ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff in honor of R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., who passed away June 13.
Mitchell, 83, of Kennedyville started his career in public service as a Kent County commissioner in 1966 and ascended to the leadership of the state House of Delegates.
He represented District 36 in the Maryland House of Delegates for 20-plus years, serving as chairman of the Eastern Shore delegation and as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, before being elected House speaker in 1987 — a position he held until he retired in 1993.
Mitchell became chairman of the Eastern Shore delegation before the end of his first term.
His election as speaker of the House was almost unheard of because he represented the smallest and arguably the least influential county in the state.
In eight election cycles, Mitchell, a lifelong Democrat, never had an opponent, according to colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our 104th Speaker of the House of Delegates, and my good friend, R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. As an Army veteran and distinguished member of the legislature, Speaker Mitchell leaves an indelible mark on our great state," Hogan said in a prepared statement.
“Speaker Clay Mitchell was a man for whom I had tremendous respect and admiration. He dedicated his life to serving others and will always be remembered as an icon on the Eastern Shore. The prayers of Marylanders are with the Mitchell family during this difficult time," Hogan said.
Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.