Obituaries – April 16, 2021

Michael Alexander Strauss

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Michael Alexander Strauss

OCEAN CITY — Michael Alexander Strauss, age 66, born Dec. 9, 1954 the beloved son of Mona Strauss of Ocean City and Chestertown and the late Dr. Robert Strauss, passed away peacefully at the home of his mother on March 9, 2021 after a short illness. He is sadly missed.

A 1976 graduate of Yale University, Michael also held a Master’s degree in Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. He played in a number of orchestras in the United States and abroad, as principal violist of Omaha Symphony for 11 years and the Cedar Rapids Symphony for eight years before moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1999 where he was principal violist of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and a founding member of the Mariner String Quartet.

Michael’s role as a teacher and mentor to string students was central to his identity as a musician. In recent years, he conducted a private teaching studio in Upper Gwynedd, Pa.

His lifelong quest for ways to improve the teaching of string instruments resulted in the development of a unique program that utilizes whole brain learning. Exercise volumes for violin, viola and cello and the teaching manual, Metatechnical Systems for Strings, accelerate the learning process. The first volume develops tone, note-reading, rhythm, and intonation. The second volume develops shifting, glissando, velocity, ear-training, and vibrato. Both students and experienced players benefit when they utilize this new and revolutionary teaching system for string instruments.

Michael was also a writer and a poet. Beach Sequences, a volume of poetry written during a winter sojourn in Ocean City, and A Tao for Now: The Music of Lao-Tsu are being readied for publication.

Michael became a father later in life and relished that role. He was extremely proud of his son Arhon Strauss, a sophomore at Phillips Exeter Academy, who like his father has a writing bent.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his son, Arhon; two sisters, Dr. Sarah Strauss of Holden, Mass. and Jane Strauss, Esq. of Minneapolis, Minn; five nieces; and two nephews.


Peter G. Sulzer

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Peter G. Sulzer

SNOW HILL — On April 1, 2021, Peter G Sulzer died in Snow Hill at the age of 98.

A noted inventor in the field of electronics, Mr. Sulzer designed and developed oscillators that were used in a number of early space flights, in 1960s versions of highly-accurate clocks, in timing live television broadcasts, and in many other applications.

His Goldstone Quartz Oscillator is on display at the National Museum of American History Behring Center. He is credited with inventing the first fully transistorized quartz oscillator.

In 1951, while working at the Bureau of Standards, he and Franklin Montgomery were the first civilians to bounce a radio signal off the face of the moon in facilitating long-range radio telephone communication without the use of cables.

In 1957 he founded Sulzer Laboratories, producing oscillators and frequency standards that were noted for their elegant, brilliant designs and high-quality performance that made him a leader in the field.

A resident of Maryland since 1948, and of Snow Hill since 1977, Peter Gustav Sulzer was born in Media, Pa. on Aug. 3, 1922. His father and mother owned a well-known antique shop in Cheyney, Pa. Early in his life he demonstrated his technical prowess and strong sense of will. At age fourteen he built on his own an 80-foot-tall tower that allowed him to broadcast short-wave radio signals around the world.

Mr. Sulzer attended Drexel University and Penn State, where he received a BS and a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering. During World War II he put his education at Drexel on hold to enlist in the Army, where he served in the Signal Corps.

In 1997 he was awarded the C.B. Sawyer Award for outstanding contributions to electronics for his “low noise, low drift rate Sulzer oscillator design.”

Always designing and building, he was also an expert glass-blower and lathe machinist. Among his many creations were a series of double-hulled speed boats, a device for measuring electromagnetic radiation, and a bowling ball for use in ten-pin bowling.

He is pre-deceased by Katherine Burnham Follin, his wife of 64 years, and is survived by his three sons and their wives, Michael and Bernadette Balco Sulzer, of Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Steven and Natalie Sulzer, of Union, Me.; and James Sulzer and Barbara Elder, of Nantucket, Mass.; by six grandchildren, William, Robert, Katherine, Alessandra, Ian, and Stefanie; and four great-grandchildren, Jaanavi, Edward, Roberta and Sebastian.

Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin, Maryland. Condolences may be shared with the family via:


Kimberly Irene Riley

SALISBURY — Kimberly Irene Riley, age 61, went to be with her Lord, on Wednesday April 7, 2021, at her home in Salisbury.

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Kimberly Irene Riley

Born March 14, 1960, she is the daughter of Ronald Mundis and Pamela (Hivner) Mundis of Red Lion, Pa. She is also survived by a step-mother, Sue Mundis, also of Red Lion, Pa. In addition, she is survived by her husband, James L. Riley of Salisbury; sons, Jason Lynch of Snow Hill and James Riley, Jr. of West Ocean City; and daughters Holly and Helen Lynch of Snow Hill. There is one granddaughter, Lilliana Riley of Pittsville, with whom she had a special relationship, and one grandson, Rip Scotton, Jr. Also surviving are two brothers, Ronald and Timothy Mundis, and sister Shelly Poff, all of Pennsylvania, and brothers-in-law Robert and Tommy Riley both of Newark and sisters-in-law Shirley Riley of Pittsville and Debbie Elias of North Carolina. There is a step daughter, Deanna Quakenbush, and step grandchildren Layne, Drake, and Skylar, along with several stepsisters, Jenny, Lisa, Carolyn and Jill, and stepbrother Branden and Garon.

