Obituaries – October 15, 2021

Paul Phillip Rouchard

OCEAN CITY — Paul Phillip Rouchard, age 87, of Ocean City, passed away on Sept. 9, 2021 in Melbourne, Fla.

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Paul Phillip Rouchard

He was born on Nov. 28, 1933 in Baltimore County to the late Marcella Anderson and Jean Rouchard.

Paul had a zest for life, a drive and determination to get things done. His hands were his tools; always moving, tinkering and fixing-creating and bringing new life to old things. When his hands weren’t holding a hammer or working on his latest project, they were extended openly to family, friends, and neighbors. A true gentleman-humble and generous, always happy to see you. He had an attitude of positivity and a warm smile no matter what.

In his life’s work, he designed and built fiberglass pools and waterslides. He holds a U.S. Patent for inventing bolt together fiberglass waterslides and went on to build and own waterslides in Ocean City and several states.

Paul was a master mechanic and self-taught engineer who could fix anything. He owned and operated Ocean Designs for 20 years, a large machine and tool company based in Bishopville where he built fiberglass boats as well as did boat metal fabrication.

Paul had many interests throughout his life and always kept himself busy. He earned his pilot license and loved flying his two airplanes. He built and raced his own stock car in the early 70’s. He even owned a car dealership at one time.

In his later years, Paul loved nothing more than taking his boat out in the bay while listening to Jimmy Buffet, often over to Fish Tales or M.R. Ducks. He never met a stranger, and enjoyed sharing stories and a cold beer with new friends.

Paul approached life very much like he did the open water, with no destination and endless possibilities. He was truly one of a kind, and he will be dearly missed.

Paul was preceded in death by five brothers and one sister. He leaves behind his three children, Pamela Stone, Phillip Rouchard and David Rouchard, all of Florida; his loving wife Mary Dean of Ocean City, her children, Debi Cook, Dean Thompson and Dorette Thompson; as well as seven grandchildren. He also leaves behind a sister, Jackie Fields of Timonium Md.

A mass will be held at Holy Savior Catholic Church in Ocean City on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.


John H. Purnell

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John H. Purnell

BERLIN — John “Jack” H. Purnell was born on the 4th of July on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Jack enjoyed life — a life that included business, international travel, and a devoted love for family and friends. He died peacefully after a long illness that he endured with remarkable patience and dignity.

Jack spent his younger years in Long Island, New York, followed by his teens in Beirut, Lebanon where his father took an overseas assignment. He then returned to the United States and graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.B.A. with distinction from Wharton.

He married Pat, his wife of 56 years, and moved to St. Louis where he was employed with Anheuser-Busch for 36 years. His many responsibilities included heading Corporate Planning and Development and Anheuser-Busch International, Inc. He served as a member of the Anheuser-Busch Strategy Committee and the Corporate Office.

To borrow a tagline from the company, making friends was his business. He loved to travel, for work or pleasure, and developed solid friendships with his international business associates. Often, after difficult meetings or negotiations, he defused tensions over dinner with his famous sense of humor, sharing stories and jokes. He was a brilliant negotiator of “the win-win” in business and personal interactions.

During retirement, Jack served on the boards of Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis and Gene Slay’s Boys’ and Girls’ Club of St. Louis. He also worked as an “Executive in Residence” in The John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University, where he advised students and taught a popular class for future marketers.

Jack will be remembered for his positive outlook, mentorship, generosity, kindness, humor, and genuine love for the treasured people in his life. His favorite karaoke song was “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. His way of leading life was a good one.

Along with his wife, Pat, he is survived by his brother, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 11 a.m. at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Berlin.


Janie Loretta Everett

BERLIN — Janie Loretta Everett, 82, of Berlin, passed away peacefully on Oct. 5, 2021 in Woodbine. Born on Nov. 1, 1938 in Pikeville, Kentucky to the late Gilmer and

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Janie Loretta Everett

Virginia Lell.

She was a member of the Red Hat Ladies, a licensed cosmetologist from 1973, received a diploma from Christian Growth Study Plan in Experiencing God, worked for Safeway Inc. as a meat wrapper, deli clerk, deli manager to become deli merchandising eastern division until her retirement 29 years later. Janie loved to love on people with kindness, prayers and caring, loved cooking, sewing, bowling, spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and serving God.

