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Stanley T. Levinson, who worked in his family’s funeral business for more than seven decades, dies

Stanley T. Levinson helped the funeral home Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc. grow exponentially and was known for his people skills.
Stanley T. Levinson helped the funeral home Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc. grow exponentially and was known for his people skills. (Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc.)

Stanley T. Levinson, who worked for more than 70 years in his family’s Pikesville funeral business that was established by his paternal grandfather in 1892, died Monday in his sleep at his Roland Park home. He was 89.

“Stanley was an exceptional people person who could always connect with people,” said Gregory E. King of Pikesville, who has worked at Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc. as a funeral director for the past decade. “And in turn, they felt loved and comfortable. He always made them feel warm. He was a sensitive guy who could channel that sensitivity, and families appreciated that.”

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Stanley Theodore Levinson, the son of Emmanuel Levinson, a funeral director, and his wife, Goldie Levinson, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park.

Mr. Levinson was a 1947 graduate of Forest Park High School, where he had been an outstanding athlete and ice hockey player.

After graduating from high school, he immediately joined the business that had been established by paternal grandfather, Max Levinson, a Russian immigrant who founded a funeral transportation business in Baltimore that evolved into a funeral home that opened in 1892 on High Street. After the business was destroyed in the 1904 Baltimore fire, it was relocated to the 1100 block of E. Baltimore St., then to North Avenue, Reisterstown Road, and finally in 1996 to its present Pikesville location.

As a member of the third-generation family-owned business, Mr. Levinson joined his brother, Burton H. Levinson, and two cousins. His brother died in 2015.

During the 1940s, he served in the Coast Guard.

Starting with the 1960s and the several decades that followed, Mr. Levinson was credited with helping the business grow exponentially and was known for the compassion he readily extended to families in their time of need.

“When he was working with families, he could tell them everything about their families or at least something about them. He could tell them where they lived and worked and who he had cared for," said a daughter, Ellensue Levinson-Jeffers of Owings Mills, a Levinson funeral director. “He was a walking historian.”

“If I had to pick one thing about my Dad I would say he was a man of honor and Integrity,” Ms. Levinson-Jeffers said in a biographical profile of her father. “I saw this time and again over my 38 years working with him. His ethics were practiced professionally and personally.”

Said Mr. King: “He really was Sol Levinson’s historian. He had a fantastic memory and kept a meticulous journal.

“He brought respect to the funeral home and he was an excellent people person. He was at his best when he was out in front of the building greeting people. He was a great kibbitzer and enjoyed it when people enjoyed something he did. He was such a lighthearted person.”

Recalled his daughter: “He lit up a room when he walked in with that twinkle in his eye.”

Mr. Levinson retired last year.

His professional memberships included the Maryland State Board of Morticians.

Mr. Levinson was a respected pillar of both the Jewish community and surrounding ones, his daughter said.

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“He had friends from all walks of life,” Ms. Levinson-Jeffers said. “He was a real mensch.”

Mr. Levinson was active in community and charity work. He held leadership positions with the NW Unit of the American Cancer Society, the Jewish National Fund, the Maryland Division of the State of Israel Bonds and the Save-A-Heart Foundation.

He founded the Save-A-Heart Celebrity Golf Classic, which he headed for six years, and presided for another six years over Save-A-Heart Celebrity Shows, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for lifesaving cardiac care equipment for area hospitals and ambulances.

He was a member and past vice president of the brotherhood at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. Mr. Levinson also belonged to Yedz Grotto, where he had been the youngest monarch, and the Torah Lodge of the B’nai B’rith.

Mr. Levinson had owned vacation homes first in Ocean City, then Bethany Beach, Delaware, Aspen, Colorado, and finally, Key Biscayne, Florida, where he enjoyed boating and family time.

He was an inveterate golfer and skier and had been a member of the old Bonnie View Country Club in Mount Washington, and was a member of the Woodholme Country Club in Pikesville.

Mr. Levinson enjoyed fine dining and counted among his favorite restaurants The Prime Rib, Petit Louis Bistro and Linwoods. He also liked collecting sports memorabilia and travel.

“My dad was a sport, so generous, loving and devoted to his family,” said another daughter, Jamie Levinson-Finkelstein of Brooklyn, New York. “He had a lot of fun in his life, and made lasting and immeasurable contributions to his community. He will be missed but always in my heart.”

Funeral services for Mr. Levinson will be held at 2 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to his two daughters, Mr. Levinson is survived by his wife of 64 years, the former Celia Hyman, and three grandchildren.

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