Bihlmaier’s mother doesn’t want tragic night of drinking to taint Harvard man’s legacy

In the aftermath of the search for soon-to-be Harvard Business School graduate Nathan Bihlmaier, 31, whose body was found in Casco Bay after two days of searching by multiple agencies, close friends and family members of the man have understandably kept to themselves.

Many — between 18 and 20, according to officials at the waterfront Tuesday — came to Portland to stand vigil as the search went on or to help in any way they could. But they avoided the intense media presence, and I can’t blame them, despite being part of that intense media presence.

Bihlmaier’s mother, Cheryl, was among those who came to Portland, and in some of the few family comments to emerge about the case, she told the Boston Herald Nathan was a “leader” throughout his college career, which began at the University of Kansas in his home state before moving on to the Harvard master’s program.

Cheryl Bihlmaier told the Herald she’s concerned the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and eventual death — that he was asked to leave Ri Ra Irish Pub after becoming visibly intoxicated and was never seen again alive — would create a perception that Nathan led a reckless lifestyle as a rampant partier or heavy drinker.

“We just hope that people can understand this wasn’t someone that was just out drinking, that that’s his lifestyle,” Cheryl was quoted as saying in the Herald.

Nathan and Nancy Ho Bihlmaier (

Nathan and his wife Nancy were going to spring the news on Cheryl and father Steven that they’re expecting their first child during their visit this week for Harvard Business School commencement activities, the Herald reported.

Other friends of the late Nathan Bihlmaier are turning to a Facebook page set up in his memory to share photos and stories about him, with the stated goal of using the material to forge a memorial album for his family.

Photos loaded there show Bihlmaier during a semester abroad in Italy 10 years ago, getting married to Nancy, socializing with his Harvard Business School classmates, going on skiing trips and driving his beloved car “Rex.”

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.