Former OCBP Captain George Lafferty Dies at Age 93

Lafferty led the Ocean City Beach Patrol from 1962 to 1983.

George T. Lafferty, 93, died Sunday morning at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.

Lafferty served as captain of the Ocean City Beach Patrol from 1962 to 1983. The patrol captured 15 South Jersey Lifeguard Championship titles in Lafferty's 22 years as captain, including a record 11 straight in the 1960s and 1970s.

Lafferty had been in failing health in recent years and had been required to undergo kidney dialysis on a regular basis. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Bettie. The Laffertys have two sons, George and Bill.

The Laffertys shared time in homes in Ocean City and Stuart, Fla.

Lafferty, who had been an OCBP lifeguard from 1936 to 1938, took control of the patrol after the retirement of 40-year Capt. Thomas A. Williams in 1962. The Storm of '62 had destroyed three of the four beach patrol headquarters that winter.

Lafferty was a graduate of South Philadelphia High School, where his football and track career earned him a spot in the school's athletic hall of fame. He is a veteran of the Pacific theater in World War II and served 27 years in the Navy as a chief petty officer.

Lafferty will be remembered by generations of OCBP guards as an old-school icon — known simply as "Cap" — who commanded respect, who rewarded good work and who revealed an occasional soft spot for his charges.

"He didn't mix words," said Ed Yust, a former OCBP lieutenant who started work in the 1960s under Lafferty. "The Navy was still in him. He was a guy's guy."

"He may not have liked you, but if you did your job, he'd take care of you."

Friends may call Thursday evening (July 26) 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Godfrey Funeral Home in the Palermo section of Upper Township at 644 South Shore Road. A Masonic Service will be offered at 6 p.m. and a time for family and friends to share at 8 p.m. followed by military honors. The family suggests those who desire send memorial contributions to the Ocean City Humane Society, PO Box 1254, One Shelter Road, Ocean City, NJ 08226. To email condolences, visit www.godfreyfuneralhome.com.

chuck betson July 22, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Captain Lafferty was a true leader of men and earned the respect of everybody who worked for him. He is an OCBP legend. It was s0 fitting that the OCBP recently honored him by naming the racing boat used in competition after him. That boat will be in action tonight at the Atlantic City Classic. You always knew where you stood with CAP. And he always stood tall.
Monk Dean July 22, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Fred Miller July 22, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Captain Lafferty had a huge influence on my life. In 1981, he was unhappy with the amount of press the Ocean City Beach Patrol was receiving, so he appointed me the patrol's publicity man. That was the start of my writing career. He has been my leader and friend since 1965. He was truly a legend in Ocean City and South Jersey.
Sheila Oliva July 22, 2012 at 09:56 PM
RIP Cap:(
Stan duzy July 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Captain Lafferty, OCBP legend, passed on one of the most beautiful beach days of 2012. A fitting send off to a great OC citizen. He will be missed.
James Kirk July 23, 2012 at 12:01 AM
He used to have a coffee cup that read: THE BOSS! Truer words were never written.
matt cairnes July 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM
James "Scott" Burns July 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM
May God Bless you and keep you....may God shine his face upon you and give you Peace! James "Scott" Burns
Doug Watkins July 23, 2012 at 03:19 PM
An OCBP legend. What a great mentor and influence. He is certainly one individual I will continue to remember and respect for the rest of my life Cap’s “driving around” watching us from up there, now Our condolences to Bettie, Bill and George and the rest of the OCBP family
Jack Ross July 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM
"Cap" was an important man in my life. He gave me an opportunity to be a leader within a great organization and empowered me to use those skills to better organize the South End as he envisioned its growth long before others. He always had your back, and you always knew who was in charge.
Rick Dougherty July 23, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Captain Lafferty was my first Boss. As a 19 year old college kid I watched this man command respect from all those around him. He was a ceaseless supporter of the Beach Patrol and he stood up for all of us. I served on the patrol for just two years and yet he remembered me and hundreds of us who also were lucky enough to be members of "O C B P" . I hope we made him proud.
Ed Fallon July 23, 2012 at 09:13 PM
CAP was always one to take care of his "boys". Due to a slight indiscretion one night during the summer of '68, I found myself detained by the OCPD. Their offer was to "spend the night or come up with the fine". After a short call to CAP, he showed up quickly (I could see his PJ's under his jacket). He then proceeded to sign over his house as a bond. I don't know of any other "boss" that would have gone that far. For years after, he would always ask me if he could have his house back. Truely a one of a kind man. We'll miss you CAP. Ed "Birdman" Fallon
Bill Gallagher July 23, 2012 at 09:18 PM
It was our pleasure knowing Captain Lafferty. If impressions are lasting Captain Laffertys are everlasting. Condolences to the Lafferty family. God bless and rest in peace.
Roy H Zehner July 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Cap was a good man, a true Patriot. The discipline and work ethic he instilled in his crew were engrained for life. He ran a tight ship but a ship that built a esprit d' corps that exist today. He encouraged participation in rowing, running, swimming but not at the sacrifice oif enjoying the summers. Cap may be gone, but his legacy lives on...Rest In Peace...you did well. Roy H Zehner
rick adams July 24, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Cap, my friend who I owe so much to. He taught me how to take an order, how to give an order and how to stand up as a man among men. There is not a day in my liife that I do not use what he taught me. Rest in peace Cap you did one hell of a good job. Rick Adams
CTA July 24, 2012 at 01:19 PM
oddly enough, Capt. Steele and I were talking about Capt as our day closed at the beach house in sea isle on Sunday. My first year as a lifeguard was Capts first year with OC........I learned a lot in those five years, things that I try to pass on to younger guards even today. Thanks, Captain !
Ryan lafferty July 24, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thanks, for everything Cap! I miss you shipmate!!
Peg MacFarland July 24, 2012 at 04:45 PM
17th Street won't be the same without him. What a giant of a man, when he spoke, you were sure to listen to his every word. R.I.P. Cap...you are going to be missed alot! Nan, George and Billy, are prayers are with you. Love... Peg, Lee and family
sam July 25, 2012 at 01:10 AM
to add my 2 cents, in my young life in a religious phase, asked him for saturdays off as that was my thing. no problem, no comment, tks cap
Jan Nace July 25, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Jan Nace .... Thanks to a great man who was my first real boss and who allowed me to have the best job in the world. He treated us all with respect and taught us all so much. We have lost a great friend and mentor ..... RIP "CAP"
Stephen Sid Cassidy July 26, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Cap treated me like a son .... he knew when to kick me in the butt and when to slap me on the back .... I learned a great deal from him and he certainly had a major impact on my life .... I cannot imagine what route I would have taken without his acceptance, guidance and support .... RIP Cap - meet you in a Land of Hope and Dreams
John Pfister August 12, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Hi Cap - You did well. You made an indelible impression on generations of young men coming of age...in the 60s and 70s. If we were right, you were a pillar of support...and if we were wrong, the fury of God was released. I still remember the look on your face when you saw Ronnie Fox smiling next to the 26th st guard boat that was split in half...(after catching that great wave!). Your booming voice still reverberates and echoes in my head...so...over the years...whenever I want to motivate myself...I just replay that scene...let it loose and boom!...I'm off! Best to you Cap - and rest in peace. You did well. John Pfister (1964-68)


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something