John E. Bohlen Jr., 66, lawyer and sport fishing enthusiast

October 03, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

To John E. Bohlen Jr., practicing law in Baltimore County for nearly 40 years was something he enjoyed doing. Catching marlin and tuna on the weekends in the waters off Ocean City was what he loved doing.

"He practiced law so he could afford to go fishing," said his wife, the former Mary Carroll, whom he married in 1971. "It was his passion."

Mr. Bohlen, 66, who had practiced in the Fullerton area of Baltimore County for 37 years, died Sept. 24 of a heart attack at his Rosedale home.

Nearly all of Mr. Bohlen's spare time was spent aboard his 31-foot boat named JEB with his sons and friends. In addition to Ocean City, he frequently fished on the Chesapeake Bay and was well known for his tuna and marlin fishing prowess.

Relatives who fished regularly with Mr. Bohlen said he logged between 15,000 and 20,000 hours aboard his boat during the last 25 years. He was a frequent entrant in marlin fishing contests.

"He caught hundreds of bill fish over the years and thousands of tuna and dolphin fish," said a son, Shawn Bohlen of Baltimore. "It was peaceful and relaxing, and he had perseverance."

His perseverance was especially important with his marlin fishing. Although he regularly caught white marlin in Ocean City, he was not as lucky with the more elusive blue marlin.

But two blue marlins at Ocean City were notable: a 451-pounder that took him and his crew 8 1/2 hours to catch, and an 11-foot, 398-pounder he caught with his son in 1989.

"His lifelong wish was to catch a blue marlin," his wife said, "and when he did, he gave the rod to his [then 14-year-old] son to reel in. That was special to him."

A native of Rosedale in Baltimore County, Mr. Bohlen graduated from Kenwood High School in 1948. He received bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Baltimore in the 1950s.

Mr. Bohlen served in the Marines from 1954 to 1956 and was a claims adjuster for USF&G upon his discharge until he opened his Belair Road practice in 1960.

"He was especially good at everything he did," said George White, an attorney who worked with Mr. Bohlen on several cases over the years. "John was not only respected for his ability but even more so for his devotion to his family."

He was a magistrate in Fullerton during the 1960s, before the county established its District Court system.

Bohlen was an avid hunter and owned farms in Dorchester and Allegheny counties, which he used primarily to hunt deer and waterfowl with his sons. He also enjoyed flying and had a pilot's license.

Services were held Saturday.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Bohlen is survived by three other sons, Jason Bohlen and Jeremy Bohlen, both of Baltimore, and John E. Bohlen III of Salisbury; and five grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/03/97

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