Ocean City is mourning the loss of Mark Soifer, who helped define Ocean City as “America’s Greatest Family Resort” in a 45-year career as the city’s public relations director. Soifer passed away this weekend at age 89.
“It’s hard to imagine an Ocean City without Mark,” Mayor Jay A. Gillian said. “From the Doo Dah Parade to Martin Z. Mollusk Day and all the way to First Night, so much of what we celebrate came from Mark’s imagination. Everything he did had a simple message: Ocean City is a great place for families, and generations of residents and guests have enjoyed the results of his work.”
After serving in the Army and working in public relations in Philadelphia and Vineland, Soifer came to work for Ocean City in 1971. He is credited with bringing events such as First Night and the Doo Dah Parade to Ocean City, sustaining traditions such as the Baby Parade and Night in Venice and creating an array of unique family-oriented activities for the city — Miss Crustacean Pageants, Woof N Paws Pet Fashion Shows, Weird Weeks, Freckle Contests, Mr. Mature America Pageants and more. He had a sense of humor in everything he did. Soifer retired in 2016 after 45 years in his role with the city.
The park at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue (the former City Hall Annex, where he worked) was dedicated as Mark Soifer Park in 2016. He was honored as Citizen of the Decade in 2013.
“He was before his time,” Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian said. “His signature events make Ocean City what it is, and they have been recognized throughout the nation and the world. I always said we have the beach, the boardwalk, the bay – and Mark Soifer.”
Michele and Jay Gillian and the entire city team extend condolences to Mark’s wife, Toby, his four children, eight grandchildren and his extended family and friends.