In photo, from left: State Reps. Harvey Kenton, Jack Peterman, and Dave Wilson.
State Rep. Jack Peterman Passes Away
at the Age of 74
The family of State Rep. Jack Peterman, R-Milford, has announced that the incumbent legislator passed away from an undisclosed illness late this morning.
In March, following surgery to treat prostate cancer, Rep. Peterman announced he would not seek re-election this year.
In a letter mailed to his 33rd Representative District constituents at the time, Rep. Peterman wrote: "Throughout my life, I have always devoted my full commitment and energy to every job. My responsibilities to you in public service demand that same commitment. After a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I’ve decided not to seek your support and run for re-election this November."
First elected to the State House of Representatives in 2010, Rep. Peterman was finishing his third, two-year term. Previously, he had a long tenure serving on Kent County Levy Court as both a commissioner and president.
Rep. Peterman struggled with health issues in recent years, undergoing multiple surgeries on his back to correct pinched nerves that caused chronic pain and impaired motor function.
"Jack Peterman was an inspiration to his colleagues in the General Assembly," said State House Minority Leader Danny Short, R-Seaford. "Over the last three years of his life, he was in almost constant pain. There were many occasions during that period when his health would have been better served by his remaining at home, but he pushed himself to get to the capitol just to ensure his constituents were heard in the legislature."
State House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson, R-Fairthorne, also lauded Rep. Peterman’s dedication and service. "Jack was usually mild-mannered, but he was always ready to dig in his heels in defense of a position or an issue that impacted his district," Rep. Hudson. "He brought a unique perspective and insight to the public policy debate that cannot be replaced and will be missed for its absence."
A life-long resident of the Milford area, Jack Peterman graduated from Milford High School and earned his living in agriculture — one of the few serving state legislators with farming experience. He was a former board member of the Frederica Senior Center, a past president of the Frederica Lions Club, and a former board member of the Food Bank of Delaware.
Under Delaware law (Title 15, Section 7102b), Rep. Peterman’s passing will leave the 33rd Representative District seat vacant until citizens choose a successor in the general election this fall. The district is located in southeast Kent County and includes the municipalities of Magnolia, Bowers Beach, Frederica, Houston, and the northern portion of Milford.
Funeral arrangements are being made, but have not yet been announced.