Association dedicates room as community pays tribute to local legend
More than 100 people on Thursday gathered at the Ocean Pines Community Center to pay their respect to Anna Foultz, a prolific fundraiser in the community for more than three decades who passed away in September. She was 93.
First up, Association President Doug Parks kicked off a room dedication as the Association renamed the community center’s Marlin Room as “The Anna Foultz Room.”
Parks said Ocean Pines “lost a valued member of our community,” specifically highlighting her volunteer work and Star Charities, the nonprofit she and her late husband, Carl, formed more than a decade ago.
“It’s going to be hard to replace [Foultz]. Somebody with that level of volunteer spirit only comes along once in a while,” Parks said.
Foultz presented Parks with a signed copy of her memoir “Two Steps Forward” just weeks before she died. He read from a brief passage in the book, titled “My Prayer.”
“Good morning world! Thank you, God, for giving me another day to love and serve you! Every morning before my feet hit the ground, I say this little prayer and I am thankful to be living in America. Here I have the opportunity to volunteer, serve, encourage others, and have fun. As my father before me, I place the Girl Scout’s green beret on my head as a thinking cap and respectfully honor all who have served or will serve our country past, present and future.”
“That really says what Anna was all about,” Parks said. “She gave [willingly] of her time. She really set the example that I think all of us can aspire to.”
Anna Foultz’s son, Carl “Gilly” Foultz, cut the ribbon on the rededicated room as friends and Star Charities volunteers, including Barb Peletier and Susan Walter, looked on.
Later, inside the large Assateague Room of the community center, the crowd gathered as the Delmarva Chorus sang one of Foultz’s favorite songs, “It Had to Be You,” and about a dozen speakers paid their respects.
Many told heartfelt stories, while others remembered the fun and often funny times they had with Foultz, who moved to the area just over 30 years ago.
Peletier, who helped to emcee the event, referenced the fact that Foultz said she didn’t want a party she couldn’t attend.
“I know Anna’s looking down, saying, ‘no party without me,’ but the community voted, and you lost,” she said. “Anna instilled in her Star Charities volunteers that one can never do or give enough to the community and those in need. Thank you, Anna, for all you taught us. We love you and we miss you.”
Peletier, also a member of the Kiwanis, added that organization recently voted to award a scholarship in Foultz’s name to a local high school senior.
Sen. Mary Beth Carozza presented a Maryland Senate memorial citation to Foultz’s family, and Carozza and Del. Wayne Hartman presented a memorial citation from Governor Larry Hogan.
“Anna Foultz was a true servant leader,” Carozza said. “Her endearing nature of pulling anybody and everybody into her service activities, at all ages, had the effect of reaching and assisting thousands and thousands of people on the shore, throughout Maryland and our country, and even worldwide.”
Carozza said Foultz’s legacy is the army of volunteers she inspired “who are living life and serving others.”
Worcester County Commissioner Chip Bertino borrowed an old showbiz adage and said Foultz “left us wanting more.”
“She was one of a kind, always doing things for others,” he said. “Her daughter told me that the best way to honor Anna was to keep the momentum going and, I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t think I could keep up with the pace that Anna set.”
Bertino fondly recalled watching Foultz herd a crowd of people together, often including himself, to take a photo with her tiny point-and-shoot Kodak camera, which often malfunctioned or had the batteries die.
“At an event not long ago it was, ‘Anna, come on, take the picture!’ And it wasn’t because I was upset about her, it was because I had to go to the bathroom,” Bertino said with a laugh. “But we all did it, and we did it because it was Anna.
“Somewhere there’s heaven and somewhere there’s music, possibly a mummers strut, and I believe Anna’s enjoying both in Carl’s arms,” he continued. “We are fortunate to live in our community and we are blessed that for a time we lived in a community that Anna called home.”
Walter, who was secretary of Star Charities for four years, said she saw firsthand Foultz’s “selfless, altruistic ways.”
