Posted: March 19, 2004

Governor Ruth Ann Minner announced Friday that she had appointed Thelma Monroe of Millsboro to be clerk of the peace of Sussex County. 

The clerk's position became vacant following the death of Ray Ellerman on Sunday. 

“Thelma Monroe has served in elected office as mayor of Millsboro and has certainly demonstrated a passion for serving the people of Sussex County,” Gov. Minner said. “She has the kind of caring and warm heart that is a prerequisite for a position where the main duty is to help people get married.” 

Monroe, 76, was elected to five terms as mayor of Millsboro, serving from 1979 to 1994. A native of Millsboro, Monroe is a graduate of Millsboro High School and Goldey-Beacom College. She formerly worked at Monroe’s, her family’s clothing store in Millsboro. She and her husband, Walter, later owned the store, which they sold in 1994.

From 1973 to 1983, Monroe served on the Indian River School Board and also during her time as mayor, she served as president of the Sussex County Association of Towns. She currently serves as chair of the Sussex County Democratic Party. She is married to Walter Monroe and has two sons and two daughters. 

Monroe ran for clerk of the peace in 1998, garnering 47 percent of the vote. 

“I have always been very interested in this position and am thrilled that the Governor has appointed me to fill the position that Ray Ellerman loved so much,” Monroe said. “I’m especially honored to have the opportunity to join couples together in marriage in Sussex County.” 

Though Ellerman’s term would not have expired until after the 2006 election, under Article III, Section 9 of the Delaware Constitution, the Sussex Clerk of the Peace will now be on the ballot this November for a four-year term. Monroe's appointment does not require confirmation by the Delaware State Senate. 

The Sussex Clerk of the Peace Office has been closed this week and unable to issue marriage licenses. Sussex County officials had determined that the Chief Deputy Clerk was not authorized to perform marriages after the death of the elected Clerk of the Peace. Gov. Minner said the circumstances compelled her to act quickly. 

Monroe will be sworn in as clerk next week. 

“Ray Ellerman was unique and well-liked in Sussex County and filling his shoes will be never be completely possible,” Gov. Minner said. “But Thelma will do a fine job for the people of Sussex.”