Louis E. Shecter, Promoter and activist

November 11, 1992

Louis E. Shecter, a longtime Baltimore promoter and advertising executive who owned movie theaters and bowling alleys, died Monday of cancer at his home in the Suburban Oaks Apartments.

Services for Mr. Shecter, who was 91, were to be held at 1 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 6010 Reisterstown Road.

At the time of his death he remained a partner in the public relations firm of Shecter and Levin, which he started in 1931 with Jack L. Levin, a brother-in-law.

Among his most cherished accomplishments was working with the American Jewish Congress for the ratification of the Genocide Convention, which was eventually adopted by the United Nations.

"His obsession became ratification of the Genocide Convention, the United Nations law that he wanted the United States Senate to ratify," Mr. Levin said. "Lou took it upon himself to mount a one-man campaign. He identified with victims of the Holocaust because his family had come from Russia, the old country. It wasn't just history with him, it was very personal."

As an investor with relatives, Mr. Shecter owned real estate and Baltimore show business venues such as the old Roslyn, Rex, Roxy and Times theaters.

The family also owned the Famous Ballroom and the Charles Bowling Center, along with the Imperial Bowling Center.

"When he opened the Charles Bowling Center it had 100 lanes, the largest of its kind at the time. For the opening he brought in Sally Rand," Mr. Levin said, recalling the exotic performer famed for dances with fans and feathers.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Shecter was a 1918 graduate of City College, where he headed debating teams. He worked for The Baltimore Sun as a copy boy shortly after his graduation and then worked for the Joseph Katz advertising company.

He left in 1928 to become advertising director of what were then the Hecht stores in Baltimore until he started his own agency.

In the late 1930s, he collaborated with local drama critic Norman Clark on a stage comedy, "Window Shopping," which ran briefly on Broadway.

A former president of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Jewish Congress, he was a recipient of the Stephen S. Wise Medallion of the organization's Maryland Council. Nationally, he had chaired the group's Commission on International Affairs as well as its Committee for the Ratification of the Genocide Convention.

A life member of the Amicable Lodge of the Masons, he was a founder of the Woodholme Country Club and Beth Tfiloh Congregation.

As a keen collector of art, his holdings included a variety of paintings, Chinese and other works from the Far East, and statuary, some of which has been displayed at Towson State University and elsewhere.

He also donated works he had obtained or commissioned to various institutions, including the Beth Tfiloh Congregation, the State Department, the Maryland Historical Society, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Catholic University.

Mr. Shecter is survived by his wife of 52 years, the former Rosalyn Margareten; two sons, Alan Shecter of Stevenson and Mark Shecter of Washington; a daughter, Alice Shecter Levin of Baltimore; three sisters, Ester Levin of Pikesville and Sylvia Sybert and Sara Applefeld, both of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

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