Published December 8, 2008 this is column 27
| Salem ó
(Editorís Note: Dov Levy wrote his obituary, except for the first paragraph,
and left it in his files to be used at this time.)
Dov Burt Levy, Jewish Journal, and Gantseh Megillah columnist for the past six years died on Monday, November 17 from complications of pneumonia. He was 73 years old, born November 28, 1934.
When Dov grew up in Revere, he was known as Burton Levy and began using Dov, his Hebrew name, during the 24 years he lived in Israel.
Dov was born in the West End of Boston but lived in Revere for his entire 12 years of public school. He always said that he majored in playing the horses and dogs at the two Revere racetracks. His high school grades were low and his truancy high. After he joined the Air Force at age 18, and learned he wasn't as dumb as he and everyone thought, he resolved to become a high school teacher and be the sort of teacher who would really help kids.
After four years in the Air Force serving in Greenland, Germany and France, including a month furlough in Israel in the summer of 1956 where he fell in love with the country, he returned to Boston and completed a bachelors degree in high school education at Boston University and a year of graduate work in political science. While searching for a teaching job, and they were not easy to find that year, he applied for and received a Carnegie Fellowship in Public Administration which provided one year of work in the Governor's office (under Governors Foster Furcolo and John Volpe) and a further year of graduate work at UMASS-Amherst. (He was awarded the PhD degree in political science in 1965.)
Dov was politically active at BU serving as president of Hillel and chairman of the Student Zionist Organization. Two years later, he became the first Korean War veteran to head a state veteran's organization: the American Veteran's Committee.
In college, Dov met and married Lisa Wallach of Malden, and they had two children, Elizabeth and Patty.
Completing the Carnegie fellowship, Dov became Asst. Director of the Anti-Defamation League Regional Office in Detroit, Michigan. From there he became Director of Community Services of the State of Michigan Civil Rights Commission. In 1969, Dov left state government service to become an Associate professor of political science at Wayne State University, opened a consulting firm specializing in urban problems, and continued a police-community relations consultancy with the Community Relations Service in the Department of Justice.
In 1972, he joined the US Environmental Protection Agency as Director of Administration at the National Air Pollution Research Center in Research Triangle Park, NC and transferred to EPA's Washington headquarters in 1978.
In 1979, following his first (of three) heart surgeries, Dov made aliyah and began a 24 year residence in Israel divided between Kibbutz Afek, near Haifa, for three years where he worked daily in the orchards, three years in Ramat Aviv where he operated a gardening business and taught at Tel Aviv University, and the remainder of the time in Jerusalem where he spent two years as a full time volunteer at Alyn Hospital and began his writing career writing opinion articles in the Jerusalem Post, travel articles for periodicals around the world, and most importantly, grandparent articles.
He often said, "The best part of my life were the days and months and years I spent being a babysitting grandfather. I picked the children up as infants from the nursery to elementary school. I fed them, played with them, took them around the neighborhood and city. I taught Mickey and Jenny English and they taught me what joy it is to be a caregiver to my own progeny."
When the Israeli kids became teenagers, Dov relocated to Salem where he could be minutes away from his third grandchild, Emily, in Danvers. Though Emily's parents' work schedules allowed at least one of them to be home after school, Dov spent as much time as possible with Emily and had many after school coffees with her. She drank chocolate; Dov drank cappuccino. In September 2002, when Emily was entering the first grade, Dov brought her to the Jewish Journal office and introduced her to the staff and she proceeded to read aloud Dov's first column for the Journal, which contained Emily's name.
His wife, Lisa, two daughters and their husbands, Elizabeth and Avi Levy of Mevassaret-Zion, Israel and Patty and John Knickle of Danvers, and three grandchildren, Michael and Jenny of Israel and Emily of Danvers, a brother William of Waltham and a sister, Dr. Roberta Gantz of Boulder, CO survive him.
Dov has been buried in the Jewish cemetery in West Roxbury, next to his father and grandfather. Shiva was held at the home of his daughter, Patty Knickle, in Danvers. It is possible to reach the family through Dovís email.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Israel National Council for the Child, 38 Pierre Koenig St., Jerusalem 93469, Israel.
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