Joseph Edmund Besche, a Chesapeake Bay charter fishing captain who had owned the Middle River Inn, died of pneumonia April 1 at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Mays Chapel Village resident was 77.
Born in Baltimore and raised in the Wyman Park neighborhood, he was a graduate of St. Francis Prep School in Spring Grove, Pa. He attended Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg.
He joined the family business, 4 Besche Brothers, a Light Street home furnishings firm that had been co-founded by his father. The family sold the business in 1976.
The next year, he bought eastern Baltimore County's Middle River Inn, which he operated for 12 years. He then began full-time work aboard the Mary Ellen, a 40-foot vessel docked at White Hall Creek in Annapolis. He retired about seven years ago.
Mr. Besche put in long days during the Maryland rockfish season. He was a member of the Upper Bay Charter Captains Association and served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves for ten years.
"Joe provided a safe, reliable vessel with the best tackle and was dedicated to producing fish for his guests," said his nephew, Charles Frederick Besche of Severna Park. "Captain Joe always made it fun to be aboard the Mary Ellen."
A funeral Mass was offered April 6 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.
Survivors include his wife of 28 years, the former Barbara Koenig; a son, Mark J. Besche of Baltimore; a daughter, Mary Frances Stromyer of Baltimore; a stepson, Rob Mapp of Timonium; two brothers, Charles A. Besche of Annapolis and Frederick Besche of Baltimore; a sister, Madelyn Pease of Towson; and four grandchildren. His first wife, Mary Frances Blake, died in 1978.