Orlando ‘Lonnie’ George, former Delaware speaker and Del. Tech president, dies at 78

George was president of Delaware Technical Community College for 19 years before retiring in 2014.

Orlando Lonnie George, Jr.

Orlando ‘Lonnie’ George, Jr. died Monday, May 27, 2024. (Courtesy Delaware Technical Community College)

Orlando “Lonnie” George, Jr., who served for many years as the president of Delaware Technical Community College, as well as House speaker, died Monday at 78.

George grew up in Wilmington and became the first person in his family to attend college, earning a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware, his obituary states. George started out as a mathematics instructor at Delaware Tech in 1969, eventually rising to become the school’s fourth president in 1995. George served 19 years in the top job before retiring in 2014.

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George also served in public office. He was a member of Wilmington City Council from 1972 to 1974 and then was elected to the Delaware House from 1974 to 1995. He held powerful positions in the House during his many years there, including speaker and chair of the Joint Finance Committee.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said in a statement that George was dedicated to education and public service.

“You cannot overstate the importance of Lonnie’s impact on DelTech — how he helped the school lift the Delaware economy and reinforce the First State’s workforce,” Coons said. “If I knew nothing else of Lonnie, I knew how deeply he loved Delaware and the people in it. His selfless service to our state every day should be a model and inspiration to us all.”

Lonnie is survived by his wife Linda Krystopolski George, as well as his children Melanie George Smith, Leana Janukowicz, Natalie George and Oliva Walton and grandchildren.

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A celebration of Lonnie’s life will be held June 6 from 5–7 p.m. at the Orlando J. George, Jr. campus of Delaware Technical and Community College.

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