John Carlin Beers, a retired attorney who enjoyed exchanging puns with friends, died of complications of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease Oct. 29 at his Ruxton home. He was 74.
Born in Baltimore and raised on University Parkway in Roland Park, he was the son of Thomas Richard Beers, a scientist and engineer, and his wife, Eleanor Carlin, co-owner of the old Carlin’s Park and a volunteer for educational and religious charities.
He attended Mt. Washington Country School for Boys.
Family members said his antics at the military school left an impression on the nuns who staffed the school.
He was a 1964 graduate of LoyolaBlakefield and earned an accounting degree at University of Notre Dame. He then received a degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.
He served in the Maryland National Guard.
“We met in 1968 at law school and became friends,” Richard Bloch said. “John was a jovial guy with a sense of humor. He and I were insanely into puns. And as a friend, you could not ask for a better one.”
Mr. Beers began his law career as a clerk at Fedder and Garten and later joined its real estate practice.
He then established a private practice with a focus on commercial real estate transactions, property management and business law.
Mr. Beers owned and managed several real estate properties in and around Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, including the Maiden Choice Apartments on Westland Boulevard in Baltimore County.
“Dad spent every day trying to ‘make ‘em laugh,’” said his daughter, Christy Carey. “He had the clever ability to craft a good, or really bad, pun. It was legendary. He understood the power of humor to bring people together, lessen pain or make a moment memorable.”
Jenny Cathrow, also his daughter, said: “For many years, Tommy Bahama Hawaiian-style shirts were the mainstay of my dad’s wardrobe and I think that they were emblematic of his personality — vibrant and whimsical. He had one for every occasion and wore them with flair. He was a joyful man, and he wanted to share that joy with others.”
Merle Maffei, a fellow attorney, said: “He was a great client to work with. John had a good business sense, and was enjoyable and cooperative. We laughed plenty during all the lunches we had together and had a good relationship.”
Mr. Maffei said Mr. Beers was an investor in privately owned utilities in Anne Arundel County.
His daughters said Mr. Beers believed in giving back to others. A member of the Knights of Columbus, he was a Church of the Nativity Eucharistic minister.
He was also a blood donor.
Mr. Beers, who was known as Skippy to his grandchildren, was a bowler and enjoyed trivia and political discussions. He collected electric trains.
He had instant recall of facts and word meanings, and became a 2001 contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
His daughters said he believed his crowning achievement was his family. They recalled how he solved crossword puzzles in pen.
They said he had a pun ready and liked a spirited debate. They said he spent his time with his family and made annual trips to Ocean City with them. He also spent part of the winter in Punta Rassa, Florida, for many years.
Mr. Beers donated his body for Alzheimer’s research.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Church of the Nativity, 20 E. Ridgely Road in Timonium. The service will be streamed at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/4509890134.
Survivors include his wife of 24 years, Rosemary Flanigan, who worked in real estate management; two daughters, Christy Carey of Sarasota, Florida, and Jenny Cathrow of San Antonio; three stepsons, Ross Wilkinson of Baltimore, Bill Wilkinson of Phoenix in Baltimore County and Dan Wilkinson of Parkton; a brother, William Beers of Riderwood; a sister, Dolly Loeb of Avon, Connecticut; and eight grandchildren.