“More importantly than working together, she was my friend,” she said. “Every time we saw each other or talked on the phone, we never ended our conversation without saying … ‘I love you.’ And I’m blessed that I got to say those words to her just three days before she passed.
“On the sands of time, you have left your footprint with glory. Presidents, kings [and] leaders or countries rule their lands. Anna, you ruled the hearts of people around you and you will do so in paradise,” Walter continued. “You spread happiness for all the years you were here on earth, but now it is time for God to give you peace and happiness in return, as you hold his hand.”
Larry Walton noted that Star Charities volunteers were, one last time, running the “Holiday Gifts for Our Soldiers” collection originated by Carl and Anna Foultz. This Saturday, Oct. 26, volunteers will host a food drive in the parking lot of the Ocean Pines Food Lion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Paul Mazzei said he knew Foultz for a long time and joined her on several volunteer and community groups, including Star Charities and the Sons of Italy.
“Anna belonged to a lot of organizations, but she’s not like the most of us – she took an active part,” he said.
Mazzei said he once joined a grief group after his wife passed away, and Foultz later joined after her husband died. The “Widow/Widower’s Group of Ocean Pines” had perhaps six or seven members when she joined, Mazzei said, but later grew to 108 members.
“And that was because of Anna Foultz’s publicity,” he said. “Every one of our meetings was in the paper, pictures were in the paper and all that sort of thing, and I have to thank her because I met my second wife there.”
Mazzei joked there were 100 women and only eight men in the group.
“My wife didn’t have much to choose from – there was only eight of us – but I could still drive at night!” he said with a laugh.
Mazzei later invoked an old Reader’s Digest column about “The Most Unforgettable Character.”
“In my opinion, she was the most energized senior citizen I’ve ever seen – put that damned bunny to shame,” he said. “Anna Foultz is my most unforgettable character of Ocean Pines and, thanks to the dedication today, she will not be forgotten.”
Former Worcester County Commissioner Judy Boggs said Foultz was a dear friend.
“Everything that has been said of Anna is quite true, and then some,” she said.
Boggs said there was also another side of Foultz, one that was modest and unsure of herself. After learning she would receive a national award for “Businesswoman of the Year,” Foultz called Boggs for help, worried she didn’t qualify as a businesswoman and would be seen as a fraud.
“I said, Anna, just be calm and think about these things. Everything a businesswoman does you do, only you don’t take credit for it,” Boggs said. “You have lots of people who work for you. She said, ‘Well, they don’t get paid.’ And I said, ‘They get paid in love and in appreciation.’
“It took two sessions to get her to believe she was indeed a businesswoman and deserved that – she wanted to give it back,” Boggs continued. “She went across the country and she made her speech, and she knocked them dead.”
Ocean 98 deejay David “Bulldog” Rothner, among the last to speak, joked that Foultz spent more time in his studio than some of his employees.
“Every time she came into my studio, she came in to help somebody else,” he said. “She never wanted to do anything for herself.”
Rothner said Foultz was the epitome of goodness and selflessness, “and she left the longest damned answering messages I’ve ever heard in my life.”
“I’d go on vacation and come back, [and] the same message was playing,” he said with a laugh. “It was unbelievable. But we had so much fun.
“Certain interviews you do on the air and people remember them, but every interview with Anna got a reaction, and I would get emails and texts, ‘We love her! She’s great! Can she come back?’ I said, ‘She will.’ And you know what? I’m not so sure she’s not coming back again,” Rothner said. “Anna was great for the community … we’re better for knowing her, and she had a real clear message, and it was always to help others and do what you can.”
Gilly, in the final address of the afternoon, said his mother loved everyone in the community.
“I want to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for doing this and coming to see her, and spending some time remembering her,” he said.
He added Anna Foultz’s last wishes were to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with her husband, Carl, a combat veteran.
“Right now we have a 10-month delay … but I promise you, as soon as we get the word, I will circulate it out so everybody will know, and you’re welcome to come,” he said.