Ed Hearthway was always there to help others

Walter “Ed” Edward Hearthway was seen by all as a man committed to helping others. Whether it was through Toys For Tots at Christmas Time or through his work in the state Health Services system, the former U.S. Marine was always there when a community need was expressed.

A resident of Mardela Springs, Hearthway died Sunday, May 14, 2017, at his home at the age of 70. He had suffered from brain cancer for over a year.

Hearthway was born in Snow Hill to the late Mildred Ellen Shockley and Lester Vincent Hearthway. At the time of his death, he was married to Frances Layton Walker.

He graduated from Snow Hill High School in 1965 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966 to 1970. Duty stations included Okinawa, Vietnam and Japan.

Following an honorable discharge in 1970, he enrolled at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. After graduation, he continued on to earn his master’s degree in social work administration in 1975 from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

He was employed for 35 years by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Developmental Disabilities Administration. During this time, he also worked as a private consultant with the Accreditation Council and the Columbus Organization.

Hearthway was an active member of various veterans’ organizations including the Wicomico County War Memorial Committee, American Legion Post 218 Sharptown, Sons of the American Legion, Heroes Haven, and a life member of the Marine Corps League, Military Order of the Devil Dogs, and Veterans of the Foreign Wars Meuse Post 194 Maryland.

He was the Coordinator for the Toys for Tots campaign in the Lower Eastern Shore from 2000 until 2016, a voluntary role at which he worked tirelessly but received great joy.

Hearthway’s additional memberships included the Galestown Ruritan Club and Salisbury Elks.

He is survived by his wife, Fran; his daughter, Megan Lesley Hearthway Palmer and her husband, Aaron; a granddaughter, Celia; a grandson, Beckett, all of Baltimore; a nephew, Jonathan Vincent Johnson and his wife, Jennifer, and their sons, Tyler and Peyton, all of Bishopville.

He is also survived by his stepdaughters, Kelli Lewis and her husband, Jason, and their children, Karly and Kameryn, all of Mardela Springs, and Kimberly Wheatley and her husband, Hank of Galestown; and special friends, Merle and Tom Wheatley; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

His father, Lester — a renowned antiques dealer in Snow Hill — preceded him in death in January 1977. His sister, Mary Ann, died in November 2004. His mother, Mildred “Mickey” Hearthway, died in November 2015.

Relatives and friends are invited to a memorial service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Short Funeral Home in Delmar. Friends may call the funeral home tonight, Wednesday, between 6 and 8 p.m.

Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to: Heroes Haven, c/o Mr. Hank Wheatley, 5832 Wheatley Church Road, Seaford, DE 19973 or to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Meuse Post 194, 821 East William St., Salisbury, MD 21804.

Arrangements are in the care of Short Funeral Home in Delmar.

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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