Obituaries – February 24, 2023

Shawn Joseph Soper

BERLIN — Shawn Joseph Soper, age 59, of Ocean City, passed away suddenly on Feb. 15, 2023, at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore after a brief illness.

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Shawn Soper

Born in Towson in Baltimore County, Shawn was the son of the late Granville O. Soper and Judith Elizabeth Soper (McGinn). Shawn was a graduate of the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Baynesville where he and his family were active parish members. Shawn graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and thereafter attended Towson State University where in 1985 he graduated with degrees in Mass Communications and History.

Immediately thereafter, Shawn relocated to Ocean City, a natural move for him given his long-held love of the town and all of its charms. Shawn became engaged in the restaurant business and worked at a number of establishments including the old Crisfield II restaurant on Coastal Highway and the Marlin Moon Grill. At one time, Shawn and a couple of friends even opened their own restaurant in West Ocean City, Sausilito’s. It was during this period that Shawn cultivated his skill at making friends and endearing people to him. He was easy to like: a conscientious worker, a witty and heartfelt friend with a foundation of sincerity and honesty.

In year 2000, Shawn’s life took an upward swing when he met the love of his life, his best friend, Tricia. This is also the time when Shawn was hired by The Dispatch as a reporter to cover the Berlin-Worcester County beat. Though he had a natural love of the hospitality business, Shawn always aspired to be a journalist and The Dispatch job was a dream come true for him. Shawn excelled in this work and soon became a fixture in Ocean City and in Worcester County: well-known and recognized for his excellent reporting. His publisher, Steve Green, has remarked that Shawn authored more than 20,000 articles in his career there which included a rise to the News Editor position several years ago. Shawn also carried on his hospitality work as a weekend figure at the Reel Inn Restaurant and Dock Bar in Ocean City.

An accomplished lacrosse player in high school and a rugby player afterwards, Shawn had a love of all sports especially baseball and his beloved Orioles. Shawn had a strong sense of play in the best meaning of that word: the pun, the witty turn of phrase, a sense of the game and all of its hidden meanings. Shawn excelled at making friends which served him well throughout his life.

Shawn is survived by his wife, Patricia M. Martin; his mother, Judith E. Soper; brother Kevin M. Soper and his wife, Elizabeth; sister Elizabeth O. Andrews and her fiancé Leo Daly; father-in-law Dick Martin and mother-in-law, Delores Martin; brothers-in-law Michael Martin, Steven Martin (Eileen), Christopher Martin, Robert Martin (Penny) and Joseph Martin (Emily); as well as by a number of nieces and nephews, Colin J. Soper, Christopher M. Soper, Paige E. Soper, Jenna Andrews, Matthew Martin, Natalie Martin and Amelia Martin.

The family received friends at The Burbage Funeral Home, located at 108 William Street, Berlin, Md., on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Feb. 24, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Holy Savior Catholic Church, 1705 Philadelphia Avenue in Ocean City. Letters of condolence can be sent to the family via Arrangements are in the care of The Burbage Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shawn’s name to Diakonia Emergency Shelter and Food Pantry in Ocean City, [email protected], or to the Humane Society, [email protected].


Charlotte Kathryn Kuti

WILLARDS — Charlotte Kathryn Kuti, age 64, of Willards, died Monday, Feb. 20, 2023 at home.

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Charlotte Kuti

She was born in Baltimore and was the daughter of the late Ira and Helen (Ulrich) Phelps.

Charlotte was the proud and dedicated former owner of Coins Pub, where she dedicated many years of her life to doing what she loved. During those years she touched many lives. She was always available for advice, support, and helping whoever she could. She was the brightest of lights in the darkest of rooms. She will be missed by all that knew her.

She is survived by a daughter, Crystal Langdon and husband Derek of Willards; a son, Dennis Keener and wife Jen of Pittsville; three sisters, Valerie Kraft of Goldsboro, Md., Laura Johnson of Franklin, Ind. and Mala Marine of Longs, S.C.; and five grandchildren, Kaiden, Kalan, Quinn, Vayda and Tavey.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 at Bishop-Hastings Funeral Home in Selbyville. Friends may visit an hour before the service. Entombment will be in Granite Memorial Mausoleum in Bishopville.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Worcester County Humane Society, P.O. Box 48, Berlin, Md. 21811.

Condolences may be sent by visiting


Peter M. Fox

OCEAN PINES — Peter M. Fox “Pete” passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on Feb. 9, 2023.

