(July 26, 2019) On July 23, 2019, Kathleen Valcourt Harman passed away at the age of 92.
Born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts in 1927, Kathleen lived her life to the fullest embracing opportunities to share her opinions, spunkiness and humor until the very end.
Shortly after World War II, Kathleen married Bill Harman whose family built the first area motel, the Alamo.
It was here that Kathleen fell in love again, this time with the lodging industry.
While her husband worked as a plumbing contractor, Kathleen operated the Miami Court while raising her sons.
In 1958, the Harmans bought a half-block on 23rd Street and the ocean and built the Ocean Mecca Motel.
Eager to foster tourism, Kathleen frequently gathered other business owners to discuss issues and advocate for their rights, and in 1960 they formed the Ocean City Hotel-Motel Restaurant Association (OCHMRA).
It was later officially reorganized and she became the first president of the OCHMRA in 1971.
She also served as president of the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce in 1973.
She was the second recipient of the OCHMRA’s Paul Hazard Award in 1976, in honor of her dedication to hospitality.
In 1996, Kathleen was one of the six female pioneers of the industry that OCHMRA named as “Steel Magnolias.”
In 2017, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan declared June 30 as Kathleen Harman Day.
Additionally, she was an early member of the Junior Board at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, on the original board of the Ocean City Paramedic Foundation and an original member of ECHO, which eventually led to Atlantic General Hospital’s construction.
Kathleen was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, and her son, Steve Harman, who started the Poor Girls Open as a way for waitresses to have a fun and affordable competition and to raise money for a worthy cause.
She is survived by son, Stacy Harman and wife, Enie; son, Shawn Harman and wife, Donna; along with grandchildren, Zack, Devon, Jesse, Jennifer, Joslyn and Taylor.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, July 29, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Holy Savior on 17th Street. Visitation will be held from 10-11 a.m. prior to service. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Park.
Arrangements are in the care of the Burbage Funeral Home in Berlin. Letters of condolence may be sent to the family at www.burbagefuneralhome.com.