Buddy Shaivitz, fun-loving merchant

January 08, 1993|By Staff Report

Bernard H. "Buddy" Shaivitz, long the vice president of a family-owned furniture company and an aspiring comedy writer,

died Saturday of a brain tumor at his home on Old Forest Road in Pikesville.

Mr. Shaivitz, 58, and his cousin Jules owned the M. Shaivitz furniture business, which was founded a century ago in South Baltimore by their grandfather, Moses Shaivitz. The company was well known to the public by its slogan, "Shaivitz, the furniture people."

The Shaivitz cousins closed the last of their six stores in 1991, nTC their business -- like many other furniture-showroom operations -- falling victim to declining sales during the recession.

Before the decline set in, Shaivitz had virtually ringed the city with stores in Catonsville, Towson, Essex, Arnold, Hamilton and South Baltimore, and had 120 employees -- workers Mr. Shaivitz tried to treat as family.

Long interested in comedy, Mr. Shaivitz wrote jokes for a local radio disk jockey and tried his hand at creating a sitcom for television. He had an agent taking his script around Hollywood, but -- unlike his furniture -- it did not sell.

Mr. Shaivitz did not give up on his dream of writing his way into show business, however and he had been looking forward in retirement to having more time for comedy scripts.

He had managed to incorporate comedy into his furniture business -- presiding as master of ceremonies at company picnics where the workers put on skits.

"He motivated people in the company to have a lot of fun and develop humor," Jules Shaivitz said yesterday. "It went a long way toward making it a family place to work."

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Shaivitz was a graduate of Forest Park High School and attended the University of Maryland. He served in the Army in the mid-1950s and then turned his attention to the furniture business.

A former member of the Woodholme Country Club, he was fond of golf and tennis -- but was especially devoted to jogging and aerobics.

Daughter Betsie Shaivitz said her father worked out "religiously," and "his doctor said he had the heart of a man 10 years younger."

His apparent excellent health made the diagnosis of a brain tumor in September all the more shocking, relatives said.

Mr. Shaivitz was a member of the Beth Tfiloh Congregation and (( its brotherhood, and graveside services were conducted Sunday the congregation's cemetery.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, the former Lonnie Abramowitz; three daughters, Patty Leve and Betsie Shaivitz, both of Baltimore, and Kathi Rosenberg of Boston; two sisters, Rosalie Sellman of Baltimore and Sallie Hall of Princeton. N.J.; his mother, Dora Shaivitz of Baltimore; and five grandchildren.

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