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Joe Levy, Jr. passed away on Feb. 15 at Evanston Hospital. He was 92 years old.
Mr. Levy accomplished many things in his long life. He was a devoted family man, married to his wife, Carole, for 66 years, as well as a doting father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was a successful businessman at his Evanston-based Buick dealership, Carole Buick, where he cared about his employees and his customers. He was a generous philanthropist to many organizations and worthy causes; the most prominent gifts from Joe and Carole Levy were those made toward the construction of senior centers, named after his parents, in Evanston at 300 Dodge Ave. as well as Chicago and Bolingbrook.
In addition to his financial generosity, Mr. Levy shared his ideas, contacts and advice as a mentor to countless people from all walks of life. He served on the boards of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, the Chicago History Museum, Evanston Hospital, Temple Shalom and the Levy Senior Center Foundation
in Evanston. For many years Mr. Levy led a Saturday entrepreneurship group. He is remembered as having a brilliant mind for marketing and as an inspiring leader.
Mr. Levy’s 90th birthday coincided with the monthly board meeting of the Levy Senior Center Foundation. The board had a cake ready and made a proper fuss befitting his role and stature. He took it all with grace and good humor, and then got down to business as the meeting began.
One of the topics for discussion was a new program idea to encourage exercise and involvement among some of Evanston’s oldest seniors. The proposed benefit was a free Levy Senior Center membership to any Evanston resident 90 or older. The board discussed it and voted to approve the new program, but did not have a program name in mind. Without missing a beat, Mr. Levy piped up: “Heaven Can Wait.” It was pithy and perfect, classic Joe Levy.
Mr. Levy made a positive impact on Evanston as an employer, benefactor, involved community leader and alumnus. He loved hearing other people’s ideas and appreciated being asked for his thoughts and advice. His remembered as a generous and genuine friend to many – a “mensch,” who will be missed.