Dewey will miss TJ Redefer’s public service

April 13, 2020

TJ Redefer grabbed life with both hands, embracing it, shaking it, dancing with it, joking with it, wrangling with it and extracting all that he could from it. He was one of that rare breed known as a native Dewey Beacher.

When he died quietly this week – suddenly and unexpectedly for many – he left an indelible mark and enlivened spirit that will be remembered fondly for a very long time.

Mayor of Dewey Beach during the past three years, TJ brought a lifelong passion for his unique coastal town. In smile and appearance he exemplified Dewey’s laid-back lifestyle, but that belied the fire that burned in him for his community.

Critics of Dewey’s government, including the Cape Gazette on occasion, were quick to feel the lash of TJ’s tongue if he felt the criticism was unjust, based on misinformation, one-sided or just plain too negative for his taste. Likewise, if he was wrong, he would admit it.

TJ’s many years of activity with Dewey Beach Lions Club nurtured his inherent sense of public service that he brought to his elected positions.

Like so many in these largely volunteer positions, that public service was both duty and privilege. He celebrated his town’s successes, and took pride in the events and accomplishments of the town’s many organizations and businesses that add so much to its active and vibrant culture.

He reveled in being part of Dewey Beach gatherings, and enjoyed talking town politics between sips and laughter.

He also took personally the shortcomings that are a natural part of the ebb and flow of any community government making efforts to improve.

When TJ wasn’t conducting town or real estate business, he delighted in photographing events or the natural beauty of this part of the world with his drone-mounted camera. TJ was a drone pioneer for our area. The Cape Gazette was the grateful recipient of his generously offered know-how and occasional images provided for publication.

TJ Redefer was a bright light and a dedicated public servant whom we have lost way too early.



  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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