Cover photo for Sheldon Levy's Obituary
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1930 Sheldon 2008

Sheldon Levy

November 6, 1930 — November 10, 2008

Eulogy by Robert Granger: According to the map, the distance between Kingston Hospital and Benedictine Hospital is only a couple of blocks. For Shelly, the distance is the measure of a lifetime. It was in Kingston Hospital on November 6, 1930 that Shedon Levy was born, the son of Meyer and Ethel.He went home from the hospital to the family house on Murray St. in the Rondout area. Eventually the family moved to the house on Main St. Following his marriage, Shelly moved to the house next door where Susan grew up. From there the Levy family moved to the house on Miller's Lane where his father eventually came to live with them. Then, in 1989, along came Joan and the house on Twin Ponds Drive. Sadly, prostate cancer entered his life some years later, and last week, the life long journey from Kingston Hospital to Benedictine Hospital was completed. It had taken 78 remarkable and wonderful years. Incidentally, the phone number at Shelly's parents was 2322. That was back when you had to go through an operator. It was a number Shelly kept for his entire life. It's still the phone number at Twin Ponds Drive. The Levy family have been active members of Congregation Ahavath Israel for generations. In fact, Shelly's maternal grandmother, Fanny, was the first President of the Sisterhood. It was at Ahavath Israel, back then downtown, that Shelly underwent the ritual of Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13. He has remained a member ever since. As a boy, he got to go fishing with his uncles. Of course, as a boy, it was he who had to row the boat. On one occasion he borrowed a bicycle from one of his uncles. The uncle was not too happy about the fact that the tennis racquetgot caught in the spokes, wrecking the bicycle. While growing up, Shelly loved to go to Leventhals, a fur store on Wall Street. The attraction wasn't the furs. Instead, he would go to the back of the shop and admire Ruben Leventhals trophies. Whether he dreamed about it or not I don't know, but one day, he would have many, many trophies of his own. Except for his time in the Navy, Shelly spent his entire life living in Kingston. When he graduated from Kingston High School, young men his age were subject to being drafted by the Army, so Shelly took pre-emptive action, and joined the Navy. It was a fortunate decision, because a few days later he received a draft notice from the Army. The Levy's were a very musical family, and following family tradition, Shelly played the trumpet in the high school band. In the Navy, he switched to the sousaphone because that was what the Navy most needed. He was also a radio operator aboard ship. For a man who didn't like traveling, the Navy was a strange choice. After all, Shelly was content to see only as much of England, among other places, as could be seen from the deck of a ship. Shellyalmost became a professional baseball player, which explains his extensive collection of baseball artifacts. He was playing for a Brooklyn Dodgers B team when he received a letter with a contract to play for the Dodgers. In fact, he had two letters in his hand that day. The other was from his mother. His mother's letter ordered him to come home. Being a good Jewish boy ...he went home! Later in life, he would comment on the episode: "I could have been playing baseball, but it turned out all right." The Levy family business revolved around the manufacture of shirts and blouses. His paternal grandfather, Louis Levy, had founded the business, and eventually Shelly's father took over the business in Kingston. The factory was locatedover the old Trailways Bus Terminal on Broadway. Shirts and blouses being a family business, it's not too surprising that after his return from the Navy, Shelly went to the Shiek School of Design in New York City to learn clothing design and to make patterns. He also came back thoroughly versed in tearing down and putting back together Singer 10W40 sewing machines. That was the only time in his life, that he successfully ventured into anything mechanical. On one occasion, he and his father were headed for New York City to negotiate some new business. It was Sunday, and they had workers coming to work on Monday. His father got sick in Newburgh and had to return home, so Shelly was sent to the city by himself He was so successful that his father was able to re-cut the fabric that was sent up so more items could be made from it. They were able to make a lot more money as a result. Only thing was, Shelly had done the negotiations so well that when the agent from the city called one day, he insisted that he talk to Shelly. His father would have none of it. He wouldn't let him talk to Shelly. "No," said his father, "I own the business." And then he hung up the phone. Given all of that, it's not hard to understand why Shelly decided that the clothing business was not his calling. So