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Pete Fox

He was born on Dec. 2, 1940, in West Reading, Pa. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Renee, and his four children, Peter Fox, Jr., Dr. Jennifer Reinhart (David), Michele Padovani and Dr. Becky Fox. He is also survived by seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Peter is predeceased by his first wife, Dolores Fox, and his son, Scott Szymanski. Pete was a “small town” guy, influenced by his Pennsylvania Dutch and Berks County upbringing. He was friendly to everyone, loyal, humorous, and the rock of the family. His pure love for others was evident as a son, husband, father, friend, family member and to everyone he encountered. He wanted nothing more than to see everyone happy. Peter graduated from Governor Mifflin High School in 1958 and was a member of the reunion committee ever since. While working for the Metropolitan Edison Company as a lineman and later in management, he lived in Exeter Township, Pa. and then in Wyomissing, Pa. Pete was a 32nd Degree Mason with the Chandler Lodge No. 227 and later with the Evergreen Lodge No. 153.

Pete enjoyed being on the water, whether canoeing at Blue Marsh Lake or on his boat in the Chesapeake Bay and Assawoman Bay in Maryland. After moving to Ocean Pines, he earned his Captain’s License and became active in the Ocean City Power Squadron, creating their first website and serving in many capacities, including Commander in 2001. He remained on their Executive Committee until his passing. Pete enjoyed learning and teaching others. When his children entered college, so did Pete. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Alvernia College in 1995. He went on to teach computer classes for senior citizens at Wor-Wic Community College.

He supported the community by volunteering for the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department, assisting with boater safety checks, and as a poll worker on election day Anyone who met Pete would describe him as a kind, caring person with a great sense of humor. He told jokes in a way that always left you wondering if what he was saying was true, especially when he claimed to be Amish. Pete loved playing games and was good natured about beating everyone he played with! He enjoyed going out to breakfast, whether that was with his kids before school, or with the ROMEO group on Wednesday mornings.

A celebration of life will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, 11021 Worcester Highway, Berlin, on March 11, 2023, at noon. A reception will follow. Interment will be held at the Laureldale Cemetery, 4631 Pottsville Pike, Reading, Pa., on March 17, 2023, 11:45 a.m., with a service led by the Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, Chandler Lodge 227.

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


John Edward Walsh

BISHOPVILLE — John Edward Walsh, age 80, passed away at his home in Bishopville on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

Born on All Saints Day in 1942 in Trenton, N.J. he was the son of the late John Walsh and Alice Winder.

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John Walsh

Affectionately known as Jack, he graduated from Hamilton High School East. He honorably served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Valley Forge LPH-8 in the South Pacific. He attended RCA Electronics Institute in New York, N.Y. Jack married Lucy Zanelotti on Sept. 13, 1975, and they were happily married for 47 years. He was a member of the American Legion Post #166, Happy Valley Reunion Club, Knights of Columbus #5547, Telecom Pioneers, and the CWA Local Member Chapter 2108. He worked as a Systems Technician Engineer for Dow Jones Inc., C&P Telephone Company, Bell Atlantic, and Verizon where he retired after 35 years of service. He was a devout Catholic committed to his faith. He enjoyed walking in the Pines, boating, and a glass of Merlot at Taylor’s. Jack was kind and loved his family above all, he will be deeply missed.

He is survived by his wife, Lucy, two sons, John A. Walsh (Alicia), and Justin A. Walsh (Megan), two daughters, Lena A. Leone (Jeffrey), and Mary C. Sprague (Andrew), a sister Margaret Shubnell, and a brother, James W. Walsh (Monica). He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Gabriel, William, Aine, Mia, Ava, Noelle, Adelaide, Max, and Ace.

A visitation was held at Burbage Funeral Home on Thursday, February 23, 2023. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Ocean Pines on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. Inurnment will take place at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro, Delaware at a later date. Letters of condolence can be sent to the family via Arrangements are in the care of Burbage Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Coastal Hospice or the Alzheimer’s Association.


Michael Sean Hegarty Sr.

OCEAN PINES — Michael Sean Hegarty Sr., age 82, of Ocean Pines, passed away on Feb. 18, 2023 at his home. Mike was the loving husband of 40 years to Sharon Hegarty.

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Michael Hegarty Sr.

Along with his wife, Mike is survived by three sons and two daughters, Kevin Hegarty, wife Toni of Davidsonville, Md., Michael Hegarty Jr, partner Rick Perez of Parrish, Fla., Sean Hegarty, wife Kerry of Bradenton, Fla., Kathy Stewart, husband Bill of Delmar and Kelly Williams, husband Chris of Berlin. He is also survived by sisters Monica Lee and Husband Tom, Maridella Hegarty and Brother Patrick Hegarty and wife Elaine. Also surviving are his pride and joy – his grandchildren: Shane Hegarty (Alex), Kieran Hegarty (Spenser), Dillon Hegarty, Red Hegarty, Cailey Smith (Darren), Zachary Cordovilla, Claire Williams, Caitlin Williams, Misha Williams, Benjamin Williams and Rachel Williams, great-grandchildren: Brayden Hegarty, Carsen Cordovilla, Declan Hegarty and Brynlie Hegarty.