Kimberly was a member of SonRise Church, and owner’/operator of A & P (answered prayers) Cleaning Service. She really loved her family and her pet dogs, Pumpkin, Roscoe and late dog Velvet, as well as all the neighborhood animals.

A graveside service was held on Sunday, April 11 at Bowen Cemetery in Newark. Rev. Daryl McCready and Rev. Jerry Wade officiated. A private family viewing was held on Saturday April, 10 at the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin. A donation in Kim’s memory may be made in honor of her granddaughter, Lilliana Riley, c/o Taylor Bank, P.O. Box 5, Berlin, Md. 21811. Letters of condolence may be sent via .


Kara Nicole Blatzheim

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Kara Nicole Blatzheim

DAGSBORO, Del. — Kara Nicole Blatzheim, age 45, of Dagsboro, Del., has been called home to be with the Lord unexpectedly on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

She was born in Salisbury on Feb. 21, 1976 daughter of Michael and Jamie (Grise) Evans. Kara graduated from Indian River High School Class of 1994. Kara’s life work was first to be an amazing mother to her three daughters. She lived a simple life. She enjoyed all of God’s creations. She particularly loved the moon and over the years had several nicknames like, “Little Flower” and “Luna Flora.” Kara enjoyed helping other people through pray and devotions. She loved birdwatching, making beautiful pieces of jewelry and rosaries.

Kara’s mission in this world was to be a prayer warrior. She constantly prayed for others, especially the needs of children. Even if you didn’t know Kara, she prayed for you. She faithfully provided prayer intentions to her close friend Father Ed Fahey daily. Kara was self-taught in theology and Latin. Her love of religion spilled over to others as she was proud to be a Religious Education Teacher at St. Luke’s Catholic Church and spread ministry through her Third Order of Carmelites. Kara modeled her life after Saint Therese “Little Flower” of Lisieux. One of Kara’s favorite St. Therese’ quotes, “What matters in life, is not great deeds, but great love.” Kara’s love for everyone was her trademark.

She was preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, George Grise, and her father-in-law, Robert Blatzheim. Kara is survived by her loving husband, whom she referred to as her St. Joseph, of 20 years, William C. Blatzheim; three daughters, Alexandria Noel Tushup, Riley Anne Blatzheim and Myah Elisabeth Blatzheim; her parents Michael and Jamie Evans; maternal grandmother June Grise; two sisters, Kristen Powell and her husband Sean and Erin Dorey and her husband Chad; her step sisters Mindy Evans and Missy Yoder; her mother-in-law, Mary Anne Blatzheim; and her “adopted daughter,” Hannah Martz and her new puppy Benson.

A walk-through viewing was planned for Thursday, April 15, 2021 at the Ocean View Chapel of Melson Funeral Services, 38040 Muddy Neck Rd., Ocean View, Del. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 16, 2021 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church, 9903 Coastal Hwy., Ocean City, Md. 21842. The interment will be held privately at Wilgus Family Cemetery in Roxana. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing protocols will be observed, and masks must be worn by everyone participating in any aspect of the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in Kara’s name to St Luke’s Catholic Church, 14401 Sinepuxent Ave., Ocean City, Md. 21842.

Online condolences may be sent by visiting


Ruth D. Smith

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Ruth D. Smith

OCEAN CITY — Ruth D. Smith, age 83, a lifelong resident of Ocean City and Berlin, passed away on Sunday, March 21, 2021 after a lengthy illness with her loving family at her side.

She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Hugh B. Smith; her son, Jamie Ellis-Gaal and wife Margit along with her only grandchild, Sawyer, “the apple of her eye”; her step-daughters, Terri Ann Alexander and Wendy Jean Smith; and Terri’s daughter, Rebecca and her husband Daniel Trusky.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Rebekah Davis, and her brother, Thomas Davis, Jr.

Her family ties can be traced to Isaac Coffin, founder of Ocean City.

Ruth was a member of the first graduating class from Stephen Decatur High School. She started the “Cradle Roll,” sang in the choir and later became a life time member of Stevenson United Methodist Church at Berlin. She had been a teacher’s aide at Ocean City Elementary School as well as a supervisor for the Worcester County Liquor Control Board for nearly 15 years. She volunteered with hospice in both Ocean City area as well as the Malvern, Pa. area for over five years.

The family wishes to thank Coastal Hospice for their care of Ruth.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at Evergreen Cemetery, 10601 Assateague Road, in Berlin.

