Anthony W. “Tony” Deering, the former head of the Rouse Company who orchestrated its sale, and a benefactor of Baltimore’s education, arts and theater communities, died Friday of lung disease at his North Charles Street home. He was 72.
Mr. Deering headed the Rouse Company from 1997 to 2004 as its chairman and chief executive officer.
“Tony was the architect of the company’s renaissance in the 1990s,” said Mathias J. DeVito, a close associate and former Rouse chief executive officer. “He was a brilliant financial officer and warm and funny at the same time. He had a grasp of the financial picture that was unusual.”
Mr. Deering presided over the $12.6 billion sale of the company in 2004 to General Growth Properties.
In retirement, Mr. Deering became the chair of Exeter Capital, LLC, a private investment firm. He sat on the boards of T. Rowe Price Mutual Funds, the old Mercantile Bankshares Corporation, Under Armour, Vornado Realty Trust, Brixmor Realty Trust, Alex Brown Realty, Kleinwort Benson N.A. and Deutsche Bank of North America.
“Tony was an important member of the Under Armour family for many years, having served as a longtime member of our board of directors,” said Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO and founder. “He graced our company, our team and our community with his leadership, wisdom and warm compassion.”
Bill Stromberg, CEO of T. Rowe Price Group, recalled Mr. Deering as “a wonderful human being, and a remarkably effective leader, mentor, colleague, and friend to generations of leaders and investors at T. Rowe Price. As a director for our mutual funds for more than thirty years, Tony was an outstanding advocate for our mutual fund clients’ interests.”
Family members said that beyond his business career, Mr. Deering gave his attention and financial resources to community causes.
Mr. Deering was named a trustee of the Johns Hopkins University in 2001.
“Tony Deering was an extraordinary leader and friend to Johns Hopkins and Baltimore. His rare combination of business acumen and humanity imbued all his professional, personal and philanthropic pursuit,” Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said in a statement.
“With finesse, intelligence and old-fashioned grace, Tony helped steer and strengthen Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, offering guidance to decades of deans and faculty, presidents and students alike,” said Mr. Daniels. “ We are grateful for the countless ways he helped build, nurture, and energize all the communities he touched — at Hopkins, in our city, and around the country.”
Mr. Daniels also recalled how Mr. Deering and his wife, Lynn Regan Deering, welcomed him when he arrived as a new Hopkins president.
In 1993, Mr. Deering was appointed the Rouse Company’s president and chief operating officer. It was then the country’s largest publicly held development company.
“Anthony W. Deering has guided the Rouse Co. through some of the most challenging economic times — recession, unstable cycles with office property, and the technology bubble that drained investors from real estate,” said a 2004 article in The Baltimore Sun. “[He] is credited with restructuring a company that was fat with expenses and underperforming properties.”
Born in Chevy Chase and raised in Cherry Hill, N.J., Mr. Deering joined Rouse as an associate in its planning department in October 1972 after earning a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Drexel University.
Mr. Deering was also a leader in local charities and arts institutions.
In a statement, the Baltimore Museum of Art said Mr. Deering became a trustee in 1993 and chaired its board from 1997 to 2000.
“He and his wife, Lynn, were early supporters of the museum’s Close Encounters program for Baltimore City fourth-grade students and sponsored two major exhibitions: ‘In a New Light: Theodore Robinson in Giverny’ in 2004 and ‘Matisse/Diebenkorn’ in 2016. They also gave the BMA two important paintings by artists Pierre Bonnard and Winslow Homer. Tony was a very generous donor and extraordinary fundraiser for the BMA.” said Anne Mannix Brown, communications director for the museum.
“A dear friend, and a giant in our hearts and our community,” said Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage’s managing director. “Tony set an example of how to live a life of integrity, generosity, fairness, and kindness I could always count on him to put his arm around my shoulder when I needed it most, and for always being available for advice, counsel, and care. “
He served on the Johns Hopkins Medicine board from 2014 until becoming an emeritus member earlier this year. University officials said he was an early and avid supporter of the the East Baltimore Development Initiative and of the “Live Near Your Work” program, which helped university and health system employees with buying homes in neighborhoods near Hopkins’ medical campus. He was also a supporter of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.
He also was chair of The Rouse Company Foundation and sat on the board of the Caves Valley Golf Club and the Mayor’s Business Advisory Council for the City of Baltimore. He was board vice chairman of the Greater Baltimore Committee. He was also associated with the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts, Friends School of Baltimore, the Hippodrome Foundation, and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
Family members said that Mr. Deering helped raise $40 million for the Peabody Conservatory and co-chaired a $3 billion Johns Hopkins “Knowledge for the World” capital campaign.
His family fund, the Charlesmead Foundation, the Deering family charitable arm, donated $30 million for the Deering Hall at Johns Hopkins University, the Deering Lobby at Baltimore Center Stage and Deering Field at Friends Schools. He also endowed the Jim Rouse scholars program at Howard Community College.
“I received a call from Tony just the other night that he and Lynn would be supporting a program here for Baltimore City children and the arts in schools,” said Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “Baltimore is so much better because of Tony and Lynn. He was a force for good in Baltimore.”
Mr. Deering belonged to the Caves Valley Golf and the Elkridge clubs[; Yeamans Hall Club in Charleston, S.C.; and the Fisher Island Club and Indian Creek Country Club, both in Miami. He played golf, read and enjoyed the theater.
A life celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Miriam A. Friedberg Hall of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, 1 East Mount Vernon Place.
Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Kathryn Evelyn “Lynn” Deering; a son, Spencer Deering of Miami; two daughters, Heather Deering Crosby of Barrington, R.I. and Maron Deering of Athens, Ga.; and six grandchildren.
NOTE: This story has been updated to include information about the life celebration for Mr. Deering.