By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun
9:52 PM EDT, May 6, 2012
William B. Levin, a longtime member of the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company and senior claims adjuster at the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, died Friday in hospice care at the Gilchrest Center of kidney cancer.
He was 65 and had battled cancer for several years.
Members of the Pikesville company held a birthday party for him April 25 in the chapel at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. They awarded him a life membership, recognizing his 24 years of service with the volunteer company.
The only child of Sarah and Benjamin Levin, he was born in Philadelphia. He moved to Baltimore and graduated from Forest Park High School in 1965.
Mr. Levin went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore in 1970.
He met Norma Lurie at a fraternity event, and immediately "there was a definite attraction," she recalled. They were married after he graduated.
He worked for her family's Baltimore-based company, Capital Produce, a supplier of wholesale fruits and vegetables to Maryland outlets.
The couple moved in 1978 to Savannah, Ga., where he worked for Aon Insurance, first in sales, then in management roles. The couple relocated to Atlanta in 1983, then returned to Baltimore to be closer to family in 1988, moving to Pikesville. He was a senior claims adjudicator when he retired from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in early February.
A volunteer at a Baltimore fire station and then one in Savannah, he immediately joined the Pikesville company when the couple settled in Baltimore.
"Bill had two loves in his life: his wife and the fire department," said Richard Berkowitz, president of the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.
He had a reputation at the Pikesville company for responding to every fire call he could, thousands over the years. Volunteers said he answered calls so regularly that they knew he was out of town if he didn't respond.
"I'd hear him, as soon as the pager went off — he'd say, 'Got a fire.' He was always ready to go," Norma Levin said.
She said he enjoyed the camaraderie of the volunteer company as well as helping others. "There is something in you when you rescue someone — you just feel that you have done so much to help," his wife said.
Well known in the community, Mr. Levin represented the volunteer company on the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce. He served as vice president of the fire company and was on its board of directors for about 15 years. He was active in its fundraising and outreach efforts, especially in bringing fire trucks to schools.
Allen Roody, the company's secretary, said he was an unusual new member of the company 24 years ago because he was in his 40s when he came in as a probationary member. But he immediately became an integral part of the organization.
"There is no mayor of Pikesville, but if there was one, he could have run for it," Roody said.
His routine at the fire station was well known. "Every Friday night was his duty night. He would come in and start cleaning equipment. He took the initiative," Roody said.
Mr. Levin was a longtime member of Temple Oheb Shalom.
He also had served as a vice president of the Save-a-Heart Foundation, which raised money for cardiac care equipment.
A funeral service was held Sunday at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years.
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