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Cynthia Wright Swaine (1944 - 2014)

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Cynthia Wright Swaine

Norfolk - Cynthia Wright Swaine, 69, of Norfolk, Virginia, left this life on May 18, 2014 in her home after a brief illness. Born to Mabel and Arthur Wright in Elkhart, Indiana, on July 30, 1944, she is survived by her sister Gwen Gillett and husband Dan of Frederick, MD, sister Jean Kimes and husband Robert of Elkhart, IN, niece Joan Gillett and husband Geoff as well as many nephews, nieces, grandnephews, grandnieces, and dear friends. She was predeceased by her sister Mildred Cook.

In recent years, Cynthia discovered her passion: fine art painting. In 2013, she exhibited works in four art shows locally and sold numerous paintings. Cynthia freely shared a daily art blog called "My Art Goes Out to You" starting in 2011 to a coast-to-coast following. She was an avid supporter of the arts in the Norfolk area and enjoyed traveling in Europe.

Cynthia earned her baccalaureate degree from Goshen College, her masters in education and her masters in library science, both from Indiana University, Bloomington. She taught in the elementary schools of Elkhart, Indiana, from 1966 to 1972.

She had a long and storied career in academic librarianship at Old Dominion University from 1975 until 2010. She taught thousands of students and faculty members in her roles as reference and research librarian and instruction services librarian. Accolades included Librarian of the Year awards and a listing in Who's Who in Library and Information Services. Web-based tutorials and tools she developed were featured in books and linked from websites in the U.S. and elsewhere. She was the co-designer of a course called Research in the Information Age, which she taught through the College of Arts and Letters. She edited the newsletter "Library Update" for thirty years.

She was a member of Beta Phi Mu, the American Library Association, and the Virginia Library Association for most of her career. After retirement, she became a member of the Old Dominion University Faculty Emeriti Association.

Active in the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, Cynthia cherished the 24 years she sang in the choir under composer Adolphus Hailstork. She founded-with others-the Yarmouth Chamber Singers, served three terms on the board, and coordinated the church's covenant circle program for many years.

Star Island, off the New Hampshire coast, was her "spirit's home". She visited in the summertime for decades, beginning in 1983, studying theater, creative writing, music, photography and other visual arts there. She wrote poetry and short fiction.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date at the Unitarian Church of Norfolk.

Memorial donations may be made to the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, 739 Yarmouth Street, Norfolk, Virginia, 23510, or the Star Island Corporation, 30 Middle St, Portsmouth, NH 03801.

Seek not afar for beauty.

In wonder-workings, or some bush aflame,

We look for Truth and fancy it concealed;

But in earth's common things it stands revealed

While grass and flowers and stars spell out its name.

-adapted from Minot Savaage 1841-1918
Published in The Virginian Pilot on May 22, 2014
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