In Memoriam

Milford to celebrate the life of former Mayor Ronnie Rogers

by Terry Rogers  

Mayor Joseph “Ronnie” Rogers and his wife, Ruth


On Sunday, August 30, former Mayor Joseph “Ronnie” Rogers passed away at his home. Mayor Rogers served the City of Milford as Mayor for more than three decades before stepping down for health reasons in 2014.

“I had a stroke in January,” Mayor Rogers said at the time of his retirement.  “The doctor told me it was time to slow down, so I decided it was time to step down.  This was more on doctor’s orders than anything, but will look forward to some relaxation.” 

Mayor Rogers was born April 11, 1938 in Milford, the son of Joseph and Evelyn Rogers. He graduated from Milford High School in 1956 and opened a service station in the city soon after graduation. He was also a salesman for Monumental Insurance for 30 years and a member of the National Guard for six years. Mayor Rogers was a lifelong member of the Milford Elks Lodge, Milford Lions Club, Milford Jaycees and Sussex County Association of Town Mayors (SCAT) along with many other civic organizations. He was a member of the Milford Moose and served as governor of the lodge at one time. He was a lifelong member of Calvary United Methodist Church and served on the Board of Trustees

Mayor Rogers was first elected to city government in 1972 as a councilman representing the First Ward.  Today, that ward is represented by Michael Boyle and Dan Marabello, who defeated Mayor Rogers as Mayor in 2008 by just seven votes. Councilman Marabello served two years and Mayor Rogers was re-elected in 2010. Prior to losing the election in 2008, Mayor Rogers was the longest serving mayor in the state, a record he still holds.

“I had the honor of serving as Mayor of Milford for one term,” Councilman Marabello said. “Mayor Rogers’ many years of public service was extraordinary and is a testament of his dedication and love of Milford. My condolences to his wife, Ruth, and extended family.”

Representative Bryan Shupe, who took over the reins as Mayor when Mayor Rogers retired in 2014, worked closely with the long-term public servant as a Councilman with Ward 1 and as he shifted into the role of leading the City.

“Mayor Rogers’ commitment to over forty years of public service speaks directly to his character,” Representative Shupe, said. “He truly cared for the residents of his hometown and wanted the best for Milford. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on through the impact he has made over the years throughout our community.”

City Clerk Terri Hudson recalled that Mayor Rogers had such a great compassion and heart for the people he represented. He was the only elected official she knew that was involved in Milford City government before Hudson was hired by the City.

“Over those decades, he will always be remembered for being so outgoing, always having a smile on his face,” Hudson said. “When you were in his company, you just felt good about it. He was known up and down the state on a first name basis with everyone, and remarkably, never forgot a person’s name. He had a keen sense of humor, something he often used to connect with people, but often to make a point in the middle of what might be a contentious Council meeting, thus softening the tone.”

Hudson recalled how one night she was working late at City Hall with then receptionist Carlene Wilson, preparing for an upcoming City Election, when an unfamiliar car pulled up in the front drive of City Hall and turned out its lights. Finding it suspicious for that time of night, and seeing more than one person in the vehicle, they contacted Milford Police Department to respond to a suspicious person complaint. Several police cars arrived and the officers, with hands on their weapons, demanded everyone exit the vehicle, only to learn it was Mayor Rogers and his coworker who had returned from an upstate event. Mayor Rogers was being dropped off at his vehicle which he had left at City Hall earlier that day.

“We did not know his vehicle was still in the parking lot,” Hudson said. “Mayor Rogers would never let us forget that, always kidding that ‘no one mess around with Terri and Carlene because they always call for backup.’ He was part of our family and I remember he and Ruth being at my wedding and later attending such milestone events as baptisms, birthdays and graduations. Once I made the move to City Hall after being appointed City Clerk in 1997, whenever Mayor Rogers spoke at any event, he always made a point of introducing me as his right hand.”

During his time in office, Mayor Rogers was proudest of the fact the City ran smoothly and was in very good financial condition. He was also pleased that the City decided against allowing Delmarva Power to take over the electric system.

“I met Mayor Rogers when I first moved here,” Mayor Archie Campbell said. “He welcomed me to Milford and told me if I ever needed anything to give him a call. I thought that was nice since I didn’t know anyone here. He did a lot for this town, helping it grow but keeping the small-town atmosphere. He was so very proud to be the Mayor of Milford. He left big shoes to fill but he made this job easier for Bryan and myself. Our condolences to his family and to the City of Milford as we have lost a man who was proud to not only be from Milford but to lead this City.”

Hudson echoed Mayor Campbell’s sentiments.

“Ronnie was just a fine public servant, a wonderful person and a caring and dear friend to Keith and I,” Hudson said. “I was devastated when I got the call from his son, Joey, to let me know that Ronnie had passed. My thoughts are with Ruth, Joey and the rest of their family who were always so close and supportive of him throughout his political career and even more so once his health began to fail.”