Due to COVID-19, masks and social distancing will be mandatory.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, Md. 21802.

Condolences may be sent by visiting


Granville Willard Cropper

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Granville Willard Cropper

BERLIN — Granville Willard Cropper, “Punkin,” age 74, passed away Friday, April 9, 2021 at Tidal Health Medical Center in Salisbury.

Born in Salisbury, he was the son of the late Edward Cropper and Ruth Taylor Cropper. He is survived by his sister, Sandra Lee Cropper Elliott (Walter) of Berlin, and nieces and nephews John Edward Cropper Jr., Kevin Lee Cropper, Carol Ann Cropper Baton, John Walter Elliott, Jr., Augusta James Elliott, Maryann Hickman, Rebecca Curro and Richard Lee Cropper, along with former wife Patricia Hudson. He was preceded in death by his brothers, John Edward Cropper and Donald J. Cropper, and his sister, Ramona Cropper Glenn. He was also preceded in death by longtime companion, Sherry Henry, and niece, Grace Marie Glenn. Also surviving is a son, Donald Littleton; daughter Sunny Schrum; former companion Tina Shrum; and grandchildren Brandon, Bailey, Jaydan. Jacob, Austin, Anthony, Dillon and Devon.

Mr. Cropper was a 1966 graduate of Stephen Decatur High School. He was a United States Army Veteran and later worked as a carpenter. He was a member of the Assateague Mobile Sports Fisherman Association; he loved to hunt and loved baseball. He also was a member of the Sinepuxent Rod and Gun Club.

A funeral service was held on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at the Burbage Funeral Home. Friends and family were invited to come and pay their respects with the service following.

Interment will be held privately at Evergreen Cemetery in Berlin.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Granville Willard Cropper “Punkin” Fund at Calvin B. Taylor, P.O Box 5, Berlin, Md. 21811.
Arrangements are in the care of The Burbage Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family via


Ellen Denson Plummer Merritt

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Ellen Denson Plummer Merritt

BERLIN — Ellen Denson Plummer Merritt, age 67, passed away Saturday, April 10, 2021 at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Born in Salisbury, she was the daughter of the late Tfc. Arthur W. Plummer, Jr. and Pollyanna Denson Plummer Goldsmith, and stepdaughter of George A. Goldsmith.

She is survived by her two daughters, Ashley Merritt of Pasadena, Md. and Alexis Merritt of Ocean City. Also surviving is her brother, Arthur W. Plummer III (Joanna) of Uncasville, Conn., and cousins Marietta Austin Bielsky and John Peter Austin.

Ellen was a 1971 graduate of Stephen Decatur High School. She has worked for the Ocean City Police Department, St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Trimper Rides, and Old Pro Miniature Golf. She loved road trips, vacations with her daughters, Assateague Island, her family and friends, her black lab Quinn, music, reading, practical jokes, and, of course, anything tie-dyed.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 2 p.m. at Merry Sherwood Plantation, 8909 Worcester Highway, Berlin, Md. 21811. Rev. John Zellner will officiate. Family and friends are encouraged to wear tie-dyed apparel. Interment will be private for the family.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in her memory may be made to Maryland State Police Fallen Heroes, c/o Maryland State Police Alumni Association, 1201 Reisterstown Rd., Pikesville, Md. 21208-3899. Letters of condolence may be sent via: Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home. Masks and social distancing are required.


Melton L. Marshall

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Melton L. Marshall

OCEAN CITY — Melton L. Marshall, known to everyone as “Skookie,” age 89, died on Sunday, April 11 at his home.

Born in Washington D.C., he was the son of the late Melton E. Marshall and Viola (Spalding) Marshall. He was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy Marshall, and sister, Virginia Steinour. Surviving are his children, Melton “Roy” Marshall, Jr. of Crofton, Md., Bret A. Marshall (Dawn) of Ocean City, Deanna Jenks of Ocean City and Cindy McBride (Tom) of Selbyville. There are eight grandchildren, Jennifer Marshall, Ryan Marshall, Travis Taylor, Alex Jenks, Elisabeth Jenks, Blake Marshall, Brady Marshall and Halle Marshall, and two great grandchildren, Jayden Marshall and Max Tavenner. Also surviving is a brother Jerome Marshall of Ocean Pines as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Mr. Marshall served in the United States Army at the Pentagon during the Korean War. He began his career at Judd and Detweiler Printing Office, and later worked for the Government Printing Office. Known as being a great story teller, he also enjoyed all kinds of music, golf, football, baseball, and horse racing. Most of all he loved spending time with his family and cherished his grandchildren.

A gathering for the family will be held on Friday, April 16 at 2 p.m. at the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin. Masks and social distancing will be required. A donation in his memory may be made to The Gary Sinise Foundation, P.O. Box 368, Woodland Hills, Calif. 91365. Letters of condolence may be sent via: