Jane K. Schapiro

Bal­ti­more phi­lan­thropist sup­ported the arts and ed­u­ca­tion and was a bene­fac­tor of mul­ti­ple or­ga­ni­za­tions in Is­rael

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Rasmussen

Jane K. Schapiro, a Bal­ti­more phi­lan­thropist who sup­ported both the arts and ed­u­ca­tion and was a bene­fac­tor of cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions in Is­rael, died Satur­day of con­ges­tive heart fail­ure at her con­do­minium in the Colon­nade in the city’s Tus­cany-Can­ter­bury neigh­bor­hood. She was 96.

“There are not enough ad­jec­tives to de­scribe Jane,” said Marty Wax­man, a long­time friend and for­mer vice pres­i­dent of fi­nance re­source de­vel­op­ment for The As­so­ci­ated: Jewish Fed­er­a­tion of Bal­ti­more. “She was gra­cious, hos­pitable, so­cia­ble and a po­lit­i­cal lib­eral. Those are the best things I can say about her. She was the last of her gen­er­a­tion, and the first of her gen­er­a­tion to go through and break the glass ceil­ing and be­come a leader.”

The for­mer Jane Krieger, the daugh­ter of in­dus­tri­al­ist Abra­ham Krieger, who coowned the old Gun­ther Brew­ing Co. from 1931 un­til its sale in 1959, and his wife, Ruth Krieger, a home­maker, was born in Bal­ti­more and raised in Forest Park and at “The Wedge,” a fam­ily farm in Tow­son.

She was also the niece of Zan­vyl Krieger, her fa­ther’s brother, the Bal­ti­more phi­lan­thropist who played a ma­jor role in bring­ing the Ori­oles to Bal­ti­more in 1954, and in ad­di­tion to be­ing a ma­jor in­vestor in the team, also had a financial in­ter­est in the Bal­ti­more Colts and the Bal­ti­more Clip­pers, a mi­nor league hockey team.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing in1940 from Forest Park High School, Mrs. Shapiro be­gan her col­lege stud­ies at Goucher Col­lege and re­mained there un­til elop­ing with LeRoy S. “Lee” Co­hen, a lieu­tenant com­man­der in the Navy who was study­ing at the Naval Academy.

“He wanted a date to the academy tea dance. She lost when she drew the short match­stick,” wrote Jack Frucht­man, a son-in-law, in a biographic­al pro­file of Mrs. Shapiro.

“The cou­ple fell in love and eloped when she was just 19 years old. Her fa­ther op­posed the mar­riage given her young age and stu­dent sta­tus,” he wrote. “On hear­ing of their elope­ment, her mother met them at the air­port and handed her daugh­ter a cook­book, ‘How to Make Your Hus­band Happy.’ ”

Af­ter World War II ended, her hus­band re­turned to Bal­ti­more and within a few years rec­on­ciled with his fa­ther-in-law and went to work at Gun­ther’s, ris­ing to be­come its pres­i­dent in 1954.

Af­ter study­ing jour­nal­ism at New York Uni­ver­sity dur­ing the war, Mrs. Shapiro earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in lit­er­a­ture in 1952 from Goucher.

Her hus­band died at the age of 48 while on a trip to Is­rael in 1966 with his fam­ily.

Four years later, she mar­ried Marvin S. Schapiro, who founded Con­ti­nen­tal Realty, whose hold­ings in­cluded the Hip­po­drome Theatre, Town The­ater, Reis­ter­stown Road Plaza, Chart­ley Shop­ping Cen­ter, Park Plaza in Sev­erna Park and more than 5,000 apart­ments.

An avid vol­un­teer, Mrs. Schapiro and a friend es­tab­lished the first Child Study Group, which “even­tu­ally be­came a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to teach­ing young women about child­bear­ing,” said Mr. Frucht­man, a Mount Washington res­i­dent.

