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Matthew K. 'Kevin' Wixted, a retired advertising agency executive, died May 26.
Matthew K. 'Kevin' Wixted, a retired advertising agency executive, died May 26. (HANDOUT / HANDOUT)

Matthew K. Wixted, a retired executive for the advertising agency W.B. Doner & Co. who brought his financial expertise to several local cultural organizations, died Friday of liver cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

The longtime Mays Chapel resident was 86.

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"Kevin was a great guy and worked at Doner for years," said Herbert D. Fried, former CEO and chairman of the board of the agency.

"He worked in the financial side of the agency and was very effective. He knew what he was doing," Mr. Fried said. "He was a great guy and always had a big smile on his face."

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Matthew Kevin Wixted was the son of Irish immigrants Matthew Charles Wixted, a carpenter, and Joanne Fahey, who worked in insurance.

He was a graduate of All Hallows High School in the Bronx, and earned a bachelor's degree in 1953 in finance and accounting from St. John's University in New York City, where he was a member of Delta Psi Upsilon fraternity.

Mr. Wixted, who was known as Kevin, married Ave Maria Russell in 1953, and they had three children.

He began his career in advertising finance with McManus John & Adams in Birmingham, Mich.

In 1967, he joined the Detroit office of W. B. Doner & Co., where he worked until moving to thje company's Baltimore office in 1981. He rose to become treasurer and chief financial officer.

"Kevin was a very popular, sweet and funny person, which is not what one would think for someone working in the finance department," said James M. Dale, who first worked with Mr. Wixted in Detroit in the 1970s.

"I was in creative and he was in finance," said Mr. Dale, who later served as president and chairman of Doner from 1983 to 1995. "He was a friendly guy, and when you met him at the coffee machine, he was always quick with a joke."

In 1981, the two men joined the company's North Charles Street office.

"At first, we spent a lot of time commuting back and forth to Detroit where our families were located, and spent a lot of time together. I came in as executive creative director and Kevin was treasurer," Mr. Dale recalled.

"We shared rental cars in Baltimore, and we stayed stayed at Cross Keys. He was a lot more familiar with Baltimore than I was," he said. "He knew where to go to eat in Little Italy or where to get the best crabs and how to eat them.

"Kevin was very vigilant about staying on top of things. Even though he could be tight with a buck, he wasn't difficult, and he brought that marvelous sense of humor of his to the most challenging of circumstances," Mr. Dale said.

After retiring from Doner in 2004, Mr. Wixted did some consulting work for MGH Inc., whose president was Andy Malis. Mr. Malis earlier had been vice president and account supervisor at Doner.

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Mr. Wixted provided business and financial consulting to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Opera Company.

He also worked with Park Heights Renaissance, an organization that was "devoted to transforming communities to create safe, nurturing environments," wrote a daughter, Sheila Wixted Buss of Dallas, in a biographical profile that she and her sister, Eileen Wixted of West Des Moines, Iowa, wrote of their father.

Mr. Wixted had been an active member and former president of the Paint & Powder Club. The volunteer theatrical club, founded in 1893, raises money for local charitable organizations through an annual production.

A member of the men's chorus, Mr. Wixted once performed in a musical revue called "Desperate Housewives of Wixted Lane."

An avid reader, Mr. Wixted included six newspapers in his daily reading regimen, Ms. Buss said.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Roman Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, 13717 Cuba Road, Cockeysville.

In addition to his two daughters, he is survived by his wife of 24 years, the former Lois Shumate; two stepdaughters, Darlene Hoffen of Catonsville and Donna Leanos of Bethesda; a brother, William Wixted of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a sister, Maura Wixted Campbell of Blue Point, N.Y.; and 14 grandchildren; His son, Kevin Russell Wixted, who was senior vice president of advertising for La-Z-Boy, died in 2001. His first marriage ended in divorce.

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