Arthur Lee Shreve Waxter, a Towson and Bolton Hill real estate developer who was a former Maryland Arts Council chairman, died of cancer Sunday at Talbot Hospice House in Easton. The longtime Roland Park resident was 87.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Lombardy Place, he attended Roland Park Elementary School and spent his summers at Ocean City's Plimhimmon Hotel, the 1894 frame hostelry on Second Street at the boardwalk. It had been founded by his great-grandmother, Rosalie Tilghman Shreve.
His mother, Sallie Dorsey Shreve Waxter, supervised the dining room, and his aunt, Rosalie Tilghman Willcox, ran the business. His father, William D. Waxter Jr., was president of the Susquehanna Ice Co. Mr. Waxter was a descendant of Tench Tilghman, an aide to Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
While at the Plimhimmon, he met his future wife, Nancy Daniels, a community volunteer who also had a catering business.
As a young man he competed in the Maryland badminton championships at Loyola College. He was also a budding business entrepreneur.
"We had a snowball stand on wheels that we took around the neighborhood," he said in a Baltimore Sun article earlier this year. "But we used the profits to buy fireworks."
He was a 1944 graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. He served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946 and again from 1952 to 1953, when he was aboard the destroyer Blackwood in the South Atlantic. While in the military, he attended the University of Dubuque in Iowa and Northwestern University. He earned a bachelor's degree at Yale University.
From 1948 to 1965, he was manager of sales and construction for the General Elevator Co.'s Baltimore office. He then joined C.W. Jackson and Associates, a real estate development firm, and oversaw construction for numerous projects. He was a vice president and a director of the business.
In 1974, he appeared with Mayor William Donald Schaefer and then-City Housing Commissioner Robert C. Embry Jr. to unveil plans for Park Purchase, a group of new townhouses constructed at Linden Avenue and Lanvale Street in Bolton Hill. The project attracted attention as new housing in an urban renewal district.
He was a general partner and manager of the 13-story 401 Washington Ave. office building in Towson near the Baltimore County Court House. He also developed a Belair Road shopping center in the Putty Hill Plaza with a Giant Food as the main tenant. He built the Bay Ridge shopping center in Annapolis, where he was also president from 1985 to 1991 of Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits.
Mr. Waxter was a general partner and developer of a medical office building at Franklin Square Medical Center, a Catonsville facility for the old Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., and an office building that housed a branch of the old Equitable Trust Co., also on Belair Road.
Mr. Waxter was a past chairman of the Maryland State Arts Council and was named a board member emeritus of Easton's Academy Art Museum, where he had been board chairman.
"My father had a great passion for art, reflected in his collecting and in his service to the arts council and the Academy Museum," said his daughter, Dorsey Ayres Waxter, a partner in Van Doren Waxter, a New York art gallery.
Family members said that Mr. Waxter was an art collector and enjoyed gathering 19th-century maritime paintings as well as works by contemporary artists. He owned works by Anne Truitt, an Easton-born artist, and watercolors by Carolyn Brady, who once lived in Bolton Hill. He and his wife entertained both of the nationally known artists at their Easton home.
"Arthur was a welcoming person filled with energy and ideas. He could put you at ease and he accepted you for what you were," said Erik Neil, director of the Academy Art Museum. "Today our institution is a vibrant museum because of his business acumen and his hard work."
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He said that Mr. Waxter led a successful capital campaign that "helped create a modern building" from an old house and school on the museum's property.
Mr. Waxter was also a 26-year board member of the Keswick Multi-Care Center in Baltimore and was a trustee of the Grayce B. Kerr charitable foundation fund. He served on the boards of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association and Planned Parenthood of Maryland.
"Everyone loved Arky. He was a wonderful friend to many people and a devoted family man," said Grant Hathaway, a friend and business associate who lives in Baltimore. "He was good-natured, kind, and had an extraordinary sense of humor that was never at the expense of others."
Until five years ago, when he retired, he also had a Baltimore residence.
Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St., where he was a former member of the vestry. He was a vestry member and senior warden at All Faith Episcopal Church in Tunis Mills near Easton.
In addition to his daughter and wife of 64 years, survivors include a son, Arthur Lee Shreve Waxter Jr. of Columbia.