Henry B. Schechter, 87, retired deputy director of the AFL-CIO's department of economic development, died July 19 of pneumonia at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville. He had Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

He worked at the AFL-CIO in Washington from 1974 to 1988, when he retired. He also had served as director of the organization's department of urban affairs and office of housing.

Mr. Schechter, whose middle name was Bear, was born in New York and graduated from City College of New York in 1938. He received a master's degree (1941) and a PhD (1951), both in economics, from American University.

During World War II, he served in the Navy in the Aleutian Islands and Cape May, N.J. He was a communications and operations officer.

"He negotiated the surrender of a German U-boat," said a son, Joel Schechter of San Francisco. "That was at the end of the war, and they wanted to surrender. He knew German, so he could talk to them."

Early in his career, he worked with the Veterans Administration, the War Production Board and the U.S. Housing Authority.

From 1966 to 1970, he was director of the office of economic and market analysis at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He worked four years as a senior specialist in housing with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress.

After he retired, he published a book, "The Global Economic Mismatch: High Technology and Low Pay" (1993).

He was a member of the board of trustees of the Foundation for Cooperative Housing and a member of the board of directors of the National Housing Conference and the Federal Savings and Loan Advisory Council.

A Silver Spring resident for more than 40 years, he attended Temple Israel before his illness.

In recent years, he enjoyed listening to classical music and spending time with his family.

His wife of more than 50 years, Ruth Schechter, died in 2004.

In addition to his son Joel, survivors include two other children, Eric Schechter of Nashville and Judy Schechter of Greenbrier, Tenn.; two brothers, Bernard Schechter of Rockville and Samson Schechter of St. Louis; and four grandchildren.