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Published: Saturday, 2/12/2011

Alvin S. Levinson, 1919-2011: Man led Toledo's Jewish Federation

Alvin S. Levinson, a former executive director of what today is the United Jewish Council of Greater Toledo, died Feb. 3 in Darlington Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was 91.

The exact cause of death is unknown, according to his wife, Madeline, who said he suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had lived at Darlington 18 months.

Mr. Levinson arrived in northwest Ohio in 1969 to take the helm of his agency, which then was called the Jewish Welfare Federation of Toledo. He had 21 years of experience in social services, the last eight of which were spent in Gary, Ind., where he was director of the Northwest Indiana Jewish Welfare Federation.

Before that, he served eight years as director of the community information service of the Welfare Federation of Cleveland and was a case worker in Cleveland and Indianapolis.

The United Jewish Council supports Jewish charities at home and abroad. Mrs. Levinson said her husband was drawn to social work "because he wanted to go into a helping profession."

Mr. and Mrs. Levinson were married 64 years and lived in an art-filled home near the University of Toledo. They met at the University of Chicago, where he was studying for a master's degree in social work administration and she was an undergraduate.

Mr. Levinson retired from the Jewish Welfare Federation in 1984 but continued to be active in civic causes, his wife said.

He did a stint as interim director of Jewish Family Service and served as a trustee of Planned Parenthood of Toledo, the Northwest Ohio Historical Society, and the Toledo Board of Jewish Education. He also advised nonprofits on fund-raising.

His hobbies included music, woodworking, photography, and travel. His slide shows were well-received at talks he gave at libraries.

Mr. Levinson was born in Cleveland and was a graduate of Ohio State University, where he majored in social work. He was an Army veteran of World War II, serving as a sergeant in North Africa and Italy.

Surviving are his wife, Madeline; son, Daniel; daughter, Janet Levinson, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. March 13 in the Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim. Arrangements are by the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the Alvin S. and Madeline Levinson Philanthropic Fund at the United Jewish Council or a charity of the donor's choice.



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