Michael Edward Dodds went to be with the lord, his parents and his sister on November 9th 2021 after a courageous battle with multiple medical issues.
Born August 4th, 1957 in Mount Holly, New Jersey, Mike spent nearly his entire life in the Manahawkin area. A Southern Regional High School wrestler (‘75) he was known as a true local Manahawkin Man.
Growing up in Beach Haven West, he spent decades on the Barnegat Bay and Long Beach Island as an avid Baymen, Angler, Surfer, Crabber, Commercial Clammer and, of course an expert-level curler of 12 ounce bottles out on the boat. He loved the bay and always had some kind of boat (even if it was landlocked on his front lawn). In his later years, he was often seen driving down Stafford Ave with his dog to hang out near the bridge-to-nowhere. He was a self-appointed Sheriff of the bridge-to-nowhere, always sharply reminding passersby to slow down in their cars or no-wake while passing under the bridge on a boat.
Mike was well-known in the community more than 35 years ago as a young father who was given 6 months to live when he was diagnosed with cancer. He decided he didn’t like that to be the end of his story and beat the odds and the disease 3 times over, raising two sons with his former spouse Mary Venezia (Quinley) along the way. His nickname of “The Pirate” and moniker of “Stafford Zoning Department’s Most Wanted” did a great job of describing him as vividly as possible. He particularly loved to do all he could to torture the zoning inspectors on his collection of items he kept on his lawn. For many years, people all through the area knew him as a hustler (and a bit of a pioneer in the trade of “we will buy your car”) who was always running ads or had signs posted looking to buy, fix-up, and then sell used cars. He was very proud of his stock inventory of various cars and vessels on his lawn and loved that it drove some of his neighbors nuts. He boasted about always seeming to be 1-2 steps ahead of the Stafford zoning department when it came to him moving around his car flipping operation: renting space from others in the area to use for storing or selling his cars.
Mike is predeceased by his parents Edward Dodds of Tuckerton and Mary Dodds (Cooper) of Beach Haven West as well as his older sister Catherine Cranmer (Dodds) of Ship Bottom. He is also predeceased by three generations of beloved dogs: Herbie, Barney, and Bosco.
He loved to tell anyone who would listen at the Elks and Moose lodge (along with many other local watering holes) that his greatest achievement in life was coparenting with Mary to raise their two sons and all of their successes: Matthew Dodds of Loudoun County, Virginia, a Branch Chief with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Patrick Dodds of Blackwood, New Jersey, a United States Air Force Iraq/Afghanistan combat veteran and current Mechanical Engineering College student. He is also survived by his grandson (who he adored to no-end) who was also his namesake, Michael “Mikey” Patrick Dodds, of Fort Dix, NJ; his brother and sister Phillip Dodds and Margaret Romo (Dodds) of Florida and sister Cindy Matson (Dodds) of Mississippi. He is also survived by his former spouse and mother of Matt and Pat, Mary Venezia (Quinley) of Forked River, his best friend of 55+years, William “Bill” Dondero of Pennsylvania, countless nieces, nephews, extended family, and lots of “Old Manahawkin” friends.
Mike was very clear that he never wanted a traditional service in his passing and even floated the idea of a “Viking Funeral” for his ashes to be sent off into the middle of the Barnegat Bay aboard an ignited Clamming Garvey. His sons, in wishing to keep their jobs and Top Secret security clearances, opted to dial down his wishes and instead arrange a get together soon for friends and family to gather, tell stories and remember Mike….. and of course, listen to plenty of Rolling Stones.
Immediate family will participate in a intimate ceremony next summer where we will honor Mike’s wishes to scatter his ashes off the coast of LBI and return him eternally to the the water he loved so dear.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for you to crack open an ice-cold Rolling Rock while remembering stories about Mike. If you’re feeling extra nostalgic, feel free to sip on some Grand Marnier (one of his favorites). Just don’t ever make the mistake that his oldest son did when Matt first turned 21 and take a shot Grand Marnier in front of Mike. You’ll be scolded from beyond the grave and reminded that Grand Marnier is “only to be sipped.”
If you’re feeling extra giving, you may also make a donation in his memory to the brilliant people saving lives at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the Stafford Wrestling Club, the Stafford Police PBA, Stafford Volunteer Fire Company, or Stafford Volunteer EMS Squad.