Charles Cahn II, attorney and civic leader, dies

Mr. Cahn served as a volunteer at Associated Jewish Charities in Baltimore.

Charles Cahn II, a retired Baltimore attorney who was a founder of a scholarship fund for city youths, died of progressive supranuclear palsy March 3 at his Sarasota, Fla. home. The former Roland Park resident was 84.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park, he was the son of Stanley L. Cahn, an advertising executive and publisher, and his wife, Dorothy Lobe, a homemaker.

He was a 1950 City College graduate and obtained a bachelor of science in accounting from the University of Maryland College Park, where he was an official of the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity. He also played for the Terrapins golf team, and continued that sport after his college years.

He served in the Air Force and attained the rank of lieutenant.

He was a 1958 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and had a master's degree in law in letters and taxation from Georgetown University.

Mr. Cahn practiced law for many years at Ottenheimer, Cahn & Patz until his firm merged with Weinberg & Green. There, he chaired the firm's finance committee and was a member of its executive committee.

When Weinberg later merged with Saul Ewing LLP, Mr. Cahn became a partner and special counsel. He retired in 2009.

"He was totally focused on serving his clients," said D. Robert Enten, a legal colleague. "He was a perfectionist, and was as smart a lawyer as I have ever known. He could get to the heart of what was really important."

His daughter, Elizabeth Cahn Goodman, said her father habitually arrived at work about 6:30 a.m.

"He loved classical music and would put on selections by Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff or Shostakovitch. Then he'd whistle along," she said.

Mr. Cahn worked in the fields of trusts and estates, tax and business law.

"He had an analytical mind," said Eileen O'Brien, a legal colleague at Saul Ewing. "Every time you were closing in on the finish line, he'd move it back and say, 'Have you considered this other aspect?' because there were still some things he wanted to see addressed.

"His brain was always in motion. He was a wonderful business lawyer," she said.

Family members said Mr. Cahn had a near photographic memory for numbers and could detect patterns in them. They said he was exacting and precise.

"He deftly counseled businesses, as well as private individuals and helped them navigate the challenges of the law," said son-in-law Adam Goodman of St. Petersburg, Fla. "His legal advice was sought and admired — not just by clients but among those with whom he worked.

Mr. Goodman described Mr. Cahn as a "lawyer's lawyer who drove everyone around him to be at the top of their game."

Mr. Cahn served as a volunteer at Associated Jewish Charities in Baltimore and assisted donors with their planned giving. He and his first wife, Barbara Weissman Cahn, who died in 2007, were honored by the organization in Baltimore.

That same community engagement extended to his second home of Sarasota. There, he and his wife of nine years, Judy Kornman, were active participants in many charities including the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

Family members said Mr. Cahn believed social opportunity starts with a sound education. He joined his sister, Phyllis Meyerhoff, to found a charity named for their parents — the Stanley and Dorothy Lobe Cahn Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Central Scholarship Bureau. Money from that fund has assisted city youth for more than 20 years.

Mr. Cahn was a four-handicap golfer who also collected stamps of the world.

He was an avid Baltimore Orioles fan and often listened to games on the radio. After moving to Florida, Mr. Cahn made it a point to attended all Orioles spring training games. His daughter, Elizabeth Cahn Goodman, said he attended an Orioles game earlier in the day of his death.

"He could recite on cue current and historic batting orders, batting averages, and the fact that if the pitching held "this" would be the World Series season — even when reality conspired to dispel the dream," said his son-in-law.

While residing in Florida, he was also active in the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

"He epitomized the desire to do right, to hold values and principles as non-negotiable forces of life, and to support people and causes who both deserved and needed it," his son-in-law said.

Services were held March 6 at Sol Levinson and Brothers.

In addition to his wife, daughter and sister, survivors include two sons, David Cahn of Baltimore and Charles Cahn III of Suffield, Conn.; and six grandchildren.

Note: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect photo. It has been corrected here.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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