Margaret Rohe, 83, restaurant owner

June 26, 2006

Margaret Rohe, who owned a popular luncheonette on Belair Road for two decades starting in the 1950s, died of stroke complications Friday at a rehabilitation center in Baltimore County. She was 83.

Mrs. Rohe, who most recently lived in Essex, opened the Marlin Restaurant in the 5100 block of Belair Road with her husband in the mid-1950s and for years worked beside him at the lunch counter.

Margaret Anna Deckelman was born in the Gardenville area of Northeast Baltimore and lived there most of her life, her family said. After graduating from the old Clara Barton Vocational High School, she worked as a seamstress and in a factory, assembling boots for soldiers during World War II.

In 1946, she married Lingard F. "Link" Rohe after he returned from fighting in Germany. Together, they opened their first restaurant, Bell Lunch, in 1952 in a neighborhood service station. A few years later, they moved the restaurant to Belair Road, where it remained until the mid-1970s.

The Marlin - named after the first three letters in each of their names - had a 14-seat lunch counter and a few tables. Policemen, city workers and milkmen in the neighborhood came for the 10-cent cup of coffee, hamburgers and the soup, which was made fresh daily.

"It was always packed," said her son George C. Rohe of Bel Air. "At lunchtime there were 60 people in that place."

Mrs. Rohe retired and closed the restaurant after her husband died in 1976. Later in life, she enjoyed crafts and reading, her family said.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Schimunek Funeral Home, 9705 Belair Road in Perry Hall.

She is also survived by two other sons, Doug Rohe and Edward J. Rohe, both of Bel Air; and three grandchildren.

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