Letter to the Editor: Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral organizer thanks community


The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Committee would like to sincerely thank Bethany Beach Mayor Rosemary Hardiman for delivering the keynote address at this year’s jazz funeral.

On Labor Day Monday, the Bethany Beach boardwalk was packed with residents and visitors paying tribute to summer 2022, participating in the whimsical and legendary jazz funeral and listening remarks from speakers with their perspectives of this summer.

The presenters were Bethany Beach Mayor Hardiman; Marie Wright, who portrays “Sister Marie” at the jazz funeral events; and Bob Rhodunda, executive director of the American Red Cross chapter that serves the Delmarva and National Capital & Greater Chesapeake regions.

Mayor Hardiman spoke about the brutal May storm, the work that that followed to ensure a successful summer, the memories of the year and the shoulder season events that have encouraged more folks to return again in the fall and winter.

She thanked all of the departments of the town of Bethany Beach for working diligently to repair the beaches and crossovers after the May storm that caused severe damage.

Another topic the mayor spoke about was the outstanding work of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. She encouraged everyone to attend the nationally recognized Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival, presented by the chamber the following weekend. It was the opinion of all that Mayor Hardiman was a thoughtful, open-minded mayor and a talented communicator.

The American Red Cross of Delmarva was the beneficiary of funds raised on the Bethany boardwalk on Labor Day and also on Sept. 2 at the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Silent Auction, hosted by owner Jim Weisgerber of Bethany Blues restaurant.

American Red Cross executive director Rhodunda said the Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

The audience welcomed back with applause Sister Marie after a short hiatus. She was always the jazz funeral favorite, as she reached out during the parade to funeralgoers with smiles and pointed humor.

Both the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction were deemed successful. Sarah Dietz proved to be highly competent and very experienced in event management. Sarah, along with Carolyn Bacon, Marilyn Panagopoulos, Dave Rickards and Marie Wright, made this year’s jazz funeral events happen.

Finally, many thanks to the Parish of St. Ann in Bethany Beach. A winning ticket was drawn at the Bethany Bandstand for a brand new 2023 Kia Sorrento, donated by Holly Kia in Selbyville. The jazz funeral owes a special thank-you to Alexis Sclama for choosing the jazz funeral to host the drawing and to Pastor John Klevence for picking the winning ticket.

Additional thanks goes to the local news media for helping the jazz funeral and the Red Cross by spreading the word about our activities.

Paul Jankovic

Chairman, Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and Silent Auction

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