Former City Manager and Police Chief Richard Carmean worked closely with Mayor Rogers for more than 40 years. He stated that Mayor Rogers would probably always be known as Milford’s longest serving Mayor and that he would always be considered Mr. Milford.

“He and his wife were at every City function,” Carmean said. “But he would also be at funerals, graduations, school programs, parades, the judging of pageants, and he would be recognized by most of the people attending. He believed it was his responsibility to represent the City and to be the face of Milford. He just loved to be in the presence of people, shaking their hands, whether they were grieving, celebrating or just sitting on a stool at the Diner.”

Although the mayor saw many challenges as the leader of the city, some of the biggest challenges he faced were personal.  In his first year in office, Mayor Rogers and his wife, Ruth, lost a daughter in April of that year, and in July, the same year, lost a son.  He credits the citizens of Milford with getting the family through those difficult times, and today, the couple credits the support they received in the community and their faith in God for getting them through a difficult personal tragedy.

Carmean recalls that difficult period in Mayor Rogers life and says that it helped the two men build not only a professional relationship, but a personal one that changed Carmean’s life as well.

“As a young Chief of Police, I had to go to the Mayor’s home, ask him to sit down and then advise him his daughter had been killed in a motor vehicle accident,” Carmean said. “In a short ten weeks, I had to go to his home and repeat the same conversation. His youngest son had lost his life in a motorcycle accident. At his son’s funeral, he took my hand and said “Chief, I had three children, and I only have one left.” He then said, “Please don’t knock on my door unless you call first. I hope you understand.” That experience creates a connection that few people can understand. He never got over those losses, but he leaned on his wife, Ruth, and his son, Joey. Many people who knew the Mayor have passed on, but I ask all Milfordians to remember him kindly. Love and peace to his family.”

Services are planned in the sanctuary of Lighthouse Christian Center at 347 Calvary Road on Wednesday, September 9. Friends may call after 10 AM at the church with a formal viewing starting at Noon and a funeral service at 1 PM. Interment will be private. The family asks that all those who attend wear masks and that they adhere to social distancing and gathering protocols. Flowers are accepted or the family requests donations to Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, Delaware 19963 in Mayor Rogers’ name.

In honor of Mayor Rogers’ service, Governor John Carney ordered flags in Delaware flown at half-mast on Wednesday, September 9.


In Memoriam

Audrey Haack

On December 28, 2019, Audrey Haack, went home to be with the Lord.
She was born on April 3, 1933 in Milford, DE to the late William Stanley and Elsie Hunter.
Audrey was a graduate of Milford High School.

She worked for 30 years at Playtex as an Accounting Clerk.
Mrs. Haack was a member of the “Home Demonstration Ladies Club” and was remembered for some of the fine crafts they created.

She was passionate about Delaware history and was an avid collector of Japanese Satsuma Pottery.
Audrey was preceded in death by her husband Clifford Haack, her parents, and her brother Harold Hunter.
She is survived by her children, Edward Johnson Salevan, III and his wife Margaret, David Allan Salevan and his wife Lisa, Holly S. Helmick and her husband Eugene, and Jeffrey Hunter Salevan, Sr., her grandchildren; Jeffrey Hunter Salevan, II, Jared Hill Salevan, Jasmine Helena Clogg, Christopher Helmick, Patrick Helmick, Steven Salevan, and Julia Salevan, and five great grandchildren.

The family will receive visitors at Rogers Funeral Home, 301 Lakeview Ave, Milford, from 10AM to 12 noon on Monday 1/6, with a funeral service at 12 noon.

Interment will be Milford Community Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the Food Bank of Delaware, Milford Branch, 1040 Mattlind Way, Milford, DE 19963.

Headlines In Memoriam Sports

Troy Haynes Passes Away

By Kevin Eickman

Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we lose sight of what this is all about. Participating in or covering high school athletics, we forget these are not just players in a game. These are real live human beings who are receiving an education and beginning the most exciting times of their lives.

In the case of former Woodbridge quarterback Troy Haynes, he was dealt one of the most devastating hands a young man can get. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with cancer. At first it was thought to be just in his kidney but it was quickly discovered he had a very aggressive form of the disease. He required intensive treatment with a bleak diagnoses.

Having a chance to speak with Haynes following his diagnosis, he was very optimistic that he would be able to beat it, no matter the odds. The entire Delaware football community rallied around him, with both emotional and financial support. In the words of Milford coach Shaun Strickland, “Troy Haynes was a true champion, his presence these last few months transcended the game of football, it broke down district lines and brought an entire state together. He brought awareness to a rare form of cancer as he battled day in and day out when others would have just given up!. I one day hope I leave that inedible mark on one life as Troy Haynes did on mine.”

