John T. Gosnell, 75, founder of insurance firm

December 15, 2003

John T. Gosnell, founder of a Cockeysville insurance brokerage and volunteer firefighter, died of a heart attack Tuesday. He was stricken while driving his car and taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. He was 75 and lived in Monkton.

Mr. Gosnell was born in the Chestnut Ridge section of Baltimore County and raised in Hampden. He attended city public schools, from which he earned his equivalency diploma

During World War II, he served in the merchant marine aboard the SS John W. Brown, which is one of two operating Liberty ships in the nation. He was also a member of Project Liberty Ship, which owns and operates the ship.

Mr. Gosnell was a graduate of what was then Towson State College and later attended the old Mount Vernon School of Law, now the University of Baltimore Law School.

He served as a state trooper from 1955 to 1960, when he became an insurance salesman. He was president of Gosnell Insurance Co. Inc. in Cockeysville, which he founded in 1971.

Mr. Gosnell was a founder and former president of the Maryland State Police Alumni Association.

An active volunteer firefighter, Mr. Gosnell was a life member of the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Department and the Madison Volunteer Fire Department. He was also a member of Church Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Harford County Volunteer Fire Association and Dorchester Volunteer Fire Association.

Last year, he was inducted into the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association Hall of Fame, and earlier this year was inducted into the Maryland State Firemen's Association Hall of Fame.

Mr. Gosnell was a member for 40 years of St. James Episcopal Church in Monkton, where services were held Saturday.

Mr. Gosnell is survived by his wife of 27 years, the former Sandra Steinacker; a stepson, Richard L. Allen of Westminster; a sister, Elizabeth Scott of Bel Air; and two grandchildren.

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