BERLIN – Town officials remembered former mayor Rex Hailey as a dedicated public servant during this week’s Berlin Town Council meeting.
Hailey, who served as a councilman for eight years and then as mayor from 1996-2004, passed away at age 70 on Sept. 1. Mayor Gee Williams and members of the town council took a few moments to recognize his service to the town during Monday’s meeting.
“Mayor Hailey will certainly be remembered for his infectious smile and as a very well-liked citizen of Berlin,” Williams said. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife Shirley and his many friends.”
Williams said that during Hailey’s tenure as mayor, he organized urgent renovations to town hall that modernized the facility but at the same time preserved its historic architecture.
“He was also a strong advocate for providing equitable town services to all neighborhoods,” Williams said.
He added that Hailey had started upgrades to the town’s electric utility that served as a precursor to the more recent major improvements that have brought the town’s electric rates down.
“Under Mayor Hailey’s leadership Berlin initiated significant upgrades to its electric utility over a period of several years which laid the foundation for the efficient and cost effective utility we all enjoy today,” Williams said.
He added that Hailey had been responsible for the extension of town water and sewer to Seahawk Road, providing Stephen Decatur Middle School and Stephen Decatur High School with access to “environmentally sustainable” services.
Town council members fondly recalled Hailey’s penchant for Hawaiian shirts and his love of his red 2002 Ford Thunderbird. Councilman Dean Burrell recalls riding to a meeting with Hailey shortly after he’d purchased the car. He laughed as he remembered the way Hailey looked at him and said “it’s a V8,” before stepping hard on the accelerator.
“He loved his Thunderbird,” Burrell said.
Councilman Elroy Brittingham said he’d appreciated Hailey’s willingness to spend his free time representing the town and attending relevant meetings.
“He was a good guy,” he said. “He was a friend.”
A memorial service for Hailey will be held on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Berlin. In lieu of flowers, his family requests that a donation in his memory may be made to St. Paul’s-By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 302 Baltimore Ave. Ocean City, Md., 21842, or Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, Md. 21804. Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin.