Rutherford County Health Department Director Dana Garrett Montgomery died unexpectedly Wednesday.
Shelley Walker, media relations director for the Tennessee Department of Health, told the Murfreesboro Post, “It is with great sadness that I can confirm the passing of our beloved colleague Dana Garrett. Dana was a devoted nurse, a passionate public health advocate and a respected leader in our organization and her community. She will be greatly missed as a coworker and friend, and we join her family in grieving her loss.”
Garrett worked for the local health department for 20 years, Walker said.
County Commissioner Joe Gourley said his daughter once worked with Garrett, and called her “one of the top in the state.”
“I’m shocked,” Gourley said. “I had a lot of conversations with Dana Garrett, and she really put her heart and soul into making this county a healthier place to live.”
Gourley said Garrett trained her assistant well and the county health department is in good hands.
“That is the sign of a good leader,” he said. “I have no fear the health department will move forward.”
The Rutherford County government said in a statement, “Dana’s passion was to serve this community and she did it so well. She led us through this pandemic with such professionalism and grace. She will truly be missed. Our sincerest condolences go out to her husband, Steven, and her extended family at the Rutherford County Health Department.”
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.