Gary Lee Meredith, 80, of Ocean View, Del., passed away in the comfort of his home on Thursday, July 27, 2017, with his family present. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday, July 24. Meredith had fought a brave fight with pulmonary fibrosis for the last several years. Delaware Hospice had been directing his care for the last five months.
Meredith was born in Altoona, Pa., on July 24, 1937, the only child of George E. Meredith and Ruth I. Meredith. He later moved to Huntingdon, W.Va., and also lived in Charleston, W.Va. In 1955, he graduated from Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Md., where he met his high school sweetheart, Bette. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in 1960. He and Bette were married on Aug. 23, 1958.
Meredith worked at Vitro Corporation, a defense contractor, for 37 years and retired in 1997 as a senior contracts manager. While at Vitro, he enjoyed playing softball on intermural teams. He had also been employed by Delaware Seashore State Park as a fee collector for the past few years.
In Montgomery County, Md., he was president of the Board of Directors of the Olney Boys & Girls Club, a club with more than 1,000 members. During his time as president, he started the girls’ program in the club.
Meredith enjoyed coaching a variety of boys and girls teams. He was chairman of the steering committee for the conversion of the Longwood Civil Defense Site to the Longwood Recreation Center in Olney, Md. He was appointed by the Montgomery County, Md., executive to be the chairman of the Area 5 Recreation Advisory Board. He continued his passion of playing softball on both men’s, co-ed and later senior teams in the Montgomery County Recreation Department.
In 1997, after he retired, Meredith moved to Ocean View. He became president of the Ocean View Town Council. After a year as president, the town charter was changed and the position of mayor was created. He was the first publicly-elected mayor of the Town of Ocean View and served two three-year terms between 2002 and 2008.
During that time, the Town completed a sewer system, installed a municipal water system, built a state-of-the-art police station, expanded the town hall and offices, expanded John West Park and acquired historic property. His last position with the Town was as chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission, from which he resigned this year due to his health.
After moving to Ocean View, Meredith also worked to increase recreation opportunities for seniors and was co-organizer of the Olde Tymers Softball League for men and women 50 or older. He also organized the local AARP bowling league, which is in its 20th year. He was also president of the local AARP Chapter 5226 and served as president of the Country Village community Board of Directors.
Meredith was active on the fundraising steering committee for the building of the South Coastal Leisure Center for CHEER. He ran several sock-hop dances and coordinated a raffle to raise funds for the construction of the very active senior center on Central Avenue in Ocean View. He was also a charter member and organizer of the Bethany Beach Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which started year-round services at the Conference Center Chapel in Bethany Beach in 1998.
Meredith loved sports and rooted for several teams, including the Maryland Terps, Marshall University, the Washington Redskins and the Washington Nationals. Most of all he loved his family. He was devoted to the family dogs, and his Pomeranians were a great comfort to him during his illness.
Meredith is survived by his wife of almost 59 years, Bette L. Meredith; three children, Donna L. Kemp and her husband, Michael, Dean S. Meredith, and Susan C. Moyer and her husband, Nelson; and two grandchildren, David A. Kemp and his wife, Jennifer, and Michelle L. Kemp.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at 1 p.m. at the Bethany Beach Christian Church Disciples of Christ, 7 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Bethany Beach, DE 19930. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to either Delaware Hospice; 100 Patriots Way; Milford, DE 19963, or to The Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine; 750 East Pratt St., 17th Floor; Baltimore, MD 21202, c/o pulmonary research/interstitial lung disease or www.hopkinsmedicine.org. Condolences may be sent online at www.watsonfh.com.