Kenneth William Walter, 43, Baltimore entrepreneurKenneth William...


Kenneth William Walter, 43, Baltimore entrepreneur

Kenneth William Walter, who opened several Baltimore businesses, died Friday of complications from a liver transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 43.

A lifelong Baltimore resident, he began his retail career shortly after graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1971.

He owned several clothing stores, including the Wild Indian on Park Avenue. In 1977, he and two partners opened the Brass Elephant Restaurant on Charles Street, but sold it two years later.

Mr. Walter worked 10 years in sales at WBFF-TV, eventually becoming general sales manager.

In 1991, he started a marketing company for area credit unions and operated the business until illness forced him to sell it two years ago.

"He was a real idea man who could always come up with something that worked in business," said Jay Cleaver, a longtime friend and business partner. "He truly had an entrepreneurial spirit."

A memorial service will be held at 7: 30 p.m. tomorrow at Light Street Presbyterian Church, 809 Light St.

He is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth A. Walter of Winston-Salem, N.C., and three brothers, Joe Smith of Baltimore, Sam Walter of Cape Cod, Mass., and Donald W. Walter of Edgewater, Fla.

The family requests memorial donations to the Maryland Transplant Society.

Opening a seafood restaurant came naturally to a man who loved to fish and cook. So Levi Shields left his foreman's job at Bethlehem Steel 42 years ago to steam crabs, shuck clams and clean fish for a living.

The 75-year-old chef was still working at his Blue Water Seafood Carryout at Cherry Hill Road and Waterview Avenue until a few weeks ago. He died of pneumonia Thursday at the Veterans Medical Center in Baltimore. "There was no restaurant in Cherry Hill years ago and my father liked to cook and fish," said Vanessa Jeffries, previously a long-time employee of the restaurant who still helps out on occasion. "So he thought he might as well open a business. He was great at fishing, too. Maybe he could have been his own supplier."

The entire family worked in the restaurant.

"We all had to work," said Ms. Jeffries. "At first, we didn't like it, but then we realized it was a good job."

Born and educated in Ayden, N.C., Mr. Shields served in the Army during World War II. He was injured on a transport ship en route to France in 1944 and settled in Baltimore after his discharge.

He married the former Laurena Whitfield in 1956. She continues to operate the restaurant with her children.

Mr. Shields also owned the Blue Water Music Hall across from the restaurant. He donated space in the building to a community newspaper and kept a pool table there so he could practice.

He remained active in his community, often helping other residents get started in business. He once took a political science course at Morgan State University and considered a run for local office, but decided to support others instead.

Services will be at 11: 30 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church, 823 Cherry Hill Road.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include three sons, Levi Shields Jr. and Kendall Whitfield of Baltimore and James M. Shields of Laughlin, Texas; two daughters, Sarah E. Adair of Baltimore and Marcella Blackmon of Tulsa, Okla.; three sisters, Katie Hardison, Edwina Revell and Inez Chapman, all of Baltimore; one brother, John D. Shields of Norfolk; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

J. Charles Mayo, 79, real estate broker

J. Charles Mayo, a retired Towson real estate broker, died Wednesday of a stroke at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 79.

Before retiring two years ago, the Stoneleigh resident was president of C. Mayo Co., a real estate business founded by his father.

A graduate of the School of Architecture at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, Mr. Mayo pursued many interests outside his business. He collected rare books and was a licensed pilot and an avid fly fisherman. He was a horseman and subscribed to the Maryland Hunt Cup for 50 years.

Services are private.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, the former Adelaide Johnson; two stepdaughters, Jill B. Kearns of Baltimore and Anne R. DeWolf of Kent Island; a sister, Jacqueline Mayo Wallace of Ruxton; two nephews; and three grandchildren.

The family requests memorial donations to Maryland Fly Anglers, Inc., 3947 Canterbury Road, Baltimore 21218.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad