FAIRMONT — Fairmont Commissioner Amelia McLean died Saturday after a long battle with cancer.
A pastor, McLean was elected to the Fairmont Board of Commissioners in November 2013 and joined the board a month later.
“What the world needs is more leaders with great moral standards,” she said when she was sworn onto the board. “I stand tonight to say that you will always find me standing firm on what is right.”
McLean, 59, was pastor for the Temple of Truth Ministries in Fairmont and founder of the Temple of Truth Ministries of Jesus Christ Inc. in Dillon, S.C. She held a doctorate degree in theology and religion.
“She was passionate about her town, her community. She was an activist, a church leader, a pastor. She was just a phenomenal woman who did great service for the town,” Commissioner Monte McCallum said. “… She was someone who would give you the shirt off her back if need be.”
McLean was a “lifelong friend of the family” to McCallum and a mother figure who encouraged him to strive for his best and stay away from bad influences.
“She was a staple in my life growing up,” he said.
McLean’s colleagues say as a commissioner she sought to help those in need. She helped to coordinate a job fair with the town, NC Works Career Center and the Southeast Re-entry Council in May and tried to convert a surplus town property into low-income housing for women and children. Opposition from town residents and the need for extensive repairs kept that idea from moving forward.
“Commissioner McLean wanted to bring change to Fairmont. She wanted Fairmont to be a place to accommodate poor people as well as the rich, she wanted Fairmont to be a place where the economy would strive,” said Mayor Charles Townsend, a classmate of McLean’s since the first grade. “… I think she opened our eyes to things we hadn’t looked at.”
Townsend remembered her Monday as very intelligent and one of the best runners at Fairmont High School. Because of her health, McLean participated in many recent town meetings by phone.
“She was a very sweet lady. She was very passionate about her work as a pastor. She had a vision to make this town a better place and unfortunately she got sick before she was fully able to see that vision,” said Town Clerk Jenny Larson.
McLean had been working to get a sidewalk installed on Leesville Road in order to give residents without cars a safe way to get around town. McCallum said he’d like to see that project completed in her honor.
“She will be missed greatly in the community, on the board and in the town itself,” he said. “She was a great woman who loved and loved all.”
The town board has the option to appoint someone to fill McLean’s seat or leave it vacant until the 2017 election.