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Dr. Henry "Hank" Levy

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Dr.  Henry "Hank" Levy Obituary
Levy, Dr. Henry "Hank" Former Coordinator of Music, Art and Media for the Waukegan Schools died September 30 in San Diego. He was 81. His wife, Derry Levy was a teacher at Cooke Magnet and Glenwood Schools. His four children, David, Sabrina, Sara and Ruth graduated from Waukegan East High School. After retirement, Hank and Derry retired to Palm Springs, California. Henry Levy was born 1932 in Kingston, NY to Dora and Alex Levy who had emigrated from Russia and Poland. Hank had a beautiful voice for which he received much recognition. He also loved sports and played on Kingston school teams. His music rehearsal and sports practice schedules always conflicted. He made the difficult decision between music and sports when he turned down a sports scholarship and went to a State University of New York college, Potsdam which excelled in music. In 1955 he received his bachelor's degree in music education with emphasis on voice. Hank served two years in the U.S. Army in Germany. He then taught music in U.S. public schools and the American Dependent Schools in Germany. He received his doctorate in music education in 1974 from Indiana University. In 1969, Dr. Levy was hired by the Waukegan Public Schools as Director of Music, a dream job for him. In those days of fewer budget constraints he could try new programs like guitar lessons for any student who wanted them and he furnished the middle schools with keyboards so students could take piano lessons. He started the Young Composers program which recognizes and rewards kids who create original musical compositions. He hired a teacher to organize an African American choir and a Suzuki violin teacher to set up classes for younger children. He particularly enjoyed creating a weekly radio program, "Now Music" broadcast locally featuring music education in different classrooms. When planning for the Cooke Magnet School began he pushed to make it the Fine Arts Magnet School uniquely emphasizing instruction in music, dance and visual arts. He started the popular madrigal feasts program. To honor Waukegan's native son, Jack Benny, he organized a concert at which Benny was the featured star. Hank started the Waukegan Symphony and was a strong supporter of the municipal band. Dr. Levy was immensely proud of the high quality of the teachers he was able to hire and coordinate which was reflected in the high level of ability in the all city band, orchestra, chorus and other programs. One of his favorite projects was ensuring every child could play an instrument even if they lacked money to buy or rent one. As an aspiring young violinist Hank had not been able to afford an instrument until an older brother bought the violin he played as 1st violin in his high school orchestra. Hank didn't want any young musician in Waukegan to have that problem. As school budgets tightened this was a constant challenge. Support from the enthusiastic Waukegan band and orchestra parents' groups was a big help. Dr. Levy is survived by his wife, Derry and four children, Odysseus of Pleasant Valley, CA, Sabrina Bazzo of San Diego, CA, Sara Levy Buehner, of Rancho Santa Fe, CA and Ruth Levy of Cardiff, CA. There are five grandchildren, Ulysses and Jaiya Levy, Mara and Eliana Bazzo and Zachary Buehner. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Mira Mesa School Instrumental Music Booster Fund for instruments and instrumental supplies for children. This local public school is part of the San Diego Unified Schools. Go to and click 'Henry Levy Fund' under the tab 'Giving to MMHSF'.
Published in the Lake County News Sun from Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, 2013
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