Longtime local David LeVine passes at age 91
David LeVine passed away peacefully at home Sunday at the age of 91. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Barbara LeVine, and his children Susan (and Bill) Wolff and Rob (and Evelyn Pinney) LeVine. He was preceded in death many years ago by his sister Missy and daughter Amy. Throughout his life, without exception, he could not have been more proud nor more supportive of his family.
Like Barbara, David was born and raised in Philadelphia. After his discharge from the Army Air Force in 1946 he graduated from Penn State University. Shortly afterward he started working for the Glen L. Martin Aircraft Co. at the “bottom of the ladder.” Thirty-four years later, at 59, he chose to retire from what was then Martin Marietta as the senior executive corporate vice-president.
During that time he had led the Titan II and III rocket programs in the aerospace division, followed by several other business groups. He was always known for having a can-do attitude and meeting most problems with the phrase, “No sweat!” In all facets of his life, it would be hard to find anyone more consistently positive and optimistic than David. It was generally understood that he would have soon become president and CEO of the corporation had he not retired. Although he could have become fabulously wealthy by continuing to work, his priorities were much more grounded. Instead, he chose to leave and spend 100 percent of his time with family and friends, traveling extensively and enjoying life in Bethesda, Maryland, and then Vail.
SHOOTING, SKIING HIS AGE
Between the ages of 77 and 86, David had the distinction of shooting his age many times on the golf course. Recently, he and golfing buddy Morrie Shepard calculated they had played 80 rounds a year together for 25 years. Never ones to ride in a golf cart, at 5 miles per round, that meant 10,000 miles walking the links together (usually at the Sonnenalp golf course), or roughly three times across the country. He relished that thought.
He also claimed to “ski his age” during the same time frame, many times bagging more than 80 days a year on Vail Mountain. Lower Gore Canyon on the Upper Colorado was frequently witness to his fishing line, and myriad local hikes from Shrine Pass to Missouri Lakes similarly enjoyed his footsteps and the shutter click of his camera.
Despite their relatively simple means, David and Barbara supported Bravo! Colorado financially in the early days (now Bravo! Vail), as well as the Vail Symposium more recently, along with a plethora of other nonprofits. He was enormously generous. Once, in 1974, he was responsible for picking the recipient of a corporate-sponsored college scholarship. Torn between two very deserving high school students (both unknown to him) with only one potential winner, he dutifully selected one for the company to send to school, and then opted to personally pay for the other’s four-year education. Her name was Gloria and she was but one of many people on whose lives he had a profound impact.
One of David’s most unique qualities was the fact that almost everyone who knew him, liked him. His outspoken liberal views (often expressed in letters to the Vail Daily) certainly alienated a number of conservatives. However, those who knew him personally respected both his intellect and intent. A number of staunch Republicans considered him their close friend and at least one was known to say, “He’s my favorite liberal.” In addition to his current friends, many people who worked with him (and usually for him) more than 30 years ago have been deeply saddened to hear of his passing.
As an aside, David’s father, Murray LeVine, was once the recipient of Philadelphia’s Good Citizen of the Year Award, in part for his assistance to those seeking immigration into the city. Murray Road, home to the Fox Hollow Habitat for Humanity development in Edwards, is appropriately named in his honor.
If you look in the dictionary under “ethical” or “integrity,” you’ll find a picture of David LeVine. True to his low-key, unassuming nature, David’s directions were for no service or ceremony after he passed. Instead, he preferred to have everyone support whatever cause they may choose, particularly if it benefits education or those less fortunate.