Haynes was a champion in every sense of the word. Quarterbacking Woodbridge to a pair of State Championships, he was much more than a football player. Everyone who met him was a better person for having done so. With a contagious smile and a zest for life, there was little doubt that the world is a lesser place for him having passed away this Sunday.



The many words that could be used to describe his time at Woodbridge are limitless. If one had to choose, it would be competitor. Haynes was a multi-sport athlete with a competitive streak a mile wide.

During a conversation in May, he was asked what he loved most about football. Haynes was quick to respond, “It’s all about being with my teammates and my coaches. They are family to me, you can’t imagine how wonderful it is to be a part of that.”

The one thing about family is that they are always there for you. Over the last six months the size and love of his family rose by the day. The #fightlike4 movement became a battle cry as all of Delaware pulled for and demonstrated their love for a person most of them had never met.

In June Haynes mustered all his strength for one last moment of glory, on the same football field on which he had enjoyed so many marvelous nights. Ravaged by illness and treatment, he made his way unassisted to receive his diploma. It was a chance for him once again to demonstrate what Champions do. They do not quit; they fight. There is a lesson in that for all of us.

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Culture In Memoriam milford-live

Milford Photographer Passes Away

by Terry Rogers


On Sunday, September 8, 2019, Allyson April Abel, who was well known for her wildlife photography, passed away. Abel was 54 years old.

Born prematurely on March 9, 1965 to Diane Marie Dean and David Sterling Dean in Waco, Texas, Abel graduated magna cum laude from Wesley College with a  Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts. She also held an Associate of Applied Science in Office Administration Technology which she earned from Delaware Technical and Community College, graduating summa cum laude.

When she was young, Abel worked in her family’s business, Cosmic Bakers, in Rehoboth Beach. She also worked at Crabtree and Evelyn as well as REDfish Designs before completing her degrees. She was introduced to the beauty of photography as an art form by Joseph Mullan. Abel was a freelance reporter and photographer for the News Journal starting in 2013 after working as the Volunteer Coordinator at Delaware Hospice from 2008 to 2013. She also served as a hospice volunteer since 1997.

As a fine arts photographer, April exhibited in Delaware and was published in the News Journal, Delaware Beach Life magazine, Outdoor Delaware magazine and the Milford Chronicle. Abel was featured in a 2013 News Journal article entitled “Peace at Prime Hook,” by Betsy Price and in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife  Service video, photographing the marshes and wildlife of Prime Hook. Abel was an exhibiting member of the Rehoboth Art League and was the Marketing Chairperson as well as a board member of the Mispillion Art League.

Abel was credited with having the gift of capturing the natural beauty of wildlife. She also had a desire to capture the unseen beauty of her hometown of Milford, often capturing the Riverwalk in the early morning light.

“I believe that if you look differently, you will see differently,” Abel said in an interview in 2013. “I have lived here for five years now. I wanted to photograph all aspects of the Riverwalk and see what it had to show me. By traveling much of the Riverwalk by foot at dawn, I saw it differently than I have when I traveled smaller segments. I think Milford has lots to offer but sometimes those of us who live here overlook it.”

Abel was one of only four photographers nationwide chosen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a story on wildlife photographers in the National Wildlife Refuges. She was employed with the Delaware State Parks from 2014 until the time of her death, starting her career with them as an Exhibits Coordinator and later becoming a State Parks Photographer. Abel was known for visiting local beaches, waterways, ponds and refuges to capture wildlife in their natural habitat in the early morning hours. According to her family, Abel had an abiding love of nature and an exceptional eye for finding beauty in her surroundings, no matter where she was.

In addition to photography, Abel was known for her wry sense of humor as well as her love of reading, kayaking, gardening, singing, creating delicious food and spending time with the people she treasured. She was married to Jack Abel for 20 years, supporting his growth and development as a Methodist minister until they divorced in 2008. She is survived by her father David Dean, her mother, Diane Dean, as well as her sister and brother-in-law, Pam and Jack McCarthy. She is also survived by her niece, Laura Griffith and her husband Ryan,; nephew Brian McCarthy and his wife, Kristin; nephew Mike McCarthy and his wife, Stephanie; nephew Chris McCarthy along with great-nieces and nephews Ryan Griffith, Elie McCarthy, Duncan McCarthy, Molly McCarthy and Tilly McCarthy. She also left behind her beloved tuxedo cat, Nicky.

According to her wishes, a celebration of life was held at one of her favorite places, Killens Pond State Park on September 14. Rosemary Connelly whose late husband Bob, also an accomplished photographer was a mentor to Abel, attended the celebration.

“The world has lost a beautiful person and mine in particular will never be the same,” Connelly stated. “April was with me at Bob’s death and I will be forever grateful for her strength and her kindness. Farewell, dear friend.”

Abel’s photographs can be seen at and the family has requested, also according to her wishes, that instead of flowers, donations be made in her name to the Delaware Nature Society, P.O. Box 700, Hockessin, DE 19707 to preserve open land in Delaware.


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