana Anatomical Society. A memorial meeting and celebration conducted by the Bloomington Friends (Quaker) meeting will be held Saturday, March 8, at 2 p.m. at the Brown County Public Library, lower level, 205 Locust Lane, Nashville.

Memorial donations may be made to the Henry and Mardi Swain Library Fund through the Brown County Community Foundation.

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