Janie is survived by her loving husband Sam Everett; her three children, son and wife Michael and Sandi Hurley, daughter Debbie Merson, daughter and husband Brenda and William Dabolt; grandchildren Melissa Benson, Christopher Lynn, Austin Merson, Amy Goodell, Ashley Hurley, Jasmine Dabolt and Audrey Dabolt; great grandchildren Julian Lynn, Jake Benson and Michael Lynn; four siblings, sister Mossie Hornfeck, brother and wife Burlin and Geneva Lell, sister Betty Hurley, sister and husband Carol Jean and Wallace Arthur; and her many nephews and nieces. All of these she loved and touched deeply.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2021 with visitation starting at 12:30 p.m. at Community Church at Ocean Pines, 11227 Racetrack Road, Berlin, Md. 21811.

Memorial donations in memory of Janie Everett may be made to the Community Church at Ocean Pines Outreach Center, 11227 Racetrack Road, Berlin, Md. 21811 or the John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, P.O. Box 49143, Baltimore, Md. 21297-9143 or online at, or to Gilchrist Hospice, 11311 McCormick Road, Ste. 350, Hunt Valley, Md. 21031 or online at
Arrangements are in the care of Eastern Shore Cremation and Funeral Service, 504 Franklin Avenue, Berlin, Md. 21811. To send condolences to the family, please visit


Candy Gebhart

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Candy Gebhart

BISHOPVILLE — Candy Gebhart passed away peacefully at her home in Bishopville under the loving care of her husband Mickey and her son Kevin on Saturday, Oct. 9.

Candy was born and raised in Bishopville graduating from Stephen Decatur High School before starting her nursing career at Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare. With over a 40-year nursing career primarily focused on emergency care, Candy was by nature a caregiver and one of the world’s great hosts.

She had a BIG HEART and LIVED LIFE out LOUD. She was contagious. She listened, and she made you feel loved, welcomed and special. There were no strangers to her. I think this quote could have been her mantra — “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thank you for making so many people FEEL loved.

She leaves behind her beautiful childhood home filled with her warmth, creativity, and some of the best flowerbeds on the Eastern Shore. Her family of Mickey, Jessica, David, Kevin, Charlotte and Sophie will celebrate the fruits of her labor for generations to come. The annual summertime visit of her granddaughters from Hong Kong was always the highlight of her year.

Funeral services took place on Thursday, Oct. 14, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Frankford, Del. The Celebrant of her life was Father Jim Jackson. Interment followed at Roxana Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are requested to be made to Bishopville Volunteer Fire Department at 10709 Bishopville Road, Bishopville, Md. 21813 or to Coastal Hospice at PO Box 1733 Salisbury, Md. 21802.

Online condolences may be made by visiting


Tyler Groton

RANDALLSTOWN — Tyler Groton, 35, died unexpectedly on Oct. 6, 2021, at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Md.

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Tyler Groton

Tyler was born on Feb. 22, 1986, in Salisbury to parents Thomas C Groton III and Althea Smith Groton.

Tyler is survived by his parents, Judge Thomas Groton III and Althea Smith Groton, and brother Clay Groton IV and wife Melissa of Cambridge. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, T. Clay Groton, Jr. and Marie Danzeglock Groton, and maternal grandparents, Andrew Custis Smith and Belinda Hill Smith. He is also survived by an aunt, Lynne Weidner; cousin Melisa Anne Weidner; niece Anna Groton; nephew Adam Groton; aunt Tish Dryden; uncle Ray Dryden; cousins Alex Dryden and James Price; as well as numerous friends.

Although born in Salisbury, Tyler grew up in Snow Hill. He had been a member of the Nassawango Country Club swim team and later became a certified lifeguard in which capacity he worked for the lower shore YMCA for many years. He was a member of the Boy Scout Troop 193 in Pocomoke and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Tyler’s Eagle Scout project consisted of building a shelter for homeless cats. He also participated for a number of years in the gifted and talented writing program. Tyler completed the Crystal Beach Triathlon, placing first in his age group.

After attending Snow Hill elementary and middle school, he graduated from Salisbury Christian School where he whetted his appetite for acting; appearing in “Motel,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and numerous other plays at the school. He attended Towson University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors’ Degree in Theater. As a theater major at Towson, he appeared in “Zoo Story,” “Diary of Anne Frank” and “Largo Desolato” among several others. He also served on lighting, sound, building, backstage and costume crews. Tyler was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He lived in the Mt. Vernon Section of Baltimore City where he was active with numerous theaters in the area, most prominently the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.

