Obituaries – September 17, 2021

Mary Ellen Cropper

NEWARK — Mary Ellen Cropper, age 96, died on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

Born in Berlin, she was the daughter of the late Carl L. and Grace Ellen (Rayne) Wells. She was preceded in death by husband William G. Cropper in 2009, brother Carl

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Mary Ellen Cropper

William Wells, and son-in-law Presley L. “Andy” Hayes. Surviving are her children, son William Carlton Cropper of Newark, and daughter Deborah C. Hayes of Charlottesville, Va. She was a devoted grandmother of two grandchildren, Ryan Hayes and Robin Hayes Verrier and her husband Jack.

While in training for her nursing degree, Mrs. Cropper had served as a cadet nurse in World War II. Receiving her RN degree in 1945 from Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, she was the youngest nursing candidate ever admitted. She worked at Johns Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Division in Baltimore before returning to the shore where she was employed at Peninsula General Hospital where she did private and general duty nursing for 30 years. She married William G. Cropper in 1947 and joined Trinity Methodist Church in Newark. She served as treasurer and on the cemetery committee for several years. An excellent cook, she was also noted for her style. She also spent a great deal of her time caring for many elderly relatives.

A celebration of life will be announced at a future date. Interment will be in Trinity Garden of Memory Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a donation in her memory may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church, PO Box 36, Newark, Md. 21841. Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin. Letters of condolence may be sent to the family via


Della Marie Ruark

ST. MARTINS — Della Marie Ruark, age 86 passed away on Sept. 8, 2021 at her birth place, with her daughters by her side.

Born in St. Martins, she was the daughter of the late John M. and Marie (Hadder) Dickson. She is survived by her children, Beverly Amir of Crisfield, Pamela Lauer- Hamilton and her husband Matt of Salisbury and Frank Ruark of Berlin. She was an adored grandmother to four grandchildren, Shah Amir, Theodore L. Lauer (Laura), Adam Ruark and Rose Hamilton, and great-grandson Theodore “Jack” Lauer. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her seven brothers, Roland, John, Bill, Jim, Bob, Joe and Dave Dickson, and her grandson Christopher Ruark and daughter-in-law Donna Ruark.

During her early childhood, she lived with her late grandparents Pierce and Della Beam in the small coal mining town of Acosta, Pa. After returning to St. Martins, she attended Buckingham High School in Berlin. On Aug. 31, 1951 she married the “love of her life,” Franklin Ruark. They spent 61 happy years together. She and her husband had owned/ operated Ruark’s Plumbing and Heating until his death in 2012. Della was a member of St. Martins United Methodist Church where she was married. She and her husband shared many interests, including her flower and vegetable gardens, bluegrass festivals, casinos, day trips and their restored 1941 Chevrolet.

The family would like to thank her three special friends, Carol Rose, Dot Warren and Jean Littleton, and nephews Johnny and Bill Dickson for their care and support.

A funeral service was held on Sept. 14 at the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin. Rev. Olin Shockley officiated. Interment followed in Riverside Cemetery. Letters of condolence may be sent via:


Earl Stephen Hewitt

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Earl Stephen Hewitt

BERLIN — Earl Stephen Hewitt, age 85, of Berlin, passed away on Sept. 6, 2021 surrounded by family.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of the late Earl Douglas and Grace Goodness (Waggner) Hewitt. Earl graduated from University of Baltimore. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Earl worked at APG-TECOM for the Information Systems Command, where he retired as an Information Systems Manager.

Earl was all about service to others. He was past president of the PTA in Hickory, a member of Mt. Ararat Masonic Lodge #44, the Scottish Rite Boumi Temple in Baltimore County, and a member of the Shrine Color Guard where he was committed to participating in the many parades and flag ceremonies throughout the years. He was also a life member of the BPOE (Elks) and was active in the Lodge 2354 of Abingdon and Lodge 2645 of Ocean City. He was a life member of American Legion Post 39 of Bel Air and was active in Post 166 of Ocean City. He was a member of St. Peters Lutheran Church in Ocean City. He volunteered for the Tax Aid for the Elderly with AARP. Earl was honored as a hometown hero in Ocean City where his portrait flew on the Boardwalk.

