Edward J. Klima, who as an Anne Arundel County commissioner supported charter government for the county in the 1960s, died Monday of cancer at his home in Ocean City, where he had lived since 1985. He was 68.
Mr. Klima retired in 1993 after 15 years as an administrative law judge for the state Motor Vehicle Administration.
In 1978, he retired as a partner in the law firm of Klima, May & Harris, which he founded in 1966.
"He was the kind of lawyer who had a heart of gold," said a son, Craig J. Klima of Severna Park. "If a client could only pay $5 a week, that's what he accepted. He had seen too many lawyers taking their clients' watches and jewelry. He didn't measure his practice by how much he had in the bank or in his checkbook. He wasn't like that."
Mr. Klima was appointed an Anne Arundel County magistrate in 1957, and he was elected to the Board of County Commissioners from the northern part of the county in 1958 Re-elected in 1962, he was the only one of eight members of the board who supported the move toward charter government, which was adopted 1964 and began in 1965.
"He pushed for charter government even though it was at the expense of his own job," said the son.
The former Glen Burnie resident was Anne Arundel County administrator of economic development from 1967 to 1970 and made unsuccessful bids to represent old District 6B at the Constitutional Convention in 1968 and in the state Senate in 1966.
He also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Congress in 1966 and 1970 and made another unsuccessful bid for the state Senate in 1970.
Born in Brooklyn Park, he later lived in Linthicum and was a 1944 graduate of Glen Burnie High School. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and was a pharmacist's mate. He returned to military duty during the Korean conflict. He earned his law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School in 1957.
He was a member of Elks Lodge No. 2266, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 160 and American Legion Post No. 0047. He was a gourmet cook.
Services are planned for 10 a.m. tomorrow at Barranco & Sons Funeral Home, Ritchie Highway and Robinson Road, Severna Park.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Betty Jane Guilfoy; three other sons, Kurt A. Klima of Ocean City, Scott A. Klima of Glen Burnie and Glenn E. Klima of Mobile, Ala.; and three grandchildren.
The family suggested memorial contributions to Berlin Library, 220 N. Main St. Berlin 21811; or Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury 21802.