SDMS science teacher dies in boat accident

(April 17, 2015) Stephen Decatur Middle School lost a beloved seventh grade science teacher this week when a boating trip to Westmoreland State Park in Montross, Va., took a tragic turn for Douglas Romano.

“It is heartbreaking when we lose someone in our school family,” said Superintendent Jerry Wilson. “Our focus will be helping our students and staff to cope with this terrible loss, helping the Romano family in any way that we can, and remembering a special person who devoted his life to helping the next generation understand and explore their world.”

His body was found by the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday afternoon off Cobb Island, Md. His wife had reported him missing at about 1 a.m. Monday after he failed to return from a trip that began at 9 a.m. the day before, Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Police said Romano left his Salisbury home that morning to look for fossils on the Potomac River shoreline and was expected to return by 9 p.m.

Before finding the 51-year-old’s body, state police said they found his vehicle and trailer at a Marina on Cobb Island.

The Coast Guard was informed of Romano’s disappearance on Monday morning and joined the search.

His skiff was discovered overturned with the motor missing about a 1.5 miles offshore of Westmoreland State Park, according to the Coast Guard and police.

Romano was a teacher for 27 years, spending his last 11 with Worcester County Public Schools as a seventh grade science teacher at Stephen Decatur Middle School, according to Barbara Witherow, coordinator of public relations and special programs for the schools.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Doug Romano,” said Stephen Decatur Middle School Principal Lynne Barton. “He was a colleague, friend, mentor, coach, and an inspiration to so many. He possessed a high level of energy and a positivity that were contagious. We will miss him.”

Additional school counselors were on hand this week to help students and the county health department offered support and counseling to teachers and staff at Stephen Decatur Middle School.

Romano was a candidate for Worcester County’s Teacher of the Year in 2007.

According to police, weather conditions made it difficult to find Romano on Monday with rough waters, high winds and cold water temperatures.

There were no signs of foul play and the investigation is ongoing.

His body was taken to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore for an autopsy, police said.

A Facebook page was made by students Romano has inspired throughout his years of teaching. It encourages everyone to post memories, share pictures and honor a man who helped them enjoy science by teaching creatively. Check out their memorial page at www.facebook.com/InHonorOfDoug/.

A memorial service will be held today, Friday, April 17 at 8 p.m. at the Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury with visitation one hour before the service. The address is 501 Snow Hill Rd. Memorial contributions can be made to the charities dear to his heart, Disabled Veterans of America and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

His obituary is on www.legacy.com. Visit www.hollowayfh.com to express condolences to his family.

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