Longtime school board member Delaine dies
By Bobby Bryant
Darlington County school board member Connell Delaine, who represented the Society Hill, Mechanicsville and Dovesville areas since 2002, died Friday after an illness, according to the county school district.
Delaine, who had been hospitalized for several weeks, “was an unwavering supporter and advocate of our students and employees, and he will be deeply missed,” the district said in a statement.
Delaine was a retired U.S. Army sergeant major with 27 years of service in military police and was a veteran of both the Vietnam War and the first Persian Gulf War, the district said.
He was up for re-election in November for another term in his District 2 seat on the school board and had one challenger, Lucas W. Reed, a Mechanicsville resident who decided to run in part because he felt that the board was developing a tendency toward “last-minute decisions.”
It was not immediately clear if officials would have time to remove Delaine’s name from ballots. Many absentee ballots already have been sent in.
Charles Govan of Hartsville, a member of the school board for 20 years, served with Delaine for 18 years of that time. He said Friday that Delaine’s passing will be felt by the board and the community.
“It’s going to be a void on this board as well as the community,” Govan said in an interview. “He will sadly be missed.”
Delaine was “a dedicated, honest man with a true concern and connection to education and to the well-being of the children and citizens of Darlington County,” Govan said.
Govan said Delaine was committed to carrying out his responsibilities on the school board as well as keeping in touch with practically everything going on in the community. “I don’t think Connell ever missed a board meeting,” except for the last few meetings when he was ill. “He always wanted to be on top of what the issues were.”
“He truly had a heart for his constituents,” Govan said.
As a retired military man, Govan added, Delaine always was concerned with proper treatment of the U.S. flag. Govan said Delaine asked that the three new elementary schools being built in Darlington County each have a flagpole outside, and said Delaine suggested to Education Superintendent Tim Newman that the district have a special “enlistment day” for students joining the military.
Funeral arrangements for Delaine had not announced as of press time. The county school board was scheduled to hold a meeting Monday night, and it was expected that board members would take the opportunity to honor Delaine’s service.