John ‘TJ’ E. Redefer III, Dewey Beach mayor

April 8, 2020

John "TJ" E. Redefer III, 58, of Dewey Beach passed away Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, after a short but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born July 28, 1961, in Lewes, son of the late John E. Jr. and Dolores (Read) Redefer.

TJ was a broker and owner of Rehoboth Bay Realty, a family-owned business founded by his father in 1986. He served as town commissioner and mayor of Dewey Beach since 2017, and was re-elected to a second two-year term in 2019. TJ was a pioneer in drone photography and found great joy in capturing the beauty of his adored Dewey Beach from above. He loved traveling all over, but none so much as his annual trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. TJ was an avid football fan, enthusiastically cheering on Notre Dame and the Philadelphia Eagles every season.

He loved the 4th of July and the annual family party at the Redefer Cabana. TJ was a “Glass Half Full” kind of person, exuding positivity and always offering a kind word to everyone he met. His family was everything to him, and nothing made him happier than sitting on the front porch with his beloved wife, watching the world go by in the town he was so proud to call home, Dewey Beach. His favorite saying was, “Welcome Home,” words he was undoubtedly met with when he moved on. TJ was a loving and devoted husband, father, brother, uncle and friend. He was loved by many and will be deeply and genuinely missed by all who had an opportunity to know him.

TJ is survived by his wife of 31 years, Roberta “Bobbie” Redefer of Dewey Beach; his children: Leigh Ann Winslow (Thurman) of Catharpin, Va., and Jack Redefer (Kirstin Lockwood) of Dewey Beach; his siblings: Beth Caruso (John) of Bronxville, N.Y., Chris Redefer (Cindy), Juli Mills (Bob), and Justin Redefer (Vanessa), all of Rehoboth Beach; his brother-in-law, Jimmy Goss of Fort Washington, Md.; his nieces: Carolyn Caruso, Katie Redefer, Grace Mills, Emily Redefer, and Eve Redefer; his nephews: Michael Caruso, Christopher Redefer and Ethan Redefer; and his beloved granddog, Stark.

TJ’s love for his family and community was unwavering, and no pandemic will keep the community from saying goodbye. The family invites everyone to safely line Route 1 in Dewey Beach Saturday, April 11, at 10:30 a.m., to “Welcome Home” TJ, as he takes one last ride through town. We respectfully ask that everyone maintain safe social distancing, or remain in their vehicles. TJ will be privately laid to rest next to his parents in Epworth Cemetery in Rehoboth Beach.

A Memorial Mass and Celebration of TJ’s Life will be announced at a later date. Arrangements are being handled by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in TJ’s memory to the Dewey Business Partnership, PO Box 260, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, the Dewey Beach Lions Club, 115 McKinley St., Dewey Beach, DE 19971, or Beebe Medical Foundation, 902 Savannah Road, Lewes, DE 19958.

Please visit TJ’s Life Memorial webpage and sign his online guestbook at





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