A Brief History of Delaware State Chapter
Delaware’s roots date Back to May 24, 1941, with the organization of Chapter A at the Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington, New Castle County. Edna S. Pote, a transfer from Fargo, North Dakota, selected the charter list .When researching the history of P.E.O. in Delaware, one cannot overlook a common theme regarding membership in the early years – many of the women were wives of engineers, researchers and other professionals who relocated from various parts of the country to begin or continue their careers with the DuPont company headquartered in Wilmington. Fortunately, many of these women were P.E.O.s anxious to maintain their bonds with the Sisterhood.*
Over the next several decades, more chapters were organized in New Castle County. With the addition of Chapter I in 1975, the state had reached the minimum number of chapters to form a state Chapter but were not obliged to do so. With the successful organization of the South Carolina State Board in May of 1979, the Supreme Chapter Board was hopeful that Delaware would follow suit.
Delaware State Chapter was chartered in 1979 under the leadership of Mary Lou Sherrill. A single phone call from Irene Schell, President of Supreme Chapter on Memorial Day 1979 to Mary Lou, who was the Delaware Reciprocity Chairman, stirred furious activity. Since Delaware had not yet voted to become a State Chapter, a convention needed to be quickly held so as to present the Charter at the Supreme Convention on October 4, 1979.
Mary Lou made many more phone calls, so much
so that her BIL, Horace, thought the phone had
been surgically attached to her ear. Members were
able to convene a special meeting on June 5th to
vote to petition for a State Charter. Supreme
Chapter approve a convention venue and in short
order committees were appointed, by-laws and finances were established, Invitations were mailed , and a slate of officers was proposed. On September 15th, 1979, Mary Lou presided over the first Delaware State Convention (A Bright New Star in Delaware) and received the charter in Anaheim, CA.
Mary Lou Sherrill, our first state president and founder of our Past State President’s Marguerite Circle, was later honored to be appointed to the international ELF Board following her term as president of the Delaware State Chapter. She attended many more International Conventions and led the Delaware Marguerite Circle until her health began to decline. She entered Chapter Eternal on December 31, 2015.
*Previously prepared for inclusion in We Who Are Sisters, 150 Years of the P.E.O. Sisterhood.
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