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Former Aberdeen mayor, state delegate Charles R. Boutin dies in Kent County boating incident

Charles R. Boutin, a former Aberdeen mayor and City Council member, state delegate and Harford County Board of Education president, died over the weekend after being found in the water at a Kent County marina.

Boutin, 79, of Aberdeen, was found in the waters of Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall, about 20 feet from his sail vessel, on Sunday morning. Maryland Natural Resources Police officers were dispatched to the marina at 7:45 a.m. regarding a report of a water rescue, according to police.

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Two owners of a nearby boat slip found Boutin in the water, close to his vessel. His death is still under investigation, but police believe he fell while cleaning the boat.

Boutin, an attorney who graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1970, became a member of the Harford County school board in 1977 and served as the board president from 1979 to 1981.

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He served on the Aberdeen city council from 1992 to 1994 and was the city’s mayor from 1994 to 1998, before being elected to the Maryland House of Delegates as a Republican. He was a member of the House from 1999 to 2005, representing Cecil and Harford counties in District 34A. Boutin was the chief deputy minority whip and served on House committees such as Health and Government Operations and Environmental Matters, according to the Maryland State Archives website.

Former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich appointed Boutin to the state’s Public Service Commission in 2005, and he served on the PSC until resigning in early 2007. Boutin was named a state administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings in March of that year. He retired in 2012, according to his obituary.

Visitation is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 4 p.m., on Saturday, June 5, at the McComas Celebration of Life Center, 1114 Baldwin Mill Road in Jarrettsville, according to an obituary page on the McComas Funeral Home website.

Boutin, who was born in Troy, New York, is survived by his wife of 45 years, Cynthia, as well as three sons — Matthew Boutin and his wife, Kathryn; Scott Boutin and his wife, Andrea, and Chad Boutin — plus five grandchildren.

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He loved outdoor activities such as boating and fishing, plus spending time with his family and friends, according to his obituary.

Boutin’s former colleague in Annapolis, Republican Del. Susan McComas of Bel Air, recalled his love for his family, noting he was “very proud of” his sons. McComas also remembers his “tremendous work ethic,” dedication to serving constituents and that he was a “very politically astute person” who had been very helpful when she started her first term as a delegate in 2003. McComcas represents the Bel Air area in legislative District 34B.

“For someone that did not know the legislature well when I went in, [he was] very, very helpful,” McComas said Wednesday.

They sat next to each other on the House floor, and shared a “really great” secretary between their legislative offices.

“Because I was a freshman, I got some good advice from [Boutin], as to how to do certain things” in Annapolis, she said.

She and Boutin first came to know each other through the legal field, as both worked as attorneys. McComas recalled being on the opposing side from him in a divorce case.

They also knew each other as municipal elected officials, as she was mayor of the Town of Bel Air, and he was mayor of Aberdeen when they were part of a group of Harford County elected leaders who testified before the Senate Finance Committee in the late 1990s in favor of building a minor league baseball stadium in Aberdeen.

“We thought it was really wonderful, and we were supporting Aberdeen getting Ripken Stadium,” said McComas, who noted Boutin was “very instrumental” in getting the home of the Aberdeen IronBirds built in 2002.

Boutin had served on the board of directors of the former Ripken Baseball Museum, which opened in 1996, occupying 1,500 square feet of space that had previously been used for city offices at Route 40 and West Bel Air Avenue.

The museum housed memorabilia from the career of Harford County native and Baltimore Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr., now a majority owner of the Ironbirds with his brother, Bill Ripken, also a former Oriole. The museum also was designed to celebrate the RIpken family’s connection to the community and baseball.

“It’s not that Ripken’s importance removed Mayor Chuck Boutin and the town council from their offices, but they gladly cooperated so appropriate attention could be paid to the community’s most celebrated son,” Baltimore Sun sportswriter John Steadman wrote at the time.

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