Former Maryland House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., a Democrat from the Eastern Shore who served more than two decades in the General Assembly, died on Thursday night, according to the office of Gov. Larry Hogan.

Mitchell was 83.

First elected to state office in 1971, he served as the 104th Speaker of the House of Delegates from 1987 to 1992.

“As an Army veteran and a distinguished member of the legislature, Speaker Mitchell leaves an indelible mark on our state,” Hogan (R) said in a statement. “Speaker Clay Mitchell was a man for whom I had tremendous respect and admiration. He dedicated his life to serving others and will always be remembered as an icon on the Eastern Shore.”

Mitchell served four years as a commissioner in Kent County before joining the House of Delegates. Before his election as Speaker, he chaired the Eastern Shore delegation and the powerful Appropriations Committee.

“Speaker Mitchell lived a full life and we thank him for dedicating the majority of it to improving the state of Maryland,” Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chair of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement.

Last year Hogan dedicated the Kent Narrows Bridge, which is part of Route 50, in Mitchell’s honor.

On Friday, Hogan ordered state flags flown at half-staff until Mitchell’s interment.