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Jerry Levine

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Jerry Levine 1920 - 2011 WEST DOVER, VT Jerry Levine died peacefully at the Vermont Veterans' Home after a 15-year battle with dementia. Jerry was the third child born to Ida Mae and Abe Levine of the Bronx, N.Y., Dec. 7, 1920. After spending his early years in New York City, Jerry moved with his family at the start of the Great Depression to Miami Beach, Fla. As a student at Miami Beach High School, Jerry became an accomplished musician and excelled as a swimmer and diver. He attended both the University of Florida and the University of Miami on music scholarships. Music remained a lifelong passion. Jerry's formal education was, as many young men of his era, cut short by his country's involvement in World War II. On his birthday in 1942, Jerry enlisted in the Army Air Corps and volunteered for flight training as a pilot. Before beginning his formal Army training he met the love of his life, Gloria, whom he married in 1943. After graduating near the top of his class in the Army flight school training program, Jerry shipped out for his tour of duty serving in the China-Burma-India theatre of war. During his time overseas, Jerry distinguished himself as a member of the Flying Jackass Unit and completed numerous combat missions flying the famous C46 and C47 aircraft over the treacherous route through the Himalayan Mountains that became known as The Hump. In recognition of his heroic service and piloting skill Jerry was decorated several times with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. When the war ended, Jerry sought to support his young family by continuing his flying career as a pilot for the airlines. Disappointed by a restrictive policy that prevented men of the Jewish faith from being hired as commercial pilots, Jerry relocated his family from Florida to New York City where he began his career in the construction industry. For many years, Jerry worked for a major construction company as a project superintendent, eventually becoming a company vice-president. After leaving the company, Jerry began a career as an independent building contractor and real estate developer, working on projects in New York, Boston, Vermont, and Florida. He continued in this business after moving to West Dover in 1964, all the while pursuing his artistic passion as a professional musician along with his love of aviation. He earned his private and commercial licenses with multi-engine and instrument pilot ratings. For many years, Jerry flew his own plane for business and pleasure, traveling all over the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. In 1989, Jerry and Gloria opened the Hayloft Gallery in West Dover. Together they made a name for themselves as discerning and skilled business people and artisans. Evidence of their artistic talent is displayed in homes and businesses all over the country. Additionally, Jerry and Gloria were dedicated patrons of the arts, supporting and attending art shows, concerts, and theatre throughout the area. Jerry was an avid skier and outdoorsman. For more than three decades he was a well-known figure on the slopes and trails of Mt. Snow. Jerry loved Vermont. He and Gloria delighted in hiking the green hills and swimming in the clear lakes of Southern Vermont. Even after becoming ill, Jerry continued skiing at Mt. Snow and walking the trails and roads around his home. As a result of his combat experiences during the war and the personal discrimination he faced after the war, Jerry became an outspoken peace activist and proponent of nuclear disarmament and gun control. In keeping with his strong convictions, Jerry also contributed to the anti-Vietnam War effort, and also to the civil rights and voting rights movements in the early '60s. With his wife Gloria he proudly stood in solidarity with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C. during the National March for Freedom in August of 1963. Jerry was predeceased by Gloria, his loving and dedicated wife of 67 years, and by his sisters, Eleanor Shepard of Miami Beach, Fla., and Florence Creddedio of Highland Park, Ill. Survivors include his son and daughter-in-law, Bari and Linda Levine of Sandy, Utah, his son and daughter-in-law, Michael Levine and Nancy O'Hara of New York City and his son, David Levine of Bangkok, Thailand. Jerry's family wishes to acknowledge the wonderful people at the Vermont Veterans' Home who cared for him with unfailing dedication, respect and affection during the last nine years of his life. During these difficult years, they worked to ensure that Jerry's dignity was always maintained. They have our everlasting gratitude and respect. MEMORIAL NOTICE: In accordance with his wishes, following cremation Jerry's remains will be interred alongside those of Gloria in the West Dover Town Cemetery, which overlooks their home. Contributions in Jerry's memory may be made to: The Charitable Giving Program, Vermont Veterans' Home, 325 North Street, Bennington, VT 05201. To send the family personal email condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com. Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of COVEY & ALLEN FUNERAL HOME, Wilmington, VT.

Published in Bennington Banner from Aug. 22 to Aug. 23, 2011
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