LEVINE, Dr. Melvin David, MD Age 71, a world renowned pediatrician described children's learning differences. Dr. Melvin David Levine, an internationally renowned pediatrician, died Thursday February 17 in Rougemont, North Carolina. Melvin (Mel) was born in New York City in 1940. Mel developed a groundbreaking approach for school-aged children with learning differences which has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids, families, educators and clinicians. In 2005 he was named by Scholastic Press as the Most Admired Person in Education. Mel graduated summa cum laude from Brown University as class valedictorian and from there went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He later graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his pediatric training at The Children's Hospital in Boston. Mel also served in the US Air Force and received the Meritorious Service Award for his work with children and teens. For fourteen years Mel served as Chief of the Division of Ambulatory Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital in Boston, at which time he was also Associate Professor of Pediatrics at The Harvard Medical School. While at The Children's Hospital, Mel developed a General and Developmental Pediatrics Fellowship in which he trained hundreds of post-residency pediatricians. While in Boston, Mel married Barbara Ann (Bambi) Mitchell. Bambi was an invaluable supporter and assistant in his many endeavors, often tempering Mel's unyielding intellectual curiosity with a dose of pragmatism. Their 42 year partnership is testimony to their commitment to help others, and to their love for one another. In 1985 Mel joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he became the Thomas E. Castelloe M.D. distinguished professor in developmental behavior pediatrics. He founded the Center for Development and Learning and served as its Director until his retirement in 2007. While in North Carolina, Mel and Charles Schwab founded All Kinds of Minds, a non-profit institute which translated Mel's approach into training programs, assessment models, practical tools and ongoing research. Mel evaluated thousands of children, trained scores of clinicians, and addressed audiences of hundreds of thousands of parents and educators around the globe. His speaking engagements were marked by his boundless creativity, insight and compassion, and he always left his patients and their parents with a sense of optimism. Mel channeled his youthful dream of becoming a stand-up comedian into these engagements, becoming an eloquent speaker whose descriptions of children - infused with humor and humanity, made him very popular worldwide. Mel authored the New York Times #1 bestselling book, A Mind at a Time, for parents and the general public. He also wrote and published many additional bestsellers for a variety of audiences including children and teenagers, teachers and parents, and physicians and clinicians. In addition, Mel contributed nearly 200 papers to the scientific literature. Mel developed a deep love of animals at a young age, warning his mother that when he was older he would have as many animals as he wanted. This lifelong love for animals, coupled with an incredible rescue fantasy, led to his rescuing and raising more than 30 varieties of domestic and wild geese, 18 mammoth donkeys, 10 swans, 40 pheasants, 9 peacocks, 3 emus, 5 dogs and 8 Maine Coon cats on Sanctuary Farm. He enjoyed giving tours of Sanctuary Farm to attendees of his conferences. His love for fine food and wine, in addition to decorative sashes, led 20 years ago to his founding of and leadership as Bailli and "Head Poo-Bah" of the Triangle Balliage de North Carolina, a local chapter of the Confrerie, de la Chaine des Rotisseurs. During the 20 years he and his Aide-de-camp, Bambi, coordinated extraordinary dining experiences for members in expected, and sometimes unexpected, places. Chaine is a global organization composed of chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and foodies founded in France in 1248. Mel is survived by his wife and a brother, Leonard, as well as many extended family members and hundreds of feathered and furry friends. A funeral and services will be held at 1pm on Wed. February 23rd at Levine Chapel in Brookline, MA. A memorial service in the Triangle area will be scheduled in the coming weeks, with details forthcoming at www.amindatatime.com
. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Mel's honor be made to Success In Mind of Durham, NC and / or Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck, NC.
Published by Boston Globe from Feb. 22 to Feb. 23, 2011.