Mike was born on Aug. 10, 1940 in Washington D.C. He was the son of the late Willett Joseph Hegarty and Monica Alice Hegarty. During and after World War II, the family moved from Washington, D.C. to New York, then to San Francisco, Mobile and on to Chattanooga where Mike attended and graduated from Notre Dame High School. As a teenager Mike became a Boy Scout and achieved the lauded rank of Eagle Scout. He was also very athletic and loved sports, including swimming. In fact, Mike was recognized by the City of Chattanooga for saving a young boy from drowning at Camp Columbus on the Tennessee River and also received, for that action, a National Award signed by then President Eisenhower.

When the family moved to Maryland in 1958, Mike enrolled at the University of Maryland. After a year in attendance, he chose a different path and took a job with NASA. Finding the desk job too confining, Mike extended his love of cars and mechanics by opening his own speed shop in Beltsville. He loved drag racing and became the NHRA National Champion for the B Stock class with his 1966 Pontiac GTO, well known as “Honest Injun”. He later ran a series of cars in the Ultra Class, a precursor to today’s Pro Stock, and finally campaigned an alcohol dragster. Young adults from all over the Washington metropolitan area brought their GTOs, Chevelles, and other muscle cars to Mike to make them as fast as possible. And that was pretty darn fast. With a “need for speed”, Mike also enjoyed riding jet skis and snowmobiles well into his later years. Hitting middle age, Mike switched to construction creating a name known for the quality of workmanship and the timeliness of the projects. He continued working right up until his final days and always proudly stated, “Work was his favorite hobby”. Mike was a lifelong fan of Washington football and the Nationals baseball and enjoyed following both teams.

Mike was well liked by all who got to know him and was extremely well respected for his knowledge of mechanics and construction. He will be missed by a great many people. We love him.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday March 6, 2023 at 11 a.m. at St. John Neumann Church located at 11211 Beauchamp Rd, Berlin, Md. 21811. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Jimmy Fund at

Arrangements are in the care of Eastern Shore Cremation and Funeral Service, 504 Franklin Avenue, Berlin, Maryland 21811. To send condolences to the family, please visit


Paul Gwynne Fischer

OCEAN CITY — Paul Gwynne Fischer 58 years old, passed on Feb. 14, 2023, surrounded by love and comfort.

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Paul Fischer

“Barefoot” or “Fish” were his nicknames known by many in the Ocean City community and beyond. “Barefoot” was not only his auto mechanic name, but his lifestyle. His distaste for shoes meant you rarely found him wearing them, whether he was working on cars or gallivanting around Ocean City all summer long. “Fish” was not only short for his last name Fischer, but because one of his favorite pastimes was fishing — from winning fishing tournaments, to chilling on the beach while surf fishing, or simply catching some out on the boat. These nick names are significant because they are a huge part of what defined him as a person. He left his footprint on this town through not only these two things, but because of his unique personality. He was a colorful character and most importantly a friend to all. Whether it was a random conversation with a stranger, or with a friend, laughs would be shared.

Battling many health hardships throughout the years, one thing he never lost was his special sense of humor, along with putting up a fight. Additionally, he never lost his sensfe of self or the love he had for others. As time went by, he told others “I still have a lot of fight left in me, I’m not going anywhere without a fight, giddy up or giddy out.” Cancer did not win, he did. He lived a life, though cut short, not many ever get to experience. He followed his passions and never looked back nor cared about what others thought of him. He was a magnet, drawing so many people to him and together with his outgoing personality.

He considered various individuals his family, surviving by him is his son Jordan Curlett, his daughter Rachel Hreshko, his loving father “Tink,” and too many others to mention such as his “hoochies” and almost the entire Ocean City community. Gone but never forgotten, we will see his reflection again through tomorrow’s sunrise and tomorrow’s sunset.


Gail Tingle Wainwright

BERLIN — Gail Tingle Wainwright, age 84, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.

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Gail Wainwright

Born in Philadelphia, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Oliver and Ruth Day Tingle.

She is survived by her husband, Norman Ellis Wainwright, and her son, Troy Ellis Wainwright (Noelle) of Gambrills, Md. There are two grandsons, Callus and Finnen Wainwright. Also surviving is a brother, Weldon Tingle (Joann) of Florida; nephews, Ronald Rickards, Craig Wainwright, Dean Long (Dawn Messick); and niece Kim Griffith.

Mrs. Wainwright was a graduate of Stephen Decatur High School class of 1956, was employed with Calvin B. Taylor Bank for 36 years, was a member of Friendship United Methodist Church, and chair of United Methodist Women.

A funeral service will be held on Feb.24, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Friendship United Methodist Church, 10537 Friendship Road, Berlin, Md. Friends may call one hour prior. Rev. Pam Ward will officiate. Entombment will follow at Granite Memorial Mausoleum, 12840 Worcester Hwy. Bishopville, Md. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Friendship United Methodist Church.

Letters of condolence can be sent to the family via Arrangements are in the care of The Burbage Funeral Home.