he went to Florida the next day after the phone call to learn to be a stock broker. Not that he was new to investing. In fact, he got involved with investing way back in high school. That caused a bit of a problem for him when he was in the Navy. Now the way it worked in the Navy, was that once a week was pay day. Unfortunately there was always a long line, and Shelly refused to stand in line. That was why he didn't bother to pick up his check. He didn't bother to pick it up for over two years. One day, however, he noticed that there was no line, so it seemed like a good time to do pick up his back pay. Instead of getting a check, he was told to immediately report to the Admiral. You see, the suspicion was that not bothering to pick up his pay checks must mean that he was doing something illegal to get money. Questioned about it by the Admiral, Shelly said: "Money is not a problem here. You feed me. You cloth me. You give me a place to sleep, so if I need some money I just sell some stock." Aha!. "Well," asked the Admiral, "How have you done in the stock market?" The answer to that question resulted in the Admiral becoming Shelly's first client, right then and there. From then on, in the eyes of the Admiral, Shelly could do no wrong. Unfortunately, the first investment which looked like a sure thing turned out not to be such a sure thing. Undaunted, he continued investment advice for the Admiral and in fact they did very well. On one occasion when he went to see the Admiral, the secretary refused to let him in because the Admiral was with someone else. "Just tell him Shelly is here to see him." She did and his response was "Send him right in." Shelly and Joan met on the phone. Through a mutual acquaintance, Shelly was given Joan's phone number. It took several weeks before he called her. For three or four months, they talked on the phone. Shelly didn't like to travel, so Joan was going to come here. Shelly said no. He was afraid that if it didn't work out, he'd be stuck with her here. So he decided to go to Texas instead.Joan was afraid if he came to see her, he would want to stay with her, so she made hotel reservations for him. They sometimes talked on the phone so long, that Shelly would fall asleep. Well, despite all of that, Shelly decided it would be cheaper to have Joan move here from Texas, than those expensive phone bills.. The rest is history. Now, for some reason and for many years, Shelly wanted a tool box. So, for his 70th birthday, Joan finally got him the longed for tool box. Of course the only tools he ever put in it were his father's tools. It was a safe place to keep them because Shelly never used them anyway. He was not exactly a handyman around the house. He did try a time or two. For instance, Susan remembers the story of some loose floor tiles. Shelly bought a fixer upper kit. Then called the repairman to fix his fix. Oh yes, there was also that caulking episode. Putting caulk around a bath tub is not rocket science, so Shelly actually succeeded in doing it. Six months later, Joan discovered a problem between the patio and the house that needed caulking. So she called Shelly to come and help her. Joan handed him a little tool. "What's that?" Shelly asked. "It's a caulking gun," said Joan. "A caulking gun? What's a caulking gun?" He didn't know about caulking guns. He had squeezed the tube of bathtub caulk out by hand. It was then the reason for his sore shoulders and arms became clear. Sheldon Levy was a rather unique person. Big and strong on the one hand, he was kind and gentle on the other.The "gentle giant" some called him. For some reason, despite being such a big guy, children were drawn to him. They seemed to feel safe around him. Even his daughter's friends as she was growing up. He was kind of a second father to them, the big teddy bear. Animals loved him too, and no wonder! When he went to visit my in-laws, he always brought hamburgers in a bag for the dog. Not just any hamburgers, mind you. They had to be from Burger King, not McDonalds because they had to be broiled, not fried. On one occasion he picked up an injured dog, owner unknown, and took it to the vet because it had been injured by a turtle. Dogs never did do well in races with turtles. Not only children and dogs, Shelly was loved and respected by family, friends and co-workers. To his work, he brought wisdom and perspective, knowledge and experience, and, of course, his quiet, dry humor.. It was all of these together that made Shelly such a competent stock broker. "Everybody is an expert in a good market," he used to say. Sometimes, however, the market was down.That was when most stock brokers sat around hoping angry clients wouldn't call, Shelly had a different perspective. He thought it the perfect time for pre-emptive action. That meant calling clients to tell them that the market was down.A perfect time to buy! Oh yes, a little more wisdom from Shelly, "When the market is up, you don't need an analyst. When the market is down, you definitely don't need