Zolpers carry on great tradition in Dewey

April 6, 2021

I was pleased to learn about Bill Zolper’s being named the new city manager for Dewey Beach.  I’ve known Bill and his family for a long time and they constitute one of a number of dynasties who lifeguarded on the Rehoboth Beach Patrol.  I guarded with all of them, including Bill’s father, Bill Senior, who came back to guard with his sons and won  some U.S. Lifesaving Association competition medals while doing so.

Bill Jr. had a successful career in the military (Army) and then became a Delaware state policeman.  As if that wasn’t enough, Bill then had a highly successful career as a  special agent in the FBI.  I think that all of his brothers have been in public service as their careers. There seems to be a tradition of that in their family. 

One of Bill’s uncles bluffed the commander of the German military which continued to hold Cherbourg, the main port on the Normandy coast, for some time after we landed June 6, 1944.  Cherbourg was a critical place and was essential for us to capture in order for our ships to have a deep-water port to unload cargo and troops and take out our wounded.

Cherbourg was guarded by a strong garrison of German soldiers in Fort du Homet, the German stronghold above the port. According to,  Bill’s uncle, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr.  Quentin R. Walsh, and a fellow officer, bluffed their way into the fort, and  told the Germans that they had no chance of getting out alive unless they surrendered. The Germans also held 50 of our paratroopers prisoner.  The fort was very strong and could have held out but the German surrender saved many lives and enabled the U.S. and British Navies to access the port.

I’ve seen plenty of good thinking and courage with the Zolpers/Walshes and I expect we will more with Bill’s now being in charge of Dewey Beach.  His is no easy job but he has the intelligence, integrity, and guts to do right by Dewey. 

Dr. Peter I. Hartsock
co-founder, RBP Alumni Association
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