Local author and historian Robert Jahn, 62, dies

Historians in the News

MANTOLOKING — Robert Jahn, a writer and local historian whose work helped inspire a generation to preserve Barnegat Bay, died this week at age 62 after a battle with lung cancer.

Jahn was the author of "Down Barnegat Bay: A Nor'easter Midnight Reader," a popular cultural history of the bay that spanned prehistoric Indian times, shipwrecks and lifesaving, and the beginnings of Ocean County's tourism industry. First published in 1980, and updated and reissued in 2000, the book introduced that heritage to many new residents as Ocean County's population — and ecological threats to the bay — grew exponentially.

"Anything historical, anything environmental, he saw the continuum," recalled William deCamp Jr., chairman of the group Save Barnegat Bay and a friend of Jahn, who died Tuesday at Ocean Medical Center in Brick.

Jahn had deep family connections to that history through his mother, the late Dorothy Brower Jahn, the longtime Mantoloking postmaster. His grandfather George Brower was Mantoloking's dockmaster for 40 years.

"I grew up listening to my grandfather talk about people like Capt. John Dorsett, the legendary Point Pleasant mariner and lifesaver," Jahn said in a 2000 interview. "I've always been interested in history, especially the history of the Jersey Shore. . .Both sides of my family had people in the Life Saving Service (the predecessor to the Coast Guard) and my mother's family came to New Amsterdam (now New York) in 1642."...
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