2024-07-15 1:04 PM

Eileen Levy Celebration of Life Drew Fond Memories

A wonderful celebration of the life of the remarkable Eileen Levy, recounted in last week’s edition, was held at the Art Gallery of Falls Church Sunday night, hosted by the Falls Church News-Press.

There were so many people and wonderful things said, with the help of Tom Clinton as dispenser of the libations and the amazing Huck Browne and his friend who performed live 30s-era music the whole time, culminating with an extended version, in response to this editor’s special request, of “Stardust.”

On top of the many comments and kind words reported in last week’s edition, here are some written remarks emailed and hand crafted on the welcoming ledger at Sunday’s event:

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“I picked up my Falls Church News Press today and, sadly, learned of the passing of Eileen Levy, or as she was called when she was a teaching artist with Creative Cauldron…’Miss Eileen.’  Eileen was one of the first people to support my vision for Creative Cauldron in the early years and was a constant source of light and hope for me, as I navigated the twists and turns of launching a non-profit educational arts organization.

She was simply amazing as a teaching artist in our after school programs, taking some of the most unruly children in the room and always making them her “best helpers.” She charmed them into her fold, and simply would not let any of them fluster her or dampen her ever positive spirit. Something I still to this day try to emulate but fall short.

As a young girl she was a British War evacuee during World War II and the tales she told of that experience were riveting.  I think it was one of the reasons why she never let any darkness into her life….she had seen and experienced that in heaps, and simply did not want any more of it in her life.  She was one of the most positive people I have ever known.

After teaching in our after school programs, Eileen and I would frequently go out for a bite to eat and, of course, a “glass of chardonnay.”  She always asked for two ice cubes and a lemon and I never understood why.  When our wait staff came to the table I always knew that by the end of our time at the restaurant we would know their entire life story.

She would ask question after question about their current situation, where they came from, what their families were like…their aspirations (what service person doesn’t have a bigger dream?). She never worried that her interest would be too intrusive. She made them feel like royalty, and I have to say we always got exceptional service…something I try to remember every time I go to a restaurant, especially if the service is slow.  It’s usually never the servers fault, but they often become the target of patron’s ire.

In fact, Eileen made everyone feel like royalty. She was the first to compliment, the first to praise, and the absolute last at seeking praise herself. A rare spirit in a world of ego and self-centeredness, especially in the art world. And yes…she was quirky, eccentric….whatever adjective that you want to call someone who just refuses to be bound by the staid traditional norms that govern most of our lives. She was an artist pure and simple.

In zoom meetings you can see the paintings on the wall behind me that were the work of Eileen. They are boldly abstract floral images done with a palette knife…. A new style that she developed in her 70s after doing some much more traditional approaches to her art.  She was always thinking outside of the box…always experimenting. I will treasure them even more now with her passing.

For those that knew and worked with her (like Matt who has been with me on the Creative Cauldron Journey for 21 years) and for those that didn’t know her, I hope that sharing this memory of Eileen will be an inspiration and a blessing.  Our lives are sometimes touched by special beings, who are meant to teach us something about how to live them.  Eileen was one of them.”– Laura Hull, founder and creative director, Creative Cauldron, Falls Church.

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“Eileen’s imprint on the world and others will certainly be missed but never forgotten.  She was filled with pure magic. She could empower the powerless and made everyone feel like they had a place and purpose in the art world but more importantly in the world period! Whenever she greeted me she would be searching for an offering of something, Anything!…..a cracker, hard candy, a sticker…….she would eagerly want to somehow join together in fun and conversation with this wonderful, intriguing token of surprise.

This was an example of what a true giver she was in every situation. She was a creative genius filled with never ending vividly colored stories that made anyone who ever met her believe in the power of imagination and creativity.  Her magic.  Her imagination.  Her creativity created a beautiful world.   Thank you Eileen, Fly High.”—Matt Conner, Associate Creative Director, Creative Cauldron, Falls Church..

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“I worked with Eileen many times, and she is an essential part of our story. Her Oliver Twist British Accent Boot Camp should be its own musical.

My deepest condolences for all family and community impacted by her generous and creative spirit, and the literal hundreds of children who basked in her unconditional love and ‘best helper’ moniker.”– Ellen Selby, Creative Cauldron.

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“We are filled with such vibrant, colorful and happy memories of our time spent with her. Whether we were out on the town carousing until late, or just spending time chatting about life, she always brought such joy, laughter, creativity and spirit to everyone in the room. She was one-of-a-kind and I’m so happy to have had her as a dear friend. Queen Eileen will be missed beyond measure. ‘To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.’” – Simon VanSteyn

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“So happy that we flew together as part of my life.” – Shaun VanSteyn

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“An amazing woman. Always positive, very charming, and quite funny.” – Gina Caceci

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“Eileen has been the inspiration to both First Friday and the art studio in my shop.”–Tom Gittins

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“I will always remember Eileen’s bursting smile, colorful spirit and the love aura around her, and her abundance of positivity, emanated through gentle and firm life insights, was an important lasting gift.” –Debra Z. Roth

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“One of a kind, a vibrant and artistic personality. The Falls Church community will always owe its own personality to unique stars like her.” – Jonathan Harper

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“What a wonderful lady in so many ways. Oh, that smile and laugh, so much love to give to all.” –Lindy and Ed

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“I will always remember Eileen’s entrances, love of the arts, quick wit and grace.” – Gordon P.

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“A wonderful, kind woman.” – Stephen Spitz

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“What a girl. She was a force of nature.” – Coln, 4Ps.

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“She and I were simpatico from Day One. She ‘got me’ as a person and as a self-taught painter. A person of such natural depth. She is a change agent in all the best ways” – Dory Teipel

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