I’m sad to report on the passing of four citizens who served our country and community in many ways. I want to take a moment to pay tribute to Father Edmond Speitel, Fred Hoffman, Judy Kolea and Bob Wilent.
Father Speitel touched many lives as pastor at St. Frances in our St. Damien Parish here in Ocean City, and that’s how many of us know him. He was a World War II veteran before his ordination, and he returned to combat as a chaplain in Vietnam. His military career was just a small part of his six decades of dedication to God, church, veterans and all the people of his parish.
An educator, athlete, coach and proud father, Fred was a member of the Ocean City Board of Education and a long-time advocate for local youth. He volunteered with many community organizations and was a familiar face in the north end of town. Fred was never afraid to speak his mind, but he always was respectful of everybody in the community. I sat with Fred on the school board, and I’m grateful to have learned many things from him. I know I’m a better public servant because of him.
Judy was a member of the Ocean City Yacht Club, Ocean City Republican Club and local volunteer whose family remains an important part of the community. There are a lot of folks on the lagoons who fondly remember days and nights spent with Judy and family.
I want to echo City Council’s tribute to Bob from last night. Bob owned and operated a home improvement business in town with a reputation for service and fairness. He was an active social member of the local VFW post and a good friend to many people in town.
These are examples of the many people in Ocean City who make a difference in our lives through their everyday actions. I hope you all will join Michele and me in extending condolences and prayers to the families and friends of these four members of our community.
Grand marshal Barbara Eden will lead the annual Doo Dah Parade down Asbury Avenue and the Boardwalk on Saturday starting at noon rain or shine. She’ll be back to host the Mr. Mature America Pageant at 7 p.m. Saturday, and tickets are still available. See more information on these and all our upcoming events .
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Mayor Jay A. Gillian