By Perry Schaible
MIDDLETOWN - The region lost a prominent activist and philanthropist Thursday when attorney and former state Sen. Barry Levey died at Middletown Regional Hospital.He was 73
"He was one of the finest, most honorable people I know," said state Sen. Scott Nein, R-Middletown, who called Mr. Levey his mentor. "We're just all so fortunate to have known him."
Although he had retired from politics and reduced his workload, Mr. Levey continued to be one of Middletown's biggest boosters.
The Middletown High School graduate went on to serve the community in countless ways.
Most recently, he was organizer of a group of businessmen who donated at least $45,000 to the city to make sure the two municipal pools would operate this summer after City Council cut them from the budget in December.
"Sunset Park was my whole existence growing up. That was my first job, at 10 cents an hour.
"It didn't seem right to deprive kids today for the summer. That park is very dear to me," Mr. Levey said last month.
For the past three years, Mr. Levey was part of the group that gave money for the city's Fourth of July fireworks.
Mr. Levey was appointed to a nine-year term on the Miami University Board of Trustees in 1977. Levey Hall on Miami's Middletown campus was dedicated in his honor. He had an honorary doctorate of law from Miami.
He was also managing partner of Middletown's Manchester Inn.
He served four consecutive terms in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1962 to 1970 and was appointed in 1987 to fill a vacancy in the Ohio Senate's Fourth District. In 1989, he won election to the office and served two consecutive four-year terms.
Mr. Levey was the only member of the Ohio Legislature to chair both the House and Senate Judiciary committees.
"Barry was an outstanding community leader. He made many contributions to Middletown in just so many ways," resident and activist Knight Goodman said.
Survivors include his wife, Marilee; son Michael of Columbus; stepson John King of Monroe; daughters Pamela McGuire of Walpole, N.H., and Lory Bellino of Columbia, S.C.; and three grandchildren.
A service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Temple Beth Sholom, 610 Gladys St., Middletown, followed by interment at Woodside Cemetery.
The family will receive visitors at the Levey home following the service.
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