an analyst." Shelly's war with cancer has been long, and he fought it hard. He kept going when others would have given up. He couldn't have done it, however, without Joan. Joan has done an absolutely wonderful and amazing job of caring for Shelly throughout his long struggle. Trip after trip after trip to Sloan Kettering in the city, to Sloan Kettering in Tarrytown, and to Dr. after Dr. after Dr. Just getting Shelly moving for the day could sometimes be a challenge. On behalf of all of us, Joan, thank you. Despite the fact that Shelly needed the help of a cane to walk at the time, he even managed to dance with Susan at her wedding. It was a dance to the tune of "Daddy's Little Girl," the same song that was played at her Bat Mitzvah. We each have wonderful memories of our own by which Shelly has blessed us. For all of those memories, and for all of the love you shared with us, Shelly, thank you. ............................................... We're here to celebrate a life well lived. Shelly was a man that I was proud to call my father-in-law. I knew him through the adoring eyes of his loving daughter. He was a man of sound advice, a conservative nature and was upstanding to a fault. In short, Shelly was the best of men. Shelly was a devoted husband, cherished father, trusted advisor, a bench press champion through the age classes, always ready with a lifting spot, a former dodger farm hand who's sense of duty brought him home to his father's will, instead of pursuing his dream, therefore a sports memorabilia collector. He was an accomplished advisor, a Shriner and a friend, a man who would always go the extra distance to help those in need. He rose to positions of leadership in his work and life. In short Shelly was a pillar of the community and it seems that they don't make them like him anymore. All those present here have been blessed to have had him in our lives. Anyone touched by his friendship, guidance, warmth, appreciation or love will never forget him. The world is a bit poorer today for the loss of such a man. A long and prosperous life fittingly comes to a close in the fall. He will be sorely missed, but to honor his memory, do as the daughter he taught so well does and endeavor to always do the right thing. A life lived along the shores of the mighty Hudson River that was a positive influence on so many was not squandered, but blessed and nurtured by those he loved and who loved him. The flesh is weak, but his spirit will remain ever undaunted. He is at peace and memories of him will always be with us. His advice will return to us in times of need. God blesses and anoints the special few. Shelly was such a one. Written in his memory, Dave ................................................... Sheldon Levy of Twin Ponds, Kingston died Monday at Benedictine Hospital. He was 78. A native and lifelong Kingston resident, he was born November 6, 1930, a son of the late Meyer and Ethel Marcus Levy. A graduate of Kingston High School, he entered the US Navy during the Korean War. He served as a radio operator for Admiral McCormack. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Joyce - Schirick Post 1386 and a member of the American Legion Post #150. An avid sportsman, Mr. Levy played shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers (B team) in Orlando, Florida. As a bowler, he won many competitions in area leagues. Over the years Mr. Levy developed his bench press skills. He was a World Class Weight Lifter, setting many state and national bench press records. In 2001 he competed in Luxumborg, Germany at the USPL (United States Power Lifters.) He was a member and National Referee for the USPL. He judged many state and national meets, influencing many young athletes. A member and former board member of Congregation Ahavath Israel, he previously sang in the choir. Mr. Levy belonged to the Rondout Lodge #343 and Saugerties Ulster Lodge #193. He belonged to the Lodge Council Chapter Consistory Schottish Rite Bodies in Albany and Cyprus Shriners. He was a 50+ year member of the B.P.O.E., Kingston. Surviving are his wife Joan Kasner Levy; one daughter Susan Austin and her husband David of Chatsworth, CA. and many loving generations of cousins. Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at the Simpson - Gaus Funeral Home, 411 Albany Ave. Rabbi Yael Romer will officiate. Interment will be in Montrepose Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, PO Box 27106, New York, NY 10087 or Congregation Ahavath Israel, PO Box 3063, Kingston, NY 12402. Shiva will be observed on Wednesday till 8:00 p.m., Thursday from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m., Friday till noon, and Sunday from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. Home services will be conducted at 7:00 p.m.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Starts at 10:00am (Eastern time)

Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home

411 Albany Ave., Kingston, NY 12401

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