2:46 PM PDT, September 19, 2012
Eugene (‘Gene’) Benjamin Levin, MD, FACP
Last Friday Gene saw patients at his office on Park Avenue, as he has for the last 41 years. On Saturday afternoon, he had wine and cheese in the garden with Vivian, his wife of sixty years and collapsed shortly thereafter. He was 85 years old when he died.
Born in Philadelphia, PA on May 6, 1927 to his pharmacist father, Benjamin Levin and his seamstress mother, Mary Neckrich Levin. He was raised and educated in Philadelphia. Gene graduated from Overbrook High School at age 16 years old, graduated from Temple University at 18 years old and graduated from Temple University Medical School at age 22 years old.
Upon completing Temple University medical school, Gene moved to Los Angeles in 1949 where he was an intern at Cedars Sinai in Hollywood. He was a resident at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Long Beach California and in 1953 he went into the US Army and then transferred to Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. Gene returned to Los Angeles in 1954 where he lived with his wife Vivian and three children, David, Benjamin and Carol. Gene had a successful practice in Beverly Hills and in 1972 he moved his medical practice and family to Laguna Beach, California. He was a board certified internist and a member of the Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Gene was passionate and committed to his medical practice for over sixty years. He treated his patients with love, dignity and respect, regardless of their walk of life and their ability to pay. He believed everyone was entitled to quality care. He was the South Coast Community Hospital ‘s Director of Education in the late 1970s. Gene was a member of Laguna Beach Rotary Club for over 30 years and served on the Laguna Beach High School scholarship selection committee for students interested in pursuing a medical career. He was a beloved community member, respected by his colleagues and adored by his patients.
Gene was a star even back in high school, where he was captain of the chess team. As a kid, he grew up listening to live classical music by the Philadelphia Philharmonic and from then on had a lifelong love of all the arts, serving on the board of the Laguna Museum, the board of the Moulton Playhouse and most recently on the board of the Laguna Dance Festival. He was always a huge sports fan. One of his favorite stories was about growing up in Philadelphia, where he played street basketball and taught Wilt Chamberlin’s high school coach how to play basketball! While Wilt went on to play for the Lakers, Gene went on to be a lifelong Laker’s fan. He also loved the Dodgers and more recently the Angels. During the last 15 years, hockey became his passion, watching his grandson Gabe grow into an accomplished hockey player, who is currently playing for the University of Denver Pioneers. Gene also had some athletic talent and was an avid tennis player, winning many tournaments at Rancho Park Tennis Club in Los Angeles and continuing to play for many years in Laguna Beach. In later years, he loved nothing more than to spend hours watching his favorite sports teams on television, while flipping through stacks of medical journals.
Friends, family and patients loved Gene’s sparkling eyes, his million dollar smile and abundance of energy. We will all remember his infectious laugh.
He is survived by Vivian, his wife, best friend and soul mate, his children, David, Ben and Carol, son-in-law Daniel White and his three grandchildren Gabriel, August and Spencer.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Laguna Beach Rotary Club Foundation. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 29th at 11am to 2pm at Tivoli Too (Art-A-Fair site) at 777 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA.