CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (AP) _ Samuel J. Gerson, the former chairman and CEO of Filene's Basement, the nation's oldest off-price department store, died Saturday. He was 61.

Gerson, who led the retailer from 1984 to 2000 and steered it through bankruptcy, died at home, said his daughter, Dana Gerson Unger. He had suffered from brain cancer for a year, she said.

While Gerson also served as president of clothing retailer The Gap, it was Filene's Basement, founded in his hometown of Boston, that was his passion, his daughter said.

A native of the city's Dorchester neighborhood, Gerson graduated from Boston College in 1963 and later earned an MBA from Boston University.

He served in the Navy from 1963 through 1966 aboard the USS Wasp.

Gerson worked for Federated Stores until joining The Denver of Denver as president and CEO in 1977. He then went to The Gap in 1979 as president and chief operating officer, and rejoined Federated in 1984 as president and CEO of Filene's Basement.