Jack Levin, 105, died peacefully Oct. 7, 2014, surrounded by family and friends.
He was born at the family home on West Street in Greenport Jan. 16, 1909, to Martha and Harry Levin (of Levin’s Men’s Shop) and came of age in the aftermath of World War I. During the Great Depression he worked as a paperboy, potato digger and on an oyster boat to help support his family. He graduated from Greenport High School in 1927, and this past summer, was the oldest living graduate at the high school reunion.
In 1933, Jack hitchhiked to Florida, where he supported himself by driving a bakery truck early in the mornings. So began his long tradition spending winters in Florida where he played golf with his brothers, Irv and Arthur and friends.
In the mid ’30s, Jack was chosen Supervisor Horton to operate the new beach concession stand for Southold Town. Jack’s Shack was born.
Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and after training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, he sailed to England on the Queen Mary and from there went to North Africa with the Eighth Army. As a master sergeant, he crossed to Sicily and marched up Italy to Florence and Rome as the war was ending. He was a member of the small U.S. soldier delegation personally welcomed into Rome by the Pope at the Vatican.
Upon returning home from his military service, Jack was given the lease again to operate the “Shack” and began building Terrace Cottage Colony and other businesses. He was a man of energy and foresight, who found himself with the right ideas in the right place at the right time. Sound Shore Motel (now Sound View Inn) opened in 1953 with 13 units. It expanded over the years and in the late ’60s,, Jack bought Soundview Restaurant, adding the well-loved piano bar and the Gold Room to the original structure.
He met his future wife, Donna Downing on a blind date while she was teaching kindergarten in Greeport. Married in 1953, they became parents to four children who worked together to build the businesses.
Jack bought farm fields across the street from Sound Shore Motel in the late ’60s with the hope of turning it into a golf course. The dream was never realized, but part of that land has become Arshamomaque Preserve, saving a piece of the North Fork for everyone to enjoy. Jack and a group of other local men later founded Island’s End Golf Course in 1965 and he took delight and pride in being made an honorary member, still playing golf at 100.
Jack was a civic-minded man. He was a long-time member of Tifereth Israel Synagogue, where the Levin family created a memorial park honoring his son Andrew. He supported many causes and assisted many individuals and employees who were in need of help. Jack was a modest man who knew what it was like to struggle. He was resilient, always looking towards tomorrow; an enthusiastic American dreamer who wasn’t afraid of doing hard work to achieve his goals. Jack remained involved in his businesses well into his 90s. When asked about the secret to his long life, he would reply “hard work and loving life.” Jack was proud of his four children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Predeceased by his beloved son, Andrew in 1998 and his wife Donna in 2001, Jack is survived by his daughters, Jody Levin, Ellen Wiederlight and her husband, Marc, Rachel Murphy and her husband, Michael; his granddaughter, Martha Hansen and her husband, Johne and their three children, Bryce, Drew “Doobee” and Trey; grandson, J. A. Wiederlight; grandson Daniel Murphy; granddaughter Halle Murphy; and his brother, Arthur. He will be greatly missed as a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, businessman, and someone who helped make our beautiful North Fork an inviting place to live.
Arrangements were handled by DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Homes.
This is a paid notice.