Robert M. Silverwood, 65, headed firm managing subsidized housing

August 29, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

Robert M. Silverwood, the president of a real estate company that managed subsidized housing for poor families and the elderly, and a former executive with the Rouse Co., died Monday of liver failure and pneumonia. The Columbia resident was 65.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville, Mr. Silverwood graduated from City College in 1957 and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia in 1961.

A robust athlete, he participated in many sports, including football, track and swimming. But his favorite sport was lacrosse. A varsity player for City College, he was later named to the Lacrosse All-American Team as a junior at the University of Virginia in 1960.

While at the university, Mr. Silverwood also participated in ROTC. He joined the Army after graduation and served in Germany for two years before being discharged as a first lieutenant.

After he returned, he attended evening classes at the University of Maryland law school for three years.

He continued to play lacrosse, first for Team USA for four years and later at the Mount Washington Club Lacrosse Team for more than 10 years.

Mr. Silverwood worked for the Rouse Co., developing real estate and shopping centers. He rose to the position of executive vice president in charge of mortgage banking and subsidized fair housing.

While he was at Rouse, Mr. Silverwood took over as the president of the troubled Home Ownership Plan Endeavor, a nonprofit Baltimore agency that bought, rehabilitated and resold city homes. He was brought in to repair the damage caused by criticism of workmanship and financial discrepancies. In 1969, he challenged a city auditor with his own findings.

His daughter Philippa Silverwood of Ellicott City said her father was involved in the development of the planned communities in Columbia.

"Not only was it something he was good at, it was something that helped make a difference," she said.

He left Rouse in 1979 and started Metropolitan Associates Development Corp., specializing in real estate development and property management. Ms. Silverwood, who took over as president when her father fell ill eight months ago, said the Columbia-based company focuses on subsidized housing for the elderly and multifamily dwellings.

In 1983, Mr. Silverwood married Jennifer Midgley, an Englishwoman born in India. They enjoyed entertaining, and served their dinner guests English and Indian dishes culled from an extensive collection of cookbooks. The couple traveled to England annually to visit her family.

"He'd always have a story or two to tell," said his brother, Harry E. Silverwood Jr. of Timonium. "He was very friendly and sort of a corny joke teller - some were better than others. But he was a very upbeat, happy person."

His daughter said that her parents were contracted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the 1980s to go across the country teaching others how to manage affordable housing for mentally handicapped and homeless people.

Mrs. Silverwood died of cancer in 2001. A previous marriage, to the former Sue Carol Longstaff, ended in divorce.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 11 at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia.

In addition to his daughter and brother, he is survived by another daughter, Catherine Silverwood of Columbia; and two sons, Anthony Silverwood of Columbia and Timothy Silverwood of Charles Village.

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