Ocean City Today

Paul Joseph “PJ” Aldridge

Jan 11, 2018
Paul Joseph “PJ” Aldridge

printed 01/12/2018

Leonardtown, Md.

Paul Joseph “PJ” Aldridge, 51, a friend to many and a long-time Ocean City Realtor who confronted a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer by becoming an inspirational figure and fund-raiser, died Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 at the Hospice House of St. Mary’s surrounded by family.

Aldridge, who was born on Nov. 18, 1966 in Leonardtown, Maryland to Paul Joseph Aldridge Sr. and Janice Darlene Allan Aldridge, had battled the disease since his diagnosis in February 2010.

He was vacationing with friends in Costa Rica at the time when he began to experience difficulty breathing while surfing. When the problem became severe, he was flown to a hospital in the capital city of San Jose and doctors there discovered he had lung cancer.

Shortly thereafter, he was flown back to the United States and admitted to University of Maryland Medical Center, where the diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer was confirmed.

Despite undergoing an aggressive treatment program, PJ responded in a way that did not surprise his friends and family — with humor and a positive outlook that led him to parlay his natural charm into a major fundraising effort to support lung cancer research.

Such was his public profile that the gregarious Aldridge was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show in December 2010 as part of her “Ultimate Favorite Things Part 2” show, where his charitable work was recognized with gifts, including a car, to be used to raise money for his cause.

Last March, he donated that 2012 Volkswagen Beetle to Seacrets for a raffle to benefit the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute at Ocean Pines.

That donation was just one of his efforts through the PJ Aldridge Foundation, which he, friends and supporters launched in 2010.

PJ graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor’s degree and was employed as a Realtor in Ocean City for 33 years. He worked at Holiday Real Estate and later at the Mark Fritschle Group.

He enjoyed fishing, golfing and surfing, but would later say, “I’m the most blessed person on the planet to have the friends and family that I have.”

PJ is survived by his father, Paul Joseph Aldridge Sr., of Lexington Park, Md., mother, Janice Darlene Aldridge of Ocean City, and his brother, Mark Aldridge, of Lexington Park. He is preceded in death by his stepmother, Vicki Gurley Vail Aldridge, and grandparents, Louis Sr. and Mary Corina Aldridge, and Thomas and Mary Allan.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 11 a.m. at the Ocean City Marlin Club, 9659 Golf Course Road, Ocean City, MD 21842.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, 750 East Pratt Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202.

Condolences to the family may be made at www.brinsfieldfuneral.com.

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