Eduard "Seawolf" Shechter, of Owings Mills, passed away on September 29, 2020, after reaching the ripe old age of 83
Born on January 30, 1937, to Leo and Rose Shechter in Odessa, Ukraine, he was the youngest of three brothers and was raised under the harsh reality of Soviet Communism, surviving the terrors the Second World War brought to the region.
As a young man, Eduard faithfully served his homeland in the Armed Forces. After training at the maritime academy in Saint Petersburg, Eduard quickly rose through the ranks to first mate, most notably leading scientific research expeditions to the North Pole, and earning his notorious nickname, "Seawolf".
Facing persecution for his Jewish faith and finding himself as a stranger in his own land, he made the courageous decision to escape the country with his wife and daughter; first, to Israel where he became involved in the Yom Kippur War and then by the grace of God, he eventually brought his family to Baltimore. Facing the great unknown, he fearlessly forged a new path searching for a better life, a path that proved neither easy nor privileged. To put bread on the table, he tirelessly worked many jobs, washing dishes for a mere 50 cents an hour, and going on to work as a longshoreman. Once he became more established in America, he returned to his first love, the sea, as a commercial captain. As the old maxim goes, "You can take the man out of the sea, but you can't take the sea out of the man." Until the day he died, he never retired his sea legs.
When he first met his wife Lydia at the early age of 18, he wooed her by falsely claiming he was both a jeweler and a musician. While he never became a musician, later in life, he would become an incredibly successful and gifted jeweler, running his own business for decades, until finally retiring to spend more time with his three treasured grandchildren.
Eduard enjoyed singing and will always be remembered as a character, eliciting laughs with his incredible sense of humor, clever adages, and extreme whit.
Divulging his great secret to making it well into his eighties, he quipped, "I eat at McDonald's every day, but I bring my own food."
He was a strong patriarch of his family, instilling a palpable example of rugged individualism, work ethic, generosity, and patriotism. As both an amateur boxer and chess master, Eduard knew how to precisely use his powerful intellect and sheer determination to fight for what he believed in, create a better life for his family, and become successful across many different disciplines. When finally achieving the American promise, he once reflected, "When I was in Russia, I was a Jew. When I was in Israel, I was a Russian; but, when I came to America, I was an American."
Eduard is survived by his dear daughter, Alexandra "Alex" Palencar, three adored grandchildren, Stephanie, Kevin, and Adam Palencar; and one great-grandchild, Noah. He leaves behind one brother, Konstantin (Kota). He is predeceased by his cherished wife of 64 years, Lydia.
It would seem to the naked eye that Eduard "Seawolf" Shechter had lived at least a thousand lifetimes. His story is one that even Hollywood screenwriters would never be able to write, as it's not just about a life that was worth living, but an exhilarating tale of great perseverance, sacrifice, and resolve.
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