BERLIN – Worcester County lost a friend and devoted advocate last week with the passing of Louise Gulyas.
Gulyas, a former county commissioner, died Dec. 17 at Atlantic General Hospital. The well-known Ocean City resident, just the second woman ever to be elected a county commissioner, served four terms before retiring in 2014.
“Louise was a great lady and a good friend to everybody that knew her in Ocean City,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said at this week’s meeting of the Ocean City Mayor and Council. “She was out and about all the time and wherever you went, there was Louise. She served Ocean City, her family and her community very well and she will definitely be missed.”
Gulyas’ commitment to public service was recalled by many this week, both in Ocean City and at the county level.
“Louise loved people and everybody she met became an instant friend,” said Jim Bunting, president of the county commissioners. “She championed the needs of her district and the interests of the entire county as a whole.”
That, says Sonny Bloxom, is what he really respected about Gulyas. Bloxom first worked with her as a county commissioner and again when he served as county attorney. He said she took her role as a county commissioner seriously and worked for the district she represented but also the rest of the area.
“She cared about the entire county,” Bloxom said.
Causes she was particularly committed to were education and senior services. Gulyas represented the county commissioners on the Worcester County Commission on Aging Board of Directors and the Wor-Wic Community College Board of Trustees. She also served as a member of the Gray Shore Committee Task Force, MAC Inc. and the Tri-County Council Health Care Committee. She even chaired the state’s Commission on Aging. Earlier this year, she was named to the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
At the federal level, she served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.
“She certainly was known for senior issues,” Bloxom said. “She wanted to make sure we offered the best services for seniors.”
He said other projects she put strong support behind were the construction of Worcester Technical High School and the creation of the Delmarva Discovery Center. They were among many projects she helped “shepherd through” during her 16 years as a commissioner.
“She was a very forceful personality and a real doer,” Bloxom said. “She was no shrinking violet. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. She and I shared many a laugh.”
And while she did serve all of Worcester County, she always took a special interest in the resort she called home. Meehan, who knew her for more than four decades, said she’d been actively involved in the Ocean City Beautification Committee and was one of the first people to advocate for putting up lights along the Boardwalk. She helped found Winterfest of Lights, was a longtime member of the Ocean City Lioness Club and a firm supporter of the Ocean City Development Corporation.
“For those of you who knew Louise, she was very straightforward in her approach,” he said. “You always knew where Louise stood and she usually got her way. Sometimes, she had to push a little bit, but usually it was because she truly believed in what she was doing.”
County Commissioner Bud Church also lauded Gulyas’ commitment to the community.
“Louise was one of the most dedicated public servants I’ve ever known,” he said. “She referred to Ocean City as ‘My Ocean City’ in almost every conversation I ever had with her. Worcester County and Ocean City lost a true public servant.”
Gulyas will be honored with a Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 at 11 a.m. at Holy Savior Catholic Church in Ocean City. Visitation with the family will begin at 9:30 a.m. Interment will be private for the family.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in her memory may be made to: Holy Savior Catholic Church, 17th Street and Philadelphia Ave. Ocean City, Md. 21842, or to the Ocean City Senior Center, 104 41st St. Ocean City, Md. 21842.
Letters of condolence may be sent via: www.burbagefuneralhome.com.