Community leader Muriel Gilman dies

87-year-old Muriel Gilman was very active and highly respected for her involvement in community service in Delaware.

Gilman died Thursday evening, according to the News Journal.  Gilman worked for 23-years at the United Way of Delaware, serving as executive vice president from 1984 to 1988.  During that time, the United Way grew from just 12 staffers to more than 40, and the fundraising campaign went from $4 million to $15 million.

Gilman was also a consultant to the University of Delaware’s College of Health and Nursing Services from 1988 to 2003, during which she led a campaign that raised more than one million dollars to establish an endowment fund for scholarships at UD’s College of Nursing.  

She joined the Board of Directors at WHYY in September of 2009.  WHYY President and CEO William Marazzo praised her contributions to the community:

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“Muriel was the consumate WHYY board director. She attended virtually all of our community outreach efforts in Delaware and was quick to assume the lead post for a new institutional advancement committee in the state of Delaware. As recently as last weekend she helped us greet many of our major donors at a social and was as always, charming, interesting and a compelling spokesperson for WHYY.

Our thoughts are with Muriel’s children, Martha and Peter, and their families.” 

Gilman’s leadership in the community has been recognized dozens of times over the years. She was on the board of the Delaware Community Foundation.   They established the Muriel Gilman Award as a tribute to her community service and as a volunteer. The award will be presented Thursday March 10th to First Lady Carla Markell.  Here’s a list of some of the other awards Muriel Gilman has received for her service to the state.  We also invite you to offer your comments as well.


1988 – Statement in Observance of Muriel Gilman Day

Governor Michael N. Castle proclaimed Thursday, December 1, 1988 as Muriel E. Gilman Day in the State of Delaware and urged all Delawareans to recognize the contributions Muriel has made to the community.

1993 – American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware (ACLU) Award

For outstanding leadership in the cause of civil liberties in Delaware. Received jointly with husband, Marvin S. Gilman.

1995 – Josiah Marvel Cup Award

Presented by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce for Community Service. Received jointly with husband, Marvin S. Gilman.

1998 – United Way of Delaware Chairman’s Award

For community service.

1999Salute to Pioneer Women

Presented by the Boy Scouts Exploring Division for community leadership and service.

1999 – “She Knows Where She Is Going” Award

Presented by Girls, Inc. for community service and leadership in volunteerism.

2000 The Annual Sydney Steele Award

Presented by The Lorelton, an assisted living facility, for community service.

2002 J. Thompson Brown Award

Presented by Children and Families First for outstanding contributions to family life in Delaware.

2002 Alexis de Tocqueville Award

Humanitarian award for outstanding community advocacy through philanthropic involvement, service and support of United Way of Delaware and the community.

2003National Family Week Advocacy Award

On behalf of Children and Families First and the Alliance for Children and Families in recognition of outstanding support of policies that enhance the lives of children and families for the betterment of the Community of Wilmington, Delaware.

2004Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award

In recognition and grateful appreciation for the generous support, time, talent and energy as a volunteer.

2004 – National Conference of Community & Justice Delaware Region Award (formerly National Conference of Christians & Jews)

Honoree, for leadership and dedication to inclusion for all people in Delaware; to combat bigotry and help build strong communities.

2004Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented by Brooklyn College Alumni Association Post 50th Alumni in recognition of a distinguished career and outstanding achievements which have contributed to the living history of Brooklyn College.

2005 – Inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women

Recognized for outstanding service to the home, the community, the state and the nation.

2006 – YWCA Delaware – Evening of Style Award

For “Power, Style and Brilliance”

2006 – The 21st Century Fund for Delaware Children, Inc. established the Muriel E. Gilman Award to be granted annually to an individual in recognition of outstanding service to improve the lives of at-risk children in Delaware

2007 – American Lung Association of Delaware Recipient of the Dr. Leonard P. Lang Award for commitment to the health of the Delaware Community and service to the American Lung Association of Delaware

2009 – Children & Families First

 Jefferson award for Public Service


2009 Metropolitan Urban League – Lions and Legions Celebration

James H Gilliam, Jr. Humanitarian Award

Presented to a Delawarean who makes generous contributions of their time and resources in support of the community.

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