WASHINGTON — Services for Robert H. Levi, 79, a former Hecht Co. president and chairman and a former vice president and director of May Department Stores Co., were held Sunday in Baltimore.
He died of heart failure at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, according to a son, Richard Hecht Levi.
Levi’s career with Hecht’s began as a salesman in 1942. He was elected to the board in 1946 and in 1947 was named corporate vice president. He became president in 1955. Before his retirement from Hecht’s in 1967, he helped engineer the company’s initial public offering and its 1959 merger with May Co.
Levi is survived by his wife, Ryda Hecht Levi, the granddaughter of the department store chain founders, who met Robert Levi in kindergarten in Baltimore. In addition to his son Richard, he is survived by another son, Alexander Hecht Levi, a daughter, Sandra Levi Gerstung, and five grandchildren.
Levi served as a director of the National Retail Merchants Association, now the National Retail Federation, and as chairman and president of the American Retail Federation. He was also active in many community and civic organizations in Washington and Baltimore.
After retiring from Hecht’s, Levi launched a second career with the Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co., a Baltimore bank. He retired as chairman of the bank’s executive committee in 1985.