We celebrate the 96 years Walter (Walt) Joseph LeVine lived fully in this world from the day he was born January 18, 1922 in Bridgeport, Connecticut until the 21st of October, 2018.
Walter’s childhood and youth were in Brooklyn, New York and anyone who knew him would say that he was a true New Yorker, to which his humor would attest. His parents, Abraham Levine (dental surgeon) and Christine Walter Levine (homemaker) kept a Jewish Orthodox home. His brother, Marty, was born in 1930. In his youth, Walt was athletic, a collector of stamps and coins, and remained a remarkable dancer throughout his life. Walter finished his aviation mechanics program in Manhattan in 1941 and then worked at Lackland School of Aeronautics in Florida. He dabbled in jewelry making and metal sculpting, which he developed later in life.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 to avoid being drafted into the army, which was in keeping with his clever survivor instincts. He was stationed in Columbus, Ohio where he met the love of his life, Dorothy Thomas LeVine. They married in 1944 just days before he was deployed to Guam and then Saipan, where he tattooed his forearm with “Dorothy”. As a World War II veteran he was commemorated with honours and medals upon separating from service in October 1945. A year later, in 1946 their first son, Joseph, was born. Thomas was born in 1949, Peggy in 1952 and (the late) Cindy in 1960.
Of the places Walt and Dorothy lived, they told pioneering stories of their life in Ketchikan, Alaska before they resettled on Long Island, New York for their children’s young childhood. The family resettled in Alexandria, Virginia after Walter became lead manager of mechanics for National Airlines. It was there that he began his metal sculpting and lapidary stone polishing.
After their children were through university years, Walter and Dorothy resettled in Panama City, Florida where Walt built most of their home and docks on a bayou. His garage was a studio for metal sculpting, woodworking and stone cutting. Binoculars for bird watching were always ready on the windowsill and fishing poles were always ready for a casting. Walt and Dorothy adventured widely – from London excursions to cruises to Russia and innumerable islands. They moved to South Carolina for family support when Dorothy coped with dementia and Walt’s eyes failed. Walter was by his wife’s side until the end of her life in 2013. His children, Joe (Donna), Tom (Jenny), Peg, and his pre-deceased daughter, Cindy, his six grandchildren and six great grandchildren, enriched his life.
For Walter, above all Nature was his spiritual connection. He had an insatiable curiosity about the mystery of the universe and encouraged healthy habitats for fish, mammal and fowl. He had a large appetite for magazines (fishing, lapidary and National Geographic) and read the newspaper every morning. The ashes of Walter and Dorothy will be honoured at a 2019 family reunion ceremony in Moosehead Lake Maine – a pastime annual family vacation place.
The family asks that donations be sent to the water ecology center in South Carolina: The Waddell Mariculture Funds. (https://www.cflowcountry.org/givingthroughthefoundation/donateonline.aspx.)