By: Olivia Armstrong, Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern
OCEAN CITY, N.J. — Mark Soifer, Ocean City’s former director of public relations who played a massive role in building up the shore town’s reputation, passed away last weekend at the age of 89, according to a report from the Press of Atlantic City. Soifer is widely credited with helping Ocean City establish itself as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” He was surrounded by his wife and kids in his home at the time of his passing.
Soifer started dedicating his time in 1971 when he started working for Ocean City. He served as the city’s public relations director, helping establish many different events that built up Ocean City’s reputation over time. Soifer retired from his post in 2016, and his final day on the job was at Ocean City’s annual First Night event that takes place on December 31. Although going to a shore town on New Year’s Eve might not sound like the most appealling option, Soifer’s work made the First Night and subsequent First Day events wildly popular among the community.
“He created all the special events that are still continuing in Ocean City. He really enjoyed doing that,” Toby Soifer, Mark’s wife, told the Press of Atlantic City.
To the public, Soifer is known for the events he helped create, such as Weird Week, the Pamper Scamper baby race, Martin Z. Mollusk Day, the King and Queen of Plop, and Mr. Mature America. Soifer helped shape Ocean City into what it is today with all of its unique, fun events.
Soifer started his career as a published poet who wrote multiple short stories, to take on this job which changed everything. Although the writing and the Ocean City job were important to him, Soifer’s love for his family trumped all else.
“It’s hard to imagine an Ocean City without Mark,” Ocean City Mayor Jay A. Gillian said on Monday, per the Press of Atlantic City.
Soifer’s family has opted not to hold a public service for him, instead choosing to only hold a private service for immediate family only.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.