Remembering former Wilmington City Council President Ted Blunt

‘Wilmington lost one of its greatest leaders and public servants,’ said current Council President Trippi Congo.

Ted Blunt smiles, posing for a photo

Ted Blunt is being remembered as community leader, public servant, and loving family man. (courtesy Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester)

Top leaders throughout Delaware offered their condolences and memories following the death of Ted Blunt, former council president and member of Wilmington City Council for 24 years. Blunt was 80 years old.

“Wilmington lost one of its greatest leaders and public servants,” said current Council President Trippi Congo. “Wilmington lost one of its greatest leaders and public servants … Throughout his political career, he always kept his feet humbly on the ground and his heart rooted in his beloved city.”

Congo pointed to Blunt’s achievements, which included making scholarships available for students citywide, extending hours at community centers and securing funding to help “at-risk” students. He was also remembered as a family man who was “larger than life,” Congo said.

Blunt stood by his daughter’s side on election night in November 2016 as Lisa Blunt Rochester became the first woman and first Black representative to serve Delaware in the U.S. House.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“My heart is broken at the passing of my father, my hero, and my inspiration,” Blunt Rochester said in a post on social media. “Dad was an educator, mentor, leader, and friend to so many. My family asks for your grace, prayers, and privacy as we mourn his loss.”

Before his political career, Blunt was a star athlete who played college basketball at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, back when it was called Winston-Salem Teachers College. He was the 1963 CIAA Tournament MVP and named to the all-conference team three seasons. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, he  tried out for the U.S. Olympic team in 1964.

In a virtual reception President Biden hosted for Blunt  in October 2022, Biden recognized Blunt for his sports skills.

“Ted, you and I have known each other for a long time,” Biden said. “You were a significant public official, but you’re also probably one of the best college basketball players in history. Not a joke.  He was an all-American.”

The Biden-Blunt connection is deep in part because one of Ted’s other daughters, Marla Blunt Carter, served as project manager and director of constituent services for Biden during part of his years in the U.S. Senate.

“But this guy — not only can he play ball—  the reason his daughters have this kind of, I don’t know, spark to change the world is because he did that too,” Biden said during a Black History Month event at the White House last February.

Blunt’s third daughter took a different path than politics but has been no less successful. Thea Blunt Fowler is an engineer who spent 25 years at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Test Center. She’s now project manager at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations in Atlanta.

It was that family connection that U.S Sen. Chris Coons remembered as one of Blunt’s greatest attributes.

“Ted Blunt helped me believe it was possible to be in politics and still not lose sight of what matters to you the most: your family,” Coons said. “Ted confronted each moment, big or small, with his infectious smile and determination to accomplish what was just and necessary for the greater good.”

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper echoed those words.“I had the privilege and joy of knowing Ted for more than 30 years as a fellow public servant. He had a remarkable life and Delaware is a better place because of his work and devotion to the First State,” Carper said in a statement.

After graduating from WSSU with a degree in elementary education, Blunt later received a master’s degree in social work from what was then Rutgers in New Jersey. In 1974, he got a job with the Red Clay Consolidated School District, where he worked for more than 30 years.

Throughout his career, he remained active in the community, serving as chairman of the Wilmington Housing Authority Board, and as board member of the Christina Cultural Arts Center and the Kingswood Community Center.

Blunt also remained connected to Winston-Salem State and joined the Board of Trustees, eventually serving as president of the board and as chairman of the school’s endowment fund.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal