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Maryland’s political leaders are mourning the death of Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver (R), who died early Sunday less than half a year after announcing he had been diagnosed with liver cancer. He was 67.
“The family of County Executive Bob Culver is sad to announce that he passed peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family this morning,” the family said in a statement Sunday morning. “Well known for his spirit and tenacity, he had fought a courageous battle for several months.”
Culver, a businessman and entrepreneur, was elected county executive in 2014 after a term on the County Council, ousting Democratic incumbent Richard M. Pollitt Jr., 55.5% to 44.4%. He was reelected in a three-way race with 48.7% of the vote four years later.
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said he was “deeply saddened” by the news of Culver’s death. Hogan, a cancer survivor, said Culver “fought a tremendous battle against liver cancer.”
Sen. Mary Beth Carozza (R-Lower Shore) said Culver’s death “has hit our home community hard.”
Salisbury Mayor Jacob R. Day said Culver “was born with a servant’s heart.”
Even as he was badly ailing in the days leading up to his death, Culver attempted to remain active, posting information on his social media accounts about local developments, including COVID-19 relief grants from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Federal Aviation Administration approving a master plan for the Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport, and recycling requirements for office buildings.
One of his last public acts in office was taking down a plaque in Salisbury last month that honored a Confederate general, John Winder.
“Right up until the very end, Bob Culver was fighting for Wicomico County, and that’s inspiring for all of us in public service,” Carozza said.
In its statement, the family said it would release details on funeral arrangements later.
A lifelong resident of Wicomico County, Culver was a local business leader for decades, operating a paddle boat concession in Salisbury’s City Park for many years. He was also a restaurant owner and real estate developer.
The County Council has 45 days to name a replacement for Culver, who will serve until December 2022. The Council is obligated to pick a Republican for the job.