“When I Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple.” Not only did she wear purple as an old woman, she wore it as a badge of honor her entire life!
Gloria Levine, born 4-14-28 and coming of age in the heyday of the Coney Island Boardwalk scene, passed away on Thursday, January 7th, 2016, at the ripe old age of 87 years. She died peacefully and on her own terms, the same way she lived her life. Gloria grew up in a matriarchal household. Her Great-Grandma, Mom, and Aunt Sadie were all single moms, and Gloria was raised in and by, a houseful of women. Always inquisitive and empathic, her early compassion for the so-called “performers” in the Boardwalk sideshows, where her grandfather ran a hot dog stand, lit in her the fire and compassion to help the downtrodden and the exploited. Her volunteer work, during WWII at Kings Highway Hospital, and her service in the Cadet Corp. during 1946, set the stage for her life long career as a nurse. In 1948, she graduated as a Registered Nurse from Brooklyn Jewish Hospital.
On Sept. 27th, 1947, she married her soul mate, Jack Levine. Marriage was not allowed while residing in the nursing dorms, but then again, love always ruled Gloria’s heart and rules were made to be broken. Her nursing career was long, varied and highly distinguished. Having returned to college following the tragic death of her husband Jack in 1972, she earned her Masters Degree in Public Health Care Administration, and ultimately became a Director of Nurses at a Long Island Nursing Home. She remained in that position for many years, until her retirement, where she met and amassed the highly devoted nurses friend’s group. Her firebrand directing, combined with her experience and compassion, were her trademarks. She was “feared”, “adored”, “a saint”, “the best mentor and friend I could ever have”, “one of the most amazing women I have ever met”. Gloria would say, “once a nurse, always a nurse”.
By far, the loves of her life were her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She poured her heart and soul into raising her kids, and then into spoiling like mad her grands and great-grands. They loved and adored her. Her children’s lives were filled with love, adventure, and always a hint of craziness. Open door policy to friends, along with pets ranging from a monkey, a free-range box turtle to dogs, an iguana, bunnies, birds, and anything else Jack or the kids could sneak in, were a way of life; a great way of life. She was so clearly the matriarch of our family; our rock, our glue, our foundation, our inspiration. Some of her proudest legacies are all the knitted blankets and clothes always sewn with the Hand Knitted With Love By Mom, Gram, etc. tags, and the entire collections, full sets of books left to each and every family. By far, her favorite author was Dr. Seuss. Indeed her last phone message was the quote “Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one alive who is youer than you”. YOU is who she always wanted you to be.
Some quotes from her family summarize it all. “Today we lost one of the strongest women I have ever met. She lost 2 children, 2 husbands, and somehow still danced her way through life.” Oh yes, forgot to mention that Gloria LOVED to dance! “My Gram was truly the strongest, most caring, unconditionally loving, beautiful woman on the planet.” We always said 2 things to each other, we are bonded and I love you I love you I love, I miss you I miss you I miss you. Both of those are true forever.” “I am a nurse because of her; my love, my inspiration, my hero, my Gram”. “I can’t even believe this Angel was just taken away from me. This amazing strong Jewish woman who was always dressed in purple. You were one of my main supporters and I don’t even know how I’m going to deal with not being able to talk to you every few days”. The most selfless woman in the world, always worried about everyone but herself”. “I have been fortunate to have my mother-in-law, my MOM, in my life for 45 years. I was so lucky to have her counsel, her wisdom, her friendship, and her love for all these years”.
Gloria, our ultimate Jewish Mom and grandma, we are beyond heartbroken; nobody could ever fill your many shoes. But you left this earth with such a loving devoted family legacy…all you ever really wanted. RIP Mom, Gram, Grammy, Nana, Friend, Co-Conspirator and love of our lives!
Gloria was predeceased by her soul mate and father of her 4 children, Jack Levine, who literally kissed the floors she walked on; her 2nd husband, Har-Har Harvey Jurist, also known as Poppa; her daughter Sharon Fogel; and her son, Marty Levine. To carry on her light are her children Steve (Butch) Levine and wife Gunilla Bjork; Marna Levine and husband Stan Pritzker, much more a son than a son-in-law; same for Jeff Fogel who was married to Sharon. Her grandchildren Jenn Fogel-Bublick, husband Larry and great grands Sierra and Ailey; Josh Fogel and wife Jaime, John Levine-Pritzker, wife Amber and great grands Kamryn, Charleigh, Evelyn and John Stanley; Roxanne Levine-Prizker and great grands Jay and Halie; Cori(Levine) Benson and husband Ryan; and granddaughters Jaklin Levine-Pritzker and Corrina Skye Levine. She is also survived by her beloved cat Gracie, once owned by Marty and now by Rox.
A special shout out to the following: Stan Pritzker who spent huge amounts of time helping Gloria and who would, and indeed did, anything she wanted while abiding by her ongoing commentary. She also loved his home cooked meals which he would deliver to her, covered of course in extra gravy, butter and salt!; her cousins Marsha, Soph, Michelle, Janine and Gilda who so dutifully maintained contact with her for current updates on all family members and as a constant bridge to her past; Director Max and the entire Hudson Falls/Ft. Edward Senior Center who over the last 10 years became her friends and, indeed, her second family. Also, thanks to The Association for the Blind in Glens Falls, particularly Liz Shriner. The entire Levine clan thanks you all from the bottom of our hearts.
As per Gloria’s wishes, there will be no funeral services nor will we be sitting Shiva at this time. Later this spring or summer there will be a memorial service at Marna and Stan’s house in Hartford, NY. Then, while wearing purple, drinking apricot sours, and dancing like mad, we will spread some of her ashes. The rest will be spread on Jack’s grave where he, Harvey, Sharon and Marty await.
In Gloria’s memory, wear something purple, make sure to call your Mom, Gram or Nana to tell them you love them, perform a random act of kindness by helping an elderly person carry groceries or whatever, and by all means, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE!
Arrangements are under the direction of the Carleton Funeral Home, Inc., 68 Main Street in Hudson Falls.