Black Mountain's Delaware natives reflect on Joe Biden's inauguration

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
A Joe Biden billboard in Wilmington, Delaware.

There was a tissue box in front of Joyce and Fritz Ackerman while the couple watched Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day. The Delaware natives say they were proud to see Biden, who moved to the state at 10 years old, become president.

Fritz was born and raised in Wilmington while Joyce, while not having been born in the state, was raised in Claymont. Biden attended Archmere Academy in Claymont, a rival of Fritz’s high school.

Because of the state’s size at just under 2,500-square miles and three total counties, the Ackermans say seeing Biden was a regular occurrence.

“Everybody in Delaware knows everybody, and your chances of coming across or interacting with your senators and congresspeople and the governor and all those officials are much higher than it is in most states,” Fritz said.

“You’d go to a restaurant and you’d sit down and all of a sudden you’d notice, ‘Oh, there’s Joe,’” Joyce said.

While working as a banker before retiring to Black Mountain, Fritz says the now-president Biden would attend the same social events as him as a “perennial speaker.” Fritz’s sister, Barbara, attended the University of Delaware with Biden’s wife, Jill.

Jill and Barbara later worked together while teaching at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover. Fritz remembers Barbara once telling Jill that their mother, who was recovering in the hospital, was a “definite fan” of Joe.

The Bidens surprised Fritz and Barbara’s mother with a visit.

“She was a big fan of Joe, and she made no secret of how handsome she thought he was and what a great guy he was,” Fritz said.

Susan Edwards, who worked for another member of Delaware’s congressional delegation during Biden’s time as a senator, “would never expect anybody from Delaware to be president.”

“Up in Delaware, celebrating Joe Biden, people are just thrilled beyond belief,” Edwards said. “I think we were even shocked when he became vice president because that’s something Delaware never had.”

Edwards is from Milton, “about 15 miles from the Biden beach house,” and primarily worked at offices in Wilmington and Dover as a volunteer and delegate. Biden’s staff, who “worked down the hall,” were colleagues of Edwards.

Susan Edwards' Joe Biden sticker.

She and her husband, Ken, say Biden was a regular sight.

“Joe Biden could go anywhere in Delaware and know people on a first-name basis,” Ken said. “You would be amazed because that’s what he’s been doing since 1970.”

The Edwards lived together in Delaware for 30 years before Susan says she “stumbled upon Black Mountain and immediately thought this is a great place.” 

As Delaware natives, the Ackerman and Edwards families say they are “totally” proud to have the state represented at the White House.

“Like in tears,” Joyce said.