Marcela de Keyser, 94, of Cherry Hill, who worked as a special events coordinator for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, died Saturday, April 13, in Voorhees of natural causes.
Ms. de Keyser established herself in the world of Philadelphia arts institutions later in life after raising a family, her children said.
After taking art classes at Rutgers University, she became an administrative assistant and special events coordinator for the curator and director of PAFA from 1972 to 1983. She then held the same position for the director of the opera company during the mid- to late-1980s.
“She knew all the high society people," acting as a social secretary for the institutions, said her daughter, Holly.
During the 1990s, she worked as an assistant to the directors of Sotheby’s auction house in Philadelphia and then the Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Ms. de Keyser was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the daughter of Dominick L. Scotto, owner of a bank, and his wife, Adele, an apparel manufacturer. She spent summers in the Hamptons at the estate of her aunt Mamie Conti, a fashion designer best known for creating the wedding dress of Ethel Kennedy when she married Robert F. Kennedy. Ms. de Keyser developed a love for fashion that served her well in her later-life career.
She graduated from Midwood High School in Brooklyn in 1944 and then took courses at the Alvienne School of Dramatic Arts. She worked as a secretary for an engineering firm and met her future husband, Douglas E. de Keyser. Their marriage ended in divorce.
Ms. de Keyser pursued ballet lessons into middle age and was a lover of theater, opera, classical music, and motion pictures. She traveled the world, including to India for daughter Holly’s wedding.
In addition to her daughter, Ms. de Keyser is survived by sons Dwight and Douglas, and a sister.
A viewing is scheduled for Thursday, April 25, from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, 1076 Madison Ave., New York City, followed by a 2 p.m. interment at Gates of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, N.Y.