Jean Levin with grandchildren and great granddaughters on her 100th birthday in November 2015
Jean Levin was an only child, born in London on November 3, 1915. She was a qualified librarian and came on aliyah in 1985 together with her husband Percy, a furniture manufacturer in Hackney, London. Jean had met Percy at drama classes in Morley College, where he wrote sketches and plays while she acted. They were married in 1949, set up home in Hendon and had two children, Susan and Mark.
Jean lived a full life. She had many interests and activities – reading, crossword puzzles, bird- watching, archaeology classes at Tel Aviv University, knitting, tennis, internet, classical music, opera, Nordic Pole walking and travelling to visit family abroad.
For several years Jean was the chairperson of the ESRA Golden Friendship Club, where she introduced playreading and helped to stage several performances.
Jean took everything she did seriously; whether it was learning a language, cooking or archaeology, she did the best she could.
She never forgot a family birthday; in spite of being online she continued to send birthday cards by post with that traditional “many happy returns of the day” message on them.
Jean was always up-to-date on her children, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and great–granddaughters; their work, hobbies, likes and dislikes. She listened to them and knew what each of them was doing, keeping in touch by Skype and by daily e-mails.
She had many friends and was well loved. She was a “modern” woman in many ways, enabling her to get on with people of all ages. Her knowledge of so many subjects made her interesting