In a memorial, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company indicated “Tyler was a multi-talented artist who worked as an actor, crew member, and bartender and as one of our most meticulous and charming house managers. He brightened every room that he entered. Tyler was smart, witty, talented, and full of life. There was no doubt he was attending a show when you heard his infectious laugh.” He appeared in plays such as “Romeo & Juliet,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Tempest” among others.

Upon graduation from Towson university Tyler was employed by McDonogh School in the theater department, he booked and managed hundreds of events in the Burke Center, Ceres M. Horn Theater, and Klein Lyceum.

The McDonogh School community mourns the sudden death of Tyler Groton, the Assistant Manager for the Burke Center for the Performing Arts. Groton joined the McDonogh Family as Theatre Manager in 2011 and quickly became an integral part of the staff and a beloved member of the community.

“Tyler’s presence on campus will be sorely missed. He impacted everyone in one way or another,” says Head of School David J. Farace ‘87. “But it was his connection with kids that made the biggest impression. They appreciated his patience as a teacher and his sense of humor. Tyler loved any excuse to dress up, whether it was Halloween, Spirit Week, or a well-tailored suit for the opening night of a show.”

He brought his expertise and experience to McDonogh where he built sets, designed lighting, operated sound and light equipment, guided the tech and backstage crews, and booked and managed hundreds of events in the Burke Center, Ceres M. Horn Theatre, and Klein Lyceum annually.

Tyler made his directorial debut in 2015 when he guided a group of talented Middle School actors in a performance of “The Little Prince”. Groton said he was attracted to the play because of its large ensemble which makes up the scenery and props that have a constant presence in the story. Tyler had the performers wear LED bracelets so they became stars, literally and figuratively. “I really wanted everyone on stage to have a purpose and feel that without them the play wouldn’t have been what it was,” he said.

He was most proud of his role in bringing “The Laramie Project” to the McDonogh stage in the fall of 2019. As the Director of the play, which details the brutal killing of gay college student Matthew Shepard, Groton said he not only wanted to stretch the actors’ ability with the demanding piece of documentary theater, but he also wanted to foster discussion about the treatment of LGBTQ people.

In a 2020 McDonogh Magazine article, Groton explained that Matthew Shepard’s story resonated with the cast, crew, and the audience of “The Laramie Project” well after the final bow, “I love when a show has an emotional impact, when it doesn’t leave you at the curtain call, when you go home and are still thinking about it,” he said. “I love when it starts conversations and brings up things that maybe you couldn’t do in another medium.” Indeed, the play served as a catalyst for conversation about how people speak to each other, treat each other, and view each other.

Farace, who played the role of Shepard’s father in “The Laramie Project”, says, “I had the unique opportunity to be directed by Tyler. I learned so much through that experience — beyond acting skills. I am so grateful that he had the opportunity to bring this meaningful play to the stage.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Groton and his colleagues quickly pivoted and became experts in coordinating webinars and virtual events. During the 2020-2021 school year, he helped guide members of the Upper School Theatre Lab through “Zoomicals: The Musicals”, a weekly virtual opportunity designed to keep students engaged in theatre, and She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, an online production that takes place in a virtual world.

“Tyler’s presence in the arts community was incredibly impactful. Students loved him because he treated them like people — never talking down to them. Colleagues loved him because he had the unique ability to make you feel seen and respected while not compromising his own identity and big personality,” recalls Kara Zimmerman, Director of Fine and Performing Arts. “His laugh could make even the most stoic person smile. He will be forever missed.”

Tyler was proudly an organ donor.

A graveside funeral service will be held on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at 11 a.m. at All Hallows Episcopal Cemetery in Snow Hill. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to the Tyler C. Groton Memorial Fund at McDonogh School, 8600 McDonogh Rd, Owings Mills, Md. 21117. Gifts will be used to support the theater program.

Letters of condolence can be made to the family via


Ellen Grant Wattay

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Ellen Grant Wattay

MILFORD, Del. – Ellen Grant Wattay, age 86, born Nov. 29, 1934, died on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2021, while in hospice at the Milford Veterans Home.

Having moved with her family to Ocean City in 1968, she was the daughter of the late T. Earl and Mildred L. Grant of Mallard Island.

