Bill LeFevre, 75, legend in broadcasting


Few men had a longer career in Baltimore radio and television than Bill LeFevre, who died Wednesday at 75 of congestive heart failure at his home in Shrewsbury, Pa.

Since he was a student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in the 1930s and landed a job as a page at the WFBR radio studios, the Baltimore native rarely was away from the airwaves.

His resume included stints as news and sports director at WFBR and WMAR-TV before he helped found WBFF-TV, Channel 45, in 1971.

But most Baltimoreans probably remember him best as the host of myriad movies on WBFF. Lounging in an easy chair, his black glasses and military haircut looking nothing if not fatherly, his voice soothing in a way that made viewers feel as comfortable as he looked, he'd introduce the day's feature -- always noting proudly that the movies were broadcast at full length, never cut to fit a time period.

"I think that's the image most people have of my father, and one that's very typical of him," his son William F. LeFevre Jr. of Glen Burnie recalled yesterday, "professional, yet very much at ease with what he was doing."

Mr. LeFevre was one of a vanishing breed, a media figure born and raised in the town he covered and served. Born on Caroline Street near North Avenue, he graduated from Poly in 1938 and attended Loyola College.

He served in the Army during World War II, seeing action in the China-India-Burma Theater. He even worked as a broadcaster for Armed Forces Radio, where the highlight of his stint was broadcasting a Joe Louis fight from Calcutta, India. He left the Army with the rank of sergeant.

Mr. LeFevre was director of the Loyola College Alumni Association and the Orioles' public address announcer. He told the crowd May 8, 1966, that Frank Robinson's home run was the first hit out of Memorial Stadium.

Twenty-seven years ago, when John Jeppi Jr. was opening the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland, he knew he had to find hTC someone to give the school instant respectability. Bill LeFevre agreed to sign on as the institute's first faculty member.

Three weeks ago, Jeppi dedicated the institute's main classroom to his friend.

"I've had a lot of good feelings in my time, and this is one of them," Mr. LeFevre said of the honor. "This one especially,

because it's something that will last. At least I hope it will."

A Mass of Christian burial is scheduled for 9 a.m. today at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, 3615 Harford Road.

In addition to his son, Mr. LeFevre also is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Julia A. Dunn Aaron; another son, Kevin M. LeFevre of Shrewsbury; three daughters, C. Loretta Schaffner of Baltimore, Julia Ann Ventura of Timonium and M. Kathleen Sizelove of Shrewsbury; and six grandchildren. Another son, J. Stephen LeFevre, died in 1974.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Bill LeFevre Memorial Scholarship Fund, Broadcasting Institute of Maryland Alumni Association, 7200 Harford Road, Baltimore 21234.

Pub Date: 8/10/96

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