Marvin S. Schapiro, owner of a commercial real estate company whose holdings included the Hippodrome Theater and area shopping centers, died of pneumonia Friday at Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson. He was 82, and had lived in the Tuscany-Canterbury section of North Baltimore.
An activist in the Jewish community, he worked for the economic development of Israel and held roles in The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park, he was a 1937 graduate of Forest Park High School.
In the late 1930s, he joined a family-owned used textile business, S. Schapiro & Sons, and became its vice president for international trade. He traveled throughout Western Europe and Asia until he sold his interest in the business.
In 1960, Mr. Schapiro founded Continental Realty, whose holdings include Reisterstown Road Plaza in Northwest Baltimore, Chartley Shopping Center in Reisterstown, Park Plaza in Severna Park and more than 5,000 apartments. He retired in 1983.
He and his partners donated the Hippodrome and Town theaters to the University of Maryland in the 1990s.
"He was easy to talk to, he told it like it was. He had no agenda," said Harvey M. "Bud" Meyerhoff, a retired real estate executive and friend.
Interested in the economic development of Israel, Mr. Schapiro donated funds toward the redevelopment of the Kiryat Gat neighborhood outside Jerusalem. He also helped create the Maryland/Israel Development Center, a partnership of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Jewish Agency for Israel and The Associated.
"He was deeply interested in job creation for skilled Eastern European Jews who moved to Israel in the 1980s by the thousands," said his son, J. Mark Schapiro of Owings Mills.
From 1970 to 1971, after serving on its board, he became president of Levindale Geriatric Center in Northwest Baltimore.
Services were held yesterday.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 32 years, the former Jane Krieger; a stepson, Howard K. Cohen of Baltimore; a stepdaughter, JoAnn C. Fruchtman of Baltimore; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. His wife of 23 years, Dorothy Levinson, died in 1964.