2024-07-22 4:55 PM

Editorial: Eileen Levy Laid to Rest

The time had finally come a year and a half after her moving on from this mortal plane for Eileen Levy’s remains to be laid at rest beside that of her second husband, Dr. Chancery Levy, in the columbarium at the Arlington National Cemetery this Monday. A surprisingly moving brief sermon by a Jewish rabbi clothed in military uniform formed the structure for the short but poignant ceremony attended by family and friends at the site of her final resting place in the massive, august cemetery. Daughter Janine Scollnick Benton spoke on behalf of her two brothers, nephew and special friends there undeterred by the blazing sun and 98 degree heat.

As a reminder to those who may not have known Eileen Levy well or at all, for that matter, here is a reprint of the opening paragraph of her obituary as it appeared in the February 2023 edition of the News-Press:

“Eileen Hecht Levy, 93, a native of London’s East End who as a child was shipped from home along with thousands of other children to reside in countryside foster homes to avoid the relentless of Nazi bombing of London, and subsequently brought a buoyant, irrepressible spirit and optimistic, upbeat cheer to wherever she found herself, including most recently over two decades as an art teacher and devoted friend of the Falls Church News-Press, died early Saturday morning after a lengthy illness. Levy was a frequent contributor to the News-Press, most recently providing children’s weekly Scalawag cartoons, and riding in many a News-Press entry in Falls Church Memorial Day parades and D.C. Pride parades, where she was an automatic magnetic hit with many hundreds along the parade route who rushed to her car side to greet and engage in her welcoming embraces.”

These two long, run-on sentences contain much of the essence and legacy of one of Falls Church’s more colorful residents. Ms. Levy had nothing but words of encouragement for anyone she met, especially for those whose lives were more likely filled with stress and personal struggles like her own. As a lasting tribute, Tom Gittins’ art studio complex on Annandale Road has named one of its galleries for Ms. Levy. Gittins was present at Monday’s event.

Some in this community did not fully appreciate her, focusing instead on what they perceived as flaws in her art. But perhaps they did not sufficiently grasp the way she worked to expand and enlarge the spirit of generosity and gratitude among all she encountered, which was her truest gift.

Eileen Levy will be remembered here as a special blessing to the people of Falls Church and the many young children among whom she shared her artistic skills and passion for giving in classes and tutoring sessions. She was the itinerant muse of so many of us here, and wherever she set foot. She was herself a survivor of the horrors of war that had nothing bad to say of anyone lest it be Hitler himself.

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