John E. Muhlbach, chief federal probation officer

John Edward Muhlbach, a retired chief federal probation officer active in the Lutheran Church, died Sept. 16 of pneumonia at Somerford Place in Columbia. The former Cedarcroft resident was 91.

Born in Baltimore and raised on East North Avenue, he was the son of Dr. Arthur C. Muhlbach, a dentist, and Emma Kloppel. He was a 1944 graduate of Baltimore City College, where he was a member of the swimming team.

He attended Gettysburg College and spent a year as a member of the merchant marine in 1947. He returned to his studies and earned his bachelor’s degree. He then joined the Army and attained the rank of sergeant. He was stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C.

He was appointed a federal probation officer for the District of Maryland in 1958. In 1964, while working for the court system, he earned a law degree at the University of Baltimore, and he became the district’s chief probation officer in 1978. He retired in 1980 and went on to work at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center, and at the Dismas House in West Baltimore. He retired a second time in 1998.

As a child, he attended Reformation Lutheran Church. From 1959 to 1991, he was a member of Holy Comforter Lutheran Church in Govans, where he taught Bible class and was church council and social action committee chair. In the early 1970s, he worked to find summer jobs for neighborhood teens.

After moving to Pennsylvania in 1991, he joined St. John Sadler's Lutheran Church in Stewartstown and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hametown. He attended and was a financial sponsor of Mar-Lu-Ridge camp in Jefferson in Frederick County.

Mr. Muhlbach was active in the Maryland Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

He was a past board chair of a substance abuse treatment program, Glenwood Life Counseling Center in Govans, and a legal consultant to the Forest Lakes Community Association in New Freedom, Pa.

He enjoyed sailing on Assawoman Bay, canoeing on the Monacacy River and gardening.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

Survivors include two sons, John Muhlbach of Huntersville, N.C., and Michael Muhlbach of Parkville; four daughters, Christine Maloney of Asheville, N.C., Betsy Singer of Arlington, Mass., Susan Muhlbach of Washington, D.C., and Amy Muhlbach of Mount Rainier; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His wife of 63 years, Helen Creager, a Sun Life Insurance and American National Savings and Loan worker, died in 2016.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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