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Obituary: Dr. Gerald R. Levin '53

Gerald Richard "Jerry" Levin, retired professor of child psychology, died May 23 in Voorhees, N.J., following a stroke. He was 79 years old.

He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and spent his early years in New Rochelle, N.Y. His family moved to Manhattan when he was in middle school and he enrolled in the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He spent summers at Shale Hills, the family farm of nearly 300 acres in upstate New Jersey. Keenly interested in politics and folk songs, a highlight of his high school career was organizing a concert at Fieldston by the legendary folk singer, Pete Seeger.

He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Antioch College in 1953 and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 1958. Dr. Levin taught in the psychology department of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. for 27 years, from 1969 until his retirement in 1996.

Previously, Dr. Levin had taught at Brown University and Swarthmore College. He also spent a sabbatical year as a fellow at Cambridge University in England in 1983 and another as a visiting professor at Antioch College from 1989 to 1990. Though he specialized in early childhood intervention, Dr. Levin served as a consultant on educational issues for people of all ages, from preschoolers to retirees. His clients included the New York University-Bellevue Medical Center, the Department of Education of the State of Rhode Island, the Head Start program in Union County, Pa., the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, the Union County public schools, and the Elderhostel Institute at Gloucester Community College.

Dr. Levin received the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Award for Educational Innovation and Leadership in 1991. He was the author of numerous articles and two textbooks, “Child Psychology” and “A Self-Directing Guide to the Study of Child Psychology.”

Dr. Levin maintained a lifelong enthusiasm for gardening and amateur farming. Even as a psychology professor in Central Pennsylvania, he ran a 100-acre farm, cultivating fruit orchards, blueberry bushes, grape vines, and extensive vegetable gardens, along with dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, sheep, goats, and other animals. He utilized composting and organic gardening practices decades before they became widely known.

His marriage to Adrienne Messner ended in divorce. Following his retirement and remarriage to Tamar Friedman in 1996, he moved to Haddonfield, N.J., a Philadelphia suburb. In 2008 he and his wife moved to the Lion’s Gate retirement community in neighboring Voorhees, N.J., due to his declining health.

Survivors include his wife Tamar Levin of Voorhees, N.J.; two children from his first marriage, Kate Levin '82 of Ypsilanti, Mich. and Beth Mayer of Annapolis, Md.; two stepchildren, Gidon Friedman of Jerusalem, Israel and Ilana Friedman of Philadelphia, Pa.; and four grandsons.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Glen Helen Ecology Institute, 405 Corry Street, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.