Soundview founder Jack Levin dies at 105

Soundview owner Jack Levin in August 2013. (Credit: jen Nuzzo)
Soundview owner Jack Levin in August 2013. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Jack Levin, self-made businessman and founder of Greenport’s iconic Soundview Restaurant and Inn, died Tuesday, family members said.

He was 105 years old.

Mr. Levin, who was thought to be Greenport’s oldest living resident, took over a tiny concession stand erected beside the Long Island Sound in 1935, naming it Jack’s Shack.

The popularity of the beach burger and ice cream stand led to several business expansions over the decades: the Sound Shore Motel — now known as the Soundview Inn — in 1953 with his wife, Donna. Soon after he purchased the nearby Soundview Restaurant in 1968.

His daughters, Rachel and Ellen, now run the businesses, carrying on the family tradition.

In a recent interview, Mr. Levin said he has many fond memories of Greenport, especially of going dancing downtown and hosting notable customers like Charlie Chaplin, whose luggage he carried from the train station to the North Road hotel.

“He was very nice and tipped me 25 cents,” he said in the August 2013 interview. “I’ve made a lot of good friends in Greenport.”

Mr. Levin’s oldest daughter, Jody, said her father “was on the cusp of the blossoming of the North Fork. He helped to create it. He has lived for himself and his extended family, but also for his community.”

He also had a son, Andrew, who is deceased.

Tom Scalia, president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce, called Soundview “a North Fork icon.”

“It has been there forever and hasn’t changed much over the years,” he said.

Mr. Levin has been recognized for his community outreach efforts multiple times over the years, most recently in 2013 by the North Fork Chamber of Commerce.

“He was one of the recipients of the community service award, for his accomplishments and his dedication to the North Fork community,” Mr. Scalia said.

In 2011 he was recognized by Suffolk County and Southold Town officials for his contribution toward the purchase and preservation of the Arshamomaque Pond Preserve, which offers 1.3 miles of nature trails, allowing residents to catch sights of native flora, wildlife, and osprey.

As one of the North Fork’s eldest residents, Mr. Levin was known as a “legend” on the golf course, having played right on through to the ripe age of 102, when he played his last nine holes. He often played with his brother, Art.

“He was one of the nicest men I ever met. Everybody seems to know him and he’s really built something out of himself,” said Bill Fish, the golf pro at Island’s End Golf and Country Club. “We have a bit of a group of guys that are playing well into their 90s out here, but into their 100s, it is very rare.”

Proving his love of the game, Mr. Levin helped to establish the Greenport course.

“He was a primary stock holder and contributed to the birth of this place,” Mr. Fish said, noting that pictures of a young Mr. Levin still exist in buildings around the grounds.

The American flag is flying at half-staff there to honor the late golf-lover.

Funeral arrangement information will be announced as soon as it becomes available.

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