Earl was known to always embark on spur of the moment good times.  He rarely turned down an outing or fun with friends and family. He was a spark among people. Everyone loves him, no matter the generation.

Earl is survived by his three daughters, Terry Jefferson of Forest Hill and her husband, William, Stephanie Hutcheson of Bel Air and her husband Douglas and Patricia Amos of Bel Air; sister Ann Badolato of Cockeysville; stepdaughters Melissa Campasino of Baltimore and Sandra Collins and her husband Michael of Florida; and close friend Jacqui Santangelo. He leaves a legacy of 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, all who love their “Pop Pop.”

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his second wife, Eleanor Hewitt and first wife, D. Lillian Hewitt; sisters Katherine VanRossum and Virginia Mason; and son-in-law, Timothy Amos.
The family will be hosting a memorial service on Sept. 18, 2021, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at The Community Church at Ocean Pines, 11227 Racetrack Road, Berlin, Md. 21811. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Shriners Hospital for Children or Believe in Tomorrow, House by the Sea, both organizations for which Earl was very involved.

Condolences may be left on the guestbook at


Miriam Lee Cropper Bishop

BERLIN — Miriam Lee Cropper Bishop, 84, of Berlin, died on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at Coastal Hospice at the Lake in Salisbury.

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Miriam Lee Cropper Bishop

She was born and raised in Ocean City. She was the daughter of the late Miriam Birch Cropper and Leroy James Cropper, Sr. of Ocean City. She was a member of the last graduating class of Ocean City High School in 1954. She married in 1955 and moved to Houston, Texas.

While in Houston, she was employed by National Supply Company and University of Texas Dental Branch as a Clerk Typist; Avon Sales Representative, winning many awards; and managed Sharpway Cleaners substation and Pilgrim Cleaners substation.

She moved back to Ocean City in 1993 and worked at Assateague Greens Golf Center until her retirement. She loved interacting with her customers and treating them like family.

She is survived by two sons, Alan Bishop of Alvin, Texas and Gregory Bishop (Andrea) of Westminster, Colo.; one brother, Richard Cropper (Susan) of Salisbury; one sister, Susan Birch (Victor) of Berlin; one sister-in-law, Martha Cropper of West Ocean City; four grandchildren, Dwayne Bishop (Brandy), Colorado; Kevin Bishop, Texas; Jessica Duran, Colorado and Julia Bishop, New York; two great grandchildren, Damian and Anaiya Duran, Colo. and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Leroy James Cropper, Jr.; her sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Ron Hoar; and the father of her children, Robbie Lee Bishop.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date.


Charles Grafton Kitzig, Sr.

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Charles Grafton Kitzig, Sr.

BERLIN — Charles Grafton Kitzig, Sr. died on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 at Tidal Health, Peninsula Regional in Salisbury.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of the late Charles A. Kitzig and Grace Price Kitzig. He is survived by his wife, Niv Kitzig, and children, Charles Kitzig, Jr, and his wife Kathy, Mary Kitzig, John Kitzig, Jean Kitzig, Angela Urban and her husband Bill and John Wood. There are eight grandchildren, Amie, Nathan, Harrison, Sophie, Samantha, Jessica, Elisa and Elaine, and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ruth I. Snyder in 1978, and two brothers, Samuel and Arvid Anderson, and sister Grace Snyder. Also surviving are two sisters, Evelyn Collins and Jeanette Christman, and several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Kitzig had served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, and later worked for Burroughs Corp. as a computer installer. Having a strong faith in God, he held many leadership positions in the church and most recently attended Holy Savior Catholic Church, and sang with the choir. He was a member of the Ocean Pines Bowling Club and the Ocean Pines Golf League. He was also a fan of the Baltimore Colts of long ago.

Cremation followed his death. Inurnment was held in the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery in Hurlock on Monday, Sept. 20. In lieu of flowers, a donation in his memory may be made to the Ocean Pines Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, 911 Ocean Parkway, Berlin, Md. 21811. Letters of condolence may be sent via  Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin.