CANTON — Selectman Jackie Conant was remembered by friends and co-workers Tuesday as a “tireless” and “dedicated” volunteer, and a “super human being.”

Conant passed away Sunday evening at the Androscoggin Hospice House. She was 68.

Susan Jennings, the Oxford County Extension educator for the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center, described Conant as “an incredible volunteer.”

“We met through the 4-H camp program and have worked with each other for more than 25 years,” Jennings said. “Jackie worked with a lot of groups and was really behind helping kids out with whatever they needed. She was able to get very involved with the local community when she was president of the Maine Extension Homemakers Council.”

Jennings said Conant’s face would “always light up” whenever they discussed the foreign exchange student program, a program that Conant was involved with for most of her life.

“I think that, for Jackie, it was one of the most significant things in her life,” Jennings said. “She felt like a mom to these young people whom she took in, especially a Costa Rican boy whom she hosted. I know she was able to travel and actually visit the home of that boy in Costa Rica. It was very important to Jackie.”

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Conant and Jennings’ relationship extended beyond the 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond.

“I absolutely considered her a friend outside of work,” Jennings said. “She was definitely what I would call a dedicated volunteer, but I’m glad to call her a friend too.”

Harold Brown, former president of the 4-H Foundation and extension educator for more than 30 years, said he knew Conant very well “both at work and outside of work.”

“I knew the Conants for most of my life,” Brown said, “and Jackie was just an absolute pleasure to work with and a fantastic friend.”

Brown added that Conant was the “epitome of the word ‘volunteer.’”

“The big thing is that she had fun volunteering,” Brown said, “and as a result, the kids that she worked with had fun too.”

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Conant’s relationship with the foreign exchange student program was something “near and dear to her heart,” according to Brown.

“She had a couple of students from Costa Rica who came up to Maine and spent an entire school year at her house,” Brown said. “She also worked with the Japanese exchange student program, and in each case, she became so bonded to them, they were like family. It was an amazing gift she had; to be able to watch the kids grow as they spent more time with her.

“Plus, the relationship with her exchange students didn’t end after they returned home,” Brown said. “I know she visited Costa Rica and actually stayed with her exchange student. When he got married, she attended. She’s just a super human being.”

Byron resident Irene Hutchinson, who also served as past president of the Maine Extension Homemakers Council, said she worked with Conant for “many years” in connection with the 4-H Camp and found her to be a “hard worker.”

“She was always there to help you out of a jam, no matter what it was,” Hutchinson said. “She was happy and full of life.”

Hutchinson laughed as she remembered a time that Conant, herself and other members of the 4-H Cooperative Extension took a trip and got lost.

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“Jackie was the driver and after we ended up lost, we joked around and gave her a hard time,” Hutchinson said. “When we got back, we bought her a compass and a map and told her she wouldn’t get lost anymore. She got a kick out of that.”

Born in Rumford, Conant eventually moved to Canton, where she attended and graduated from Canton schools and went on to Bliss College in Lewiston, graduating in 1963.

Conant spent more than 30 years working with the Canton Town Office. She was deputy town clerk and, eventually, town clerk. In addition to these roles, she worked as the town’s tax collector and served on the Board of Selectmen, the Town Restructuring Committee and on the Canton Dam Project Committee.

Conant was also an avid volunteer. She worked with 4-H Camp in Bryant Pond and held many positions both locally and throughout the state, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the 4-H Conservation Camp. She was a past president of the Oxford County and State Cooperative Extension, worked with the Canton Food Bank and Lake Anasagunticook Association and gave swimming lessons to the locals.

Conant also worked with Community Concepts, organized Relay for Life teams and volunteered with Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice.

The funeral for Conant is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the United Baptist Church of Canton.

[email protected]

Jacqueline E. “Jackie” Conant

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