OCEAN CITY - Resident Gary Pasternak, who died Saturday while kayaking off Ocean City, was remembered as someone who "always had a cheery smile and something nice to say."
Pasternak, 59, had gone kayaking Saturday around 9:30 a.m., entering the ocean near 21st Street.
His body was recovered in the area of 15th Street just after 10:25 a.m. Police said he was unconscious and was later pronounced dead at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.
Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and director of the city's First Night committee, knew Pasternak and said his death was a loss for the community.
Pasternak served on the city's First Night committee, Gillian said, where he was among the volunteers who planned and organized the city's annual New Year's celebration.
"It's such a shock to Ocean City to lose someone like that," Gillian said, adding Pasternak and his wife had been volunteers with the committee for about 10 years.
Gillian said Pasternak, who also helped his wife as she coached field hockey at Ocean City High School, was a very private person, but always worked for the good of the community.
"He had just a nice, kind way about him and a good spirit," she said.
The family did not wish to comment when contacted Sunday.
Pasternak was found shortly after his kayak was spotted 300 yards off the coast near 22nd Street. A search of the area led to Pasternak and lifeguards administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation before he was taken to the hospital.
State Police said Monday that an autopsy had been performed, and the results were pending.
Contact Trudi Gilfillian: