Elwood S. "Woody" Levy, 95, a personal-injury trial lawyer who strove to improve the quality of justice in Philadelphia for more than half a century, died April 27 at home in Sarasota, Fla., of complications after a fall.
A founding member and past president of the city's Trial Lawyers Association, Mr. Levy was head of the Philadelphia Bar Association's judiciary committee and was on the panel that investigated unethical practices by lawyers in soliciting business.
Mr. Levy helped draft the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct in 1973.
"Uncle Woody was an early proponent of taking politics out of the courtroom," said Richard Seidel, who was inspired to become a lawyer by Mr. Levy. "He supported the selection of judges on merit, and was the author of a code of conduct for doctors and lawyers."
In an Inquirer story in 1971, John McConnell, former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar, said: "There is no member of the profession who is more universally respected for his integrity and ability than Elwood Levy."
A 1929 graduate of Upper Darby High School, Mr. Levy earned a bachelor's in 1933 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he rowed on the varsity crew team. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1936 before joining his uncle in his practice in Center City.
He married Gertrude Hooz in 1938. They lived in Wynnefield and raised two children.
Mr. Levy was enchanted by the ocean. He joined the Navy in 1942, and was an intelligence officer aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid and saw action in the Pacific, his family said.
After being discharged in 1947, Mr. Levy became a partner with Richter, Lord & Levy in Center City. He left that firm in the early 1970s and worked for several other law offices until gradually retiring in the mid-1980s.
Mr. Levy kept a sailboat moored on Penn's Landing until he retired and bought a 48-foot trawler on which he lived for 10 years. Separated from his wife, Mr. Levy sailed the Intracoastal Waterway and New England before buying a home in Sarasota in the late 1980s.
He divorced his first wife and married longtime companion Gloria Cohn in 2006.
"My father lived his dream," said son John. "He excelled in everything - he was an athlete, scholar, sailor, and lawyer who elevated his profession's standards."
Mr. Levy was honored in 2006 by the Philadelphia Bar as the only member with 70 years of service.
In addition to his wife, son and nephew, Mr. Levy is survived by a daughter, Betsy. His former wife also survives.
No services are planned.
Donations may be made to the University of Pennsylvania Department of Athletics, Lightweight Crew, Weightman Hall, 235 S. 33d St., Philadelphia 19104.