A Life Well Lived: Ocean City, NJ, Lifeguard, Coach, Restaurant Founder Dies
Thomas Oves lived long and lived well.
Thomas Oves, the founder of the popular Ocean City Boardwalk eatery and bike rental business, Oves Restaurant, died on Saturday at age 87.
According to his obituary, Mr. Oves graduated from Ocean City High School and attended the University of Delaware on a football scholarship.
After a stint in the U.S. Army, Tom returned to Ocean City and married the love of his life, Anne Sellers Oves. They raised four sons.
Oves taught physical education and driver's education and coached football at Wildwood High School for 27 years.
Tom was one of the original members and a Lieutenant in the Ocean City Beach Patrol and was in the first class of inductees into the OCBP Hall of Fame in 1975. He was a champion singles and doubles rower earning numerous lifeguard championships.
The Oves Restaurant webpage recalls what happened next.
When Tom Oves retired from the Ocean City Beach Patrol, he began to rent a small fleet of bikes in front of the Delaware Hotel at Park Place & the Beach and branched out to the Boxwood Café at 4th and Atlantic Avenue.
When the people came back from biking, they would ask Tom, “Where’s a good place to have breakfast?”
In 1968, Oves found a beach lot that was available at 4th & Boardwalk. He moved the bike business to the beach and started a small grill. At that time the boardwalk was in front of the beach stand. The stand was built on pilings so the ocean wouldn’t carry it away which is how it got its original name, Oves’ Hi Spot.
In 1979, Ocean City redesigned the boardwalk, moving it closer to the street, which connected the store to the boardwalk and they changed the name to Oves’ Beach Grill, and later to Oves Restaurant. In the early 1980s, the dining room was expanded and a second floor was added.
Oves Restaurant remains a popular seasonal business 53 years later.
Tom's obituary points out that he worked every day of those 53 years. Even last summer, you could find him renting bicycles and surreys chatting happily with his customers.
Services for Tom Oves will be held on Thursday, Feb 17th.