Miriam Louise Levy, 84, of Philadelphia, a longtime Philadelphia School District employee who was active in the Democratic Party, died Sunday, Nov. 10, of cancer at Vitas Inpatient Hospice in Philadelphia.
Mrs. Levy, was born in 1934 in Clara, Md., the eldest of 10 children of Otto and Mary Conway. The family moved to Philadelphia, where she attended public schools and graduated from Germantown High School.
After high school, Mrs. Levy worked in retail sales and managed a dry-cleaning business. But one of her favorite jobs was working as a personal assistant to the singer Nancy Wilson, said Susan Levy Giles, a daughter.
Mrs. Levy met her husband, Bertram A. Levy, a Tuskegee Airman, on a blind date. The couple, married for 52 years, had two daughters.
She later went to work for the School District in data processing, where she remained for 25 years, her daughter said.
While working full-time, Mrs. Levy attended Community College of Philadelphia. She always supported her daughters in sports, singing, and theater, Levy Giles said.
“She was also a mom to all our friends, someone they could talk to,” she added.
Mrs. Levy wanted her daughters to know the importance of civic engagement. She demonstrated it by serving as a Democratic committeewoman in the 8th Ward, 22nd Division.
"She taught us at a young age to give back to the community and to be involved in local politics and government,” Levy Giles said. “I remember as a child, when she would go to vote, she would take my sister and me into the voting booth with her.”
City Councilwoman Cindy Bass praised Mrs. Levy for her role in launching Bass’ political career.
“She was a mentor to me and many other young women and young men throughout Philadelphia,” Bass said. “It was nothing for Miriam to pull you to the side to give you advice, encourage you, or to straighten you out.”
However, Bass said, “everything she did was with love and with the belief that she had done so much in the community, and we needed our next generation to continue on … Thanks to Miriam Levy, there is a legacy and leadership of women like her who have done so much to ensure that our communities are strong and can only get better.”
Levy Giles said her mother enjoyed music and dancing. In their younger years, she said, her parents took part in Philadelphia society galas and dances.
But most of all, Mrs. Levy loved her family, especially her grandchildren. She collected frogs — stuffed animals, ceramic or made of other materials. She believed frogs represented good luck and abundance, and were an inspiration to continue moving forward, even when faced with challenges.
She and her grandchildren shared a special meaning for frog — “Fully Rely on God.”
As a child, Mrs. Levy was reared in the Catholic Church and primarily attended her father’s church, St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Mount Airy. She also worshiped with her mother at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Germantown. When she married, she and her husband joined the Unitarian Society of Germantown. In 2010, Mrs. Levy joined Oxford Presbyterian Church, where she was active with Bible study, the annual crab fest, church fund-raisers, and other events.
In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Levy is survived by another daughter, Stacia; five grandchildren, four brothers, and one sister.
Services were Saturday, Nov. 23.