Camden dedicates new downtown clock

CAMDEN — The so-called “Prime Minister of Camden” would love the snazzy new clock now towering over her hometown’s busy intersection.

And not just because it’s dedicated in her memory.
The late Mary Ann (Simpson) Teller was devoted to serving her lifelong community, including many years on the planning and zoning commission that kept municipal development in neat order.

“She would be pleased to see the area looking as nice as it now does,” her son David said early Monday afternoon during a 15-minute dedication ceremony at the downtown corner of Camden-Wyoming Avenue and Main Street.

Brothers Jeffrey and David Teller donated half of the $40,000 needed to beautify the corner with the clock and paving, with local businesses, Camden mayor, council and staff providing the rest through contributions.

Camden Mayor Justin King, left, is joined by David and Jeffrey Teller under the clock dedicated to their mother Mary Ann Teller. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

The Howard Replica/Seth Thomas clock head weighs about 300 pounds with a 24-inch dial stands nearly 13 feet tall with the pole.
Under a gray sky threatening rain that thankfully held off, a crowd of about 40 gathered for the unveiling as a nearly nonstop flow of traffic rolled by from every direction.

That’s just what Mayor Justin King envisioned for his town a couple years ago as he admired the clock tower at the corner of Loockerman and State streets in Dover. The mayor thought Camden needed the same, not a weed-infested corner of the street in a highly visible part of town.

Camden resident Donna Chappell had raised the idea with council as well after traveling through various small towns with beautiful clocks.

Around the same time, the Teller brothers — both Caesar Rodney High graduates now living out of state — wanted to donate to Camden in their mother’s name, and contacted the town manager Aaron Chaffinch and town manager Jamie Fenske to discuss. An initial option to benefit a police storage shed didn’t quite feel right.

A couple weeks later, the town presented the clock idea to the Tellers.
“It took us about a second to say yes to that,” David Teller said. “She loved the town and making improvements and something as noticeable as this would have been hugely important to her.”

‘Family that served’
The late Ms. Teller spent years on the Camden’s Board of Adjustment and Election Board, and was a long-time substitute teacher in the Caesar Rodney School District. She died on Jan. 3, 2019 at age 86.

“She was part of a family that served and mom felt like she needed to do that,” said David Teller, a global supply chain manager based in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

Jeffrey Teller, a lead appraiser with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District, traveled from Afghanistan to Delaware for the gathering.
“My mother was a caring, well-educated, articulate person with a keen wit who took pride in what she did,” he said, noting the lasting relationships she built with students she taught for so many years.

“She applied those very positive attributes when contributing her time in service of a hometown she very much adored.”

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