Ellen was proud to have been a physical therapist in the United States Air Force, a passion for which she developed into a profession locally, and earned a doctorate. As her father before her, she was also an avid fan of Washington Football which she passed down to her boys. Ellen’s retirement led her to reside in Salisbury and later Smyrna, Del.

She is survived by her four sons, David (wife Lisa), Adam (wife Christine), Dana (wife Molly), and Matthew; her grandchildren, Derek (wife Megan), Shannon, Brianna, Amity, Kory, Benjamin, Jessica, Cameron, Spencer, Nolan, and Justine; and great-grandchildren Kinsley, Sawyer and Adriana.

A private Celebration of Life dinner will be held at a later date.


John David Sweigert, Jr.

ANNAPOLIS — John David Sweigert, Jr died on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. He was 81 years old.

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John David Sweigert, Jr.

Dave, as he was known, was born on May 10, 1940 in Glen Ridge, N.J. He was the son of the late Lillian R. Sweigert and John D. Sweigert Sr. Dave was raised in Salisbury and graduated Wicomico High School in 1958 and attended Goldey-Beacom College.

On June 18, 1966, Dave married the love of his life, Anne Townsend Deeley. They started their family in Towson and moved to Queenstown in 1978, where they continued to raise their two daughters. Once they were empty nesters, Anne and Dave retired to Ocean City and several years later moved to Crisfield.

Dave had a huge heart and a kind gentle soul. His favorite pastime was sitting at the kitchen table and reminiscing with family and friends. He was an avid advice giver, a great listener and the best hugger. He loved to laugh and to make others laugh and was usually the butt of many jokes, especially made by his late wife, Anne. Dave’s greatest joy was being a grandfather and getting to see his grandchildren grow. He loved to tell them family stories and he never ever missed a chance to tell them how much he loved them and how proud he was of them. What we know Dave loved the most about life was simply telling people that he loved them. He wholeheartedly believed in just plain LOVE. And that spreading love was the way to keep his heart and soul at peace. He reminded us to never miss a chance to say I love you and to always let people know what they mean to your life.

He is survived by his two daughters, Sara “Sallie” Arciero (Cletus) of Atlanta, Ga. and Abigail “Abbie” McNomee (Michael) of Annapolis; two grandsons, John Cletus Arciero and Quinlan James McNomee; and two granddaughters, Deeley Catherine Arciero and Charlotte Rayne McNomee. He is also survived by his sister, Alice Ann Wells (Dean); two sisters in law , Laura “Candy” Chester (late George) and Daisy Gutberlet (Richard); brother-in-law Haskin “Sandy” Deeley (Beth); nephews JD Wells (Beth Ann), John Chester (Molly), Deeley Chester (Kristy), Daniel Gutberlet and Sam Deeley; nieces Carole Ann Brazeal (Donny), Cara Chester, Laura Bren (Dan), Allison Gutberlet, Maggie Gutberlet and Caroline Gutberlet; two great-nieces Rebecca Diggs and Rowan Chester; and six great-nephews, JR Diggs, David Wells (Kaitlyn), Brian Wells, Austin Bren, Gavin Bren, Kade Chester and Beauden Chester. He is also survived by his long-time friend, Michael Thommen whom he thought of as a son.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local food bank.

A celebration of Dave’s life will be announced at a later date.


Wanda Jean Cohen

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Wanda Jean Cohen

BERLIN — Wanda Jean Cohen, age 73, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Coastal Hospice at the Lake in Salisbury.

Born in York, Pa., one of 10 children, she was the daughter of the late Lester Elwood Smith and Cecilia Marie Eckenrode Smith. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald Charles Cohen, in 2016. She is survived by her daughter, Meryl A. Cohen of Berlin.

Wanda had worked in customer service at Home Depot in Berlin. She was a member of Temple Bat Yam Temple in Berlin, loved shopping, spending time with her daughter Meryl and their pet cats Ralph and Lola.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. at Temple Bat Yam Synagogue in Berlin. Rabbi Arthur Rutberg will officiate. Interment will be on Friday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. in Montefiore Cemetery in Jenkintown, Pa. In lieu of flowers, a donation in her memory may be made to Temple Bat Yam, 11036 Worcester Hwy, Berlin Md. 21811, or Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733 Salisbury, Md. 21804. Letters of condolence may be sent via: Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin/