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Richard G. Shapiro, business executive

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Thursday, March 10, 2011; 7:57 PM

Richard G. Shapiro, 86, a top executive with retailers such as Lord and Taylor, Filene's and Gimbel Brothers who served as president of an energy company from 1983 to 1995, died Feb. 10 at Collingswood, a nursing home in Rockville. He had dementia.

Mr. Shapiro held various positions in fashion merchandising at Lord and Taylor before becoming a senior vice president in 1962. He joined Federated Department Stores in 1965 as president of its Boston unit, Filene's, and became chief executive officer and chairman.

In the mid-1970s, he was president and chief operating officer of the Gimbel Brothers department store in New York.

He was president of the speciality store division of W.R. Grace & Co. before starting Nitrotec Energy with a Grace colleague who had an engineering background.

Mr. Shapiro focused on the business development side of the company, which explored ways to use hydrogen for energy. Nitrotec Energy was sold to a utility company in the mid-1990s.

Richard Gerald Shapiro, a native of New York City, was a 1946 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 1948 graduate of Harvard Business School. During World War II, he served with Army intelligence.

He moved to the Washington region in 1991 and had lived in Potomac.

He volunteered with the Montgomery County Humane Society and at the White House during the Clinton administration. He had been a member of the Brandeis University board in Waltham, Mass., since 1967.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Lila Eig Shapiro of Bethesda; three children, Judy S. Sherer of Potomac, Amy S. Kostant of Chevy Chase and Don Shapiro of Rockville; a sister; and six grandchildren.

- Lauren Wiseman


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