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Longtime GOP Leader Marcus Karavan Dies at 69

Longtime GOP Leader Marcus Karavan Dies at 69

By Christopher South

Marcus Karavan, longtime attorney and former CapeGOP chairman, died on May 3 at age 69.
Marcus Karavan
Al Campbell/File Photo
Marcus Karavan, longtime attorney and former CapeGOP chairman, died on May 3 at age 69.

Marcus H. Karavan II, an attorney, former county GOP chairman and one of the founders of CapeGOP, died on Friday, May 3, after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

Karavan, a graduate of Villanova and Nova Southeastern universities, had a private law office in Wildwood for many years. According to his obituary, he liked to mentor young attorneys.

CapeGOP Chairman Mike Donohue, who took the reins of that organization in 2010, noted Karavan’s passing in a statement to party members. He said Karavan was part of “an intrepid band of men and women” who formed CapeGOP in 2010.

“Marc and I had been friends before 2010, but the experience of being in the political foxhole created a camaraderie seldom found in other pursuits,” Donohue said.

He said Karavan was an indispensable part of the team that helped Republicans take control of Middle, Dennis and Lower townships. Karavan took over the chairmanship of CapeGOP when Donohue was appointed a Superior Court judge.

On a more personal note, Donohue said of Karavan, “His quick wit over a drink and a meal with our comrades was always enlivening and often comforting.”

Donohue’s brother, former Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue, recalled working with Karavan as a solicitor while he was a new committeeman. He said that in the summer of 2015, he, his brother and Karavan had a breakfast meeting at the Vegas Diner, where he said a partnership in politics was formed.

He and Karavan became a team heading up the county organization. He said they worked hard through tumultuous times but succeeded in flipping the First Legislative District with the election of three Republican state legislators.

He said Karavan served the Middle Township community with distinction, and in 2020 was instrumental in organizing the visit of then-President Donald Trump to Wildwood.

“Marcus never wavered from his love of God, family, country … and guns and a good cigar,” Tim Donohue wrote. “He loved life and lived it to the fullest.”

Cape May County Board of County Commissioners Director Len Desiderio issued a statement on behalf of the board, saying, “Chairman Karavan was an excellent Cape May County Republican chairman who worked hard for the candidates. “

Desiderio said Karavan was recognized across the state as a great leader of the Republican Party. He said Karavan was easy to approach, especially during a campaign. He cited Karavan’s love for his Greek heritage and the Wildwoods.

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said he knew Karavan for probably 25 years, saying his first interaction with him was when Karavan was the city solicitor in Wildwood in the late 1990s.

“It continued over the years into when he became the chairman of the county Republican organization. I’m going to miss him, personally. He was the consummate gentleman,” Rosenello said.

He said that both as an attorney and as GOP chairman Karavan was always trying to bring people together and work for the better good and cited as one example his work on behalf of the Greek church in North Wildwood.

Karavan was described in his obituary as “a dedicated advocate for the local Greek community.”

Attorney Anthony Monzo said he started practicing law 35 years ago, when he met Karavan. He came to know him professionally and personally.

“Although we had been adversaries as attorneys in representing our clients over the years, he was always a gentleman and a true friend,” Monzo said. “Over the past two years I got to know him on a much deeper, personal level and prayed with him as he courageously batted with cancer. His passing has left a profound mark on my heart, and I am confident that he has crossed over into the arms of Jesus, who he accepted as his Lord and Savior.”

According to his obituary, Karavan enjoyed playing guitar, was an avid fan of classic rock and emphasized personal fitness.

Karavan was the older of two children and is survived by his three children. Services will be held Friday, May 10, at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in North Wildwood, which his parents, Harry and Rose, helped found in 1968. Interment will be at Fairview Memorial Cemetery.

Contact the reporter, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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