She was one of the founders of what be­came the chil­dren’s zoo at the Mary­land Zoo in Bal­ti­more. She had served on the Goucher board, was head of the sis­ter­hood at Chizuk Amuno Con­gre­ga­tion, and was the first woman to serve on the syn­a­gogue’s board.

Mrs. Schapiro had been ac­tive for years with the work of The As­so­ci­ated, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that her fa­ther helped es­tab­lish in 1920. She was the first woman to serve on its board’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. She was also the first pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­ated’s Women’s Di­vi­sion, which no longer ex­ists as a sep­a­rate en­tity.

Along with oth­ers, she be­gan G-Day (Giv­ing Day), a telethon that was broad­cast from the Pikesville Ar­mory where vol­un­teers raised money for Jewish or­ga­ni­za­tions in Bal­ti­more, in­clud­ing Si­nai Hos­pi­tal.

“In 1962, she was the first woman to have lunch in the men’s din­ing room at the Cen­ter Club, which un­til then, had set aside a sep­a­rate area for co-ed din­ing,” Mr. Frucht­man wrote in his pro­file.

Mrs. Schapiro and her sec­ond hus­band shared a mu­tual in­ter­est in the cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in Is­rael, and to that end, es­tab­lished a school for Arab and Jewish chil­dren in Kiryat Gat in south­ern Is­rael, about 30 miles south of Tel Aviv.

Mr. Schapiro also do­nated money to­ward the re­de­vel­op­ment of the Kiryat Gat neigh­bor­hood, and for nine years, Mrs. Schapiro was ac­tively in­volved in the cre­ation and op­er­a­tion of Bal­ti­more’s par­tic­i­pa­tion through The As­so­ci­ated in Project Re­newal, whose mis­sion was “to help poor neigh­bor­hoods in Is­rael,” Mr. Wax­man said. “She be­came chair­man of the pro­gram and had deep feel­ings for the peo­ple.”

Bal­ti­more’s part­ner in Project Re­newal was the Jerusalem neigh­bor­hood of Ir Ganim, which was home to mainly North African Jews.

Mr. Schapiro helped es­tab­lish the Mary­land/Is­rael De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter, which was a part­ner­ship be­tween the state Depart­ment of Busi­ness and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Is­rael’s Min­istry of In­dus­try and Trade, the Jewish Agency for Is­rael and The As­so­ci­ated.

Mr. Schapiro was in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing jobs for the mass mi­gra­tion of Soviet Jews, who be­gan set­tling in Kiryat Gat in the 1980s.

“They were a re­mark­able pair and com­ple­mented each other,” Mr. Wax­man said of Mr. Schapiro. “He was the busi­ness­man and in many ways she was the so­cial worker.”

In honor of his wife, Mr. Schapiro, who died in 2002, ded­i­cated the li­brary in her name at Ben-Gu­rion Uni­ver­sity of the Negev in Beer­sheba.

“She and her hus­band kept an apart­ment in Jerusalem and when any­one was vis­it­ing from Bal­ti­more, they were in­vited to stay there,” Mr. Wax­man said.

They also main­tained a home in the south of France, which they pur­chased in 1987, af­ter sell­ing their apart­ment in Paris. They also en­joyed trav­el­ing through­out Europe and Asia.

Mrs. Schapiro was an an­nual subscriber to the Bal­ti­more Sym­phony Or­ches­tra and the Metropoli­tan Opera in New York City. Ser­vices were pri­vate.

In ad­di­tion to her son-in-law, Mrs. Schapiro is sur­vived by a son, Howard K. Co­hen, of Bonita Springs, Florida; a daugh­ter, JoAnn Frucht­man, of Mount Washington; a step­son, J. Mark Schapiro, of Owings Mills; nine grand­chil­dren; and 18 great­grand­chil­dren.

Jane K. Schapiro co-founded what be­came the chil­dren’s zoo at the Mary­land Zoo.

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