Del. Bennett Bozman, 69, of Shore

April 28, 2006|By CHRIS GUY | CHRIS GUY,SUN REPORTER

Del. Bennett Bozman, an affable Eastern Shore Democrat who in 15 years in Annapolis was known for a low-key style and his trademark buzz-cut hairstyle, died yesterday of complications from diabetes.

Colleagues, who were notified of Mr. Bozman's death about 4:30 p.m., said the 69-year-old retired pharmacist died en route to a Baltimore hospital.

Mr. Bozman had suffered pain and stubborn infections in his feet in recent years but appeared to have improved during the legislative session that ended April 10, said Del. D. Page Elmore, an Eastern Shore Republican.

Mr. Bozman had been treated for a week at Atlantic General Hospital near his waterfront home in Berlin, but his condition worsened this week, Mr. Elmore said.

"He seemed to have been walking better during the legislature, but the infection spread to his leg, and he was transferred to intensive care on Wednesday," Mr. Elmore said. "I went to see him, but they would not allow him to have visitors. Bennett was truly a good man."

Mr. Bozman, who for years ran a pharmacy in Berlin, became active in politics as a member of the Worcester County Democratic Central Committee in the late 1970s. From 1978 to 1990, he was a Worcester County commissioner, and in his last year as a member of the county board, he was also president of the Maryland Association of Counties.

He joined the House of Delegates in 1991, representing Wicomico and Worcester counties.

He took on a leadership role in 1995 as deputy majority whip. He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee and three years ago became chairman of the powerful committee's education subcommittee.

In 2000, Mr. Bozman took on incumbent U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest in a campaign that even the delegate acknowledged had little chance of succeeding. The two remained friends after the Republican won re-election.

"Bennett and I never had a cross word between us," Mr. Gilchrest said last night. "I never thought of him as a Democrat or Republican. That's the way it was during that whole campaign. I guess you'd call him the friendly pharmacist. I'll miss him."

Mr. Bozman, who would have turned 70 next month, was born in Norfolk, Va. He attended Washington High School in Princess Anne and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 1961. He served in the Coast Guard from 1961 to 1969.

Funeral plans were incomplete last night.

Survivors include his wife, Betty Ann; two children; and three grandchildren.

chris.guy@baltsun.com

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