Benjamin Wolman, 74, Upper Marlboro lawyer, counsel to FOP lodges

May 28, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Benjamin Rosner Wolman, an Upper Marlboro attorney who was longtime counsel for Fraternal Order of Police lodges and former chairman of the state Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, died of heart failure Saturday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was 74.

Mr. Wolman was born in Baltimore and raised in Windsor Hills, the son of law partners -- the late Paul Carroll and Jenette R. Wolman, who was in the second class to include women at the University of Maryland law school.

A City College graduate, Mr. Wolman earned his bachelor's degree in 1951 from the University of Maryland. He served as an Air Force pilot from 1951 to 1953, and flew combat missions in Korea. He attained the rank of lieutenant and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mr. Wolman was a 1956 graduate of Harvard Law School.

From 1956 to 1964, he was chief of the hearing division of the U.S. Maritime Commission and served as a part-time assistant state's attorney for Prince George's County.

Since 1964, Mr. Wolman had maintained a general law practice in Upper Marlboro. From 1970 to 1987, he was an assistant professor in the criminal justice department of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mr. Wolman was a member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for a decade -- appointed in 1988 by Gov. William Donald Schaefer and reappointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening in 1993.

Since 1969, he had been legal counsel to the Fraternal Order of Police lodges across the state and was known as the "guardian of police officers."

"He was one of our good friends and a top-notch attorney. He was with us from the beginning and was still our attorney," said Ron Harsman, president of the state police FOP Lodge 69 in Catonsville. "He knew the system inside and out and always wanted to protect the troopers."

"The only thing I can say was that he was always a policeman's best attorney and friend," said Phillip B. Hacher, a friend of 25 years and retired Prince George's County police detective. "He always stood beside the employee and made sure their rights were protected and that they got a fair shake."

Mr. Wolman was a 48-year member of the Maryland Bar Association, and a member of the Prince George's County Bar Association's executive board. He also was a member of the Harvard Law School Association and Patuxent River Civic Association.

He and his wife of 51 years, the former Mary Laurentz, lived at Hurry Up Farm in Mitchellville, where they were hosts for a decade to horse shows featuring hunters and jumpers. Mr. Wolman also was a well-known commentator on the Maryland equestrian circuit -- but had never ridden a horse.

"He enjoyed horses and was drawn to the equestrian community. He was such a gentle soul and had a beautiful melodious voice that made all the shows special," said Emmy Prettyman of Springdale, an equestrian coach.

Mr. Wolman was a member and former president of the Del la Brook Hunt -- "one of the only members to have received his colors despite never having ridden a horse," said a niece, Margot Wolman of Finksburg. "He tried to get on a horse once and it wasn't pretty."

Mr. Wolman was an avid Bowie Baysox fan and had served as president of the baseball team's booster club. He and his wife had provided lodging in their home for players and coaches.

After learning of his death, the team dedicated Saturday's game to Mr. Wolman.

Graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m. today at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery on Sunrise Beach Road in Crownsville.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Wolman is survived by two daughters, Katherine L. Wolman of Redway, Calif., and Karen L. Anadol of Mitchellville; and six grandchildren.

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