Lenwood M. Ivey, who headed the city's Urban Services Agency and worked under four mayors, died of cancer Sept. 19 at Gilchrist Hospice Towson. The Cheswolde resident was 85.
Born in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., he was the son of Sylvester Ivey and his wife, Laura Ellen.
He attended local public schools and obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Hampton University in Virginia. He also had a master’s degree in social work from Howard University and a doctorate in administration from Union Graduate School, now a part of Clarkson University in New York.
He joined the Army, fought in the Korean War and left military service as a sergeant.
He moved to Baltimore and joined what was then the Department of Public Welfare as a case worker and supervisor. In 1965 he joined the old Baltimore Community Action Agency, a city unit founded during the War on Poverty championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The federally funded program included preventive dentistry, mobile vision care, manpower centers and a quarterway house for women, among other initiatives.
Dr. Ivey was appointed by then-Mayor Thomas J. D’Alesandro III to head the agency in 1969. Four years later the mayor’s successor, William Donald Schaefer, asked Mr. Ivey to consolidate the agency with the old Model Cities Program to form the Urban Services Agency. He continued in that post under Mayor Clarence H. “Du” Burns.
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke asked Dr. Ivey to step down in 1989 — the mayor felt the old programs were being duplicated by others — and Dr. Ivey was immediately hired to head the Baltimore City Foundation. He held that post at his death.
A 1989 Baltimore Sun article said of his last job, “In winning the appointment, Mr. Ivey once again demonstrated his abilities as a political survivor.”
Mr. Schmoke, now the president of the University of Baltimore, said he had known Mr. Ivey since his days as a social worker.
“I was a student at City College and my mother was also a social worker and was working with Barbara Mikulski,” Mr. Schmoke said. “Linwood has been a great public servant for decades. At the City Foundation, he took on a responsibility I asked him to do. I had just returned from a trip to Jerusalem and heard about their foundation. We had one existing in Baltimore, and it was laying dormant… He breathed new life into it.”
“Lenwood did a very good job over the years,” said Bernard Berkowitz, a retired city planner and later president of the Baltimore City Economic Development Corp. “I recall him in my days as a planner, and he was helpful in community meetings.
“I also have fond recollections of lunchtime brainstorming sessions during the D’Alesandro administration dealing with the use of anti-poverty funds during the social turmoil of the times. We talked about mayors’ stations and multi-purpose centers — ways to bring government to people.”
Dr. Ivey served on numerous local boards. In 1971 he was named to the board of the United Fund of Central Maryland and more recently served on the boards of Keswick Multi Service, Charlestown Retirement Community and Bon Secour Community Service.
In 2017 the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights held a breakfast where a scholarship was established in his name. He was also a member of Omega Psi Phi and the Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.
He and his wife of 57 years, Jeda Bullock Ivey, a retired courts clerk, enjoyed world travel, as well as driving trips to North Carolina.
He liked to host backyard barbecues. He did yard work, lawn mowing and tending flower and vegetable gardens. He was also a baseball and football fan.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2604 Banister Road, where he was an outreach minister, elder and stewardship committee member.
In addition to his wife, survivors include daughter Julie Ivey of Baltimore; a brother, Western Ivey of Woodstock; and a sister, Anne Ivey-Enlow of Roanoke Rapids. A son, Lenwood K. “Lenny” Ivey, died in 2015.