Robert Jahn of South Mantoloking, renowned historian of Barnegat Bay, died November 17, 2009 at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township. He was 62 years old.
Mr. Jahn will be best remembered for his book Down Barnegat Bay, A Nor’easter Midnight Reader, a cultural history of Barnegat Bay. First published in 1980, the work is generally conceded never to have been surpassed.
Mr. Jahn published an updated version of the book with substantial new material in 2000. Both versions catalogued the culture of Native Americans, baymen, and early vacationing residents with text, photographs, and prints. He also wrote numerous articles on historical subjects.
Through his mother Dorothy Brower Jahn, he was a descendent of one of the oldest families in Ocean County. Several generations of Browers farmed a homestead along Mantoloking Road, not far from Sandy Point in Brick. His mother was postmaster at Mantoloking for twenty-five years.
A career highlight for Mr. Jahn was his 1990’s Traveling through Time series of lectures and multi-media presentations on a broad range of historical topics. The programs were presented at the Point Pleasant library with the cooperation of the librarian at that time, Barbara Kadin. Topics ranged from shipwrecks of the New Jersey coast to flying saucers.
A graduate of Point Pleasant Beach High School, Mr. Jahn earned an Associate Degree from Ocean County College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.
While at Suffolk, he co-founded Venture Magazine, a publication that showcases that university’s literary and artistic talent. At Ocean County College he was instrumental in the founding of Seascape, the Ocean County College literary magazine.
A photographer and a collector with a fine eye, Mr. Jahn leaves a wealth of material of importance to the history of Ocean County.
The cause of death was lung cancer. As a result of fine care by the staff at Ocean Medical Center, Mr. Jahn’s passing was peaceful. Recalling an incident earlier in his illness, in which he awakened the oncology floor in the wee hours playing Bob Dylan at high decibels, the nurses arranged to have Dylan playing during his passing, but at a lower volume.
During his illness Mr. Jahn was attended by a remarkable number of friends acquired over a lifetime of scholastic, social, and historical pursuits. Five of them were present at his passing.
Mr. Jahn was predeceased by his parents Harold and Dorothy, and a brother Richard. He is survived by his brother Roland, sister-in-law Veronika, and niece Laura Jahn of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.
Arrangements will be with Van Hise & Callagan of Point Pleasant Beach.
In lieu of flowers, friends are urged to make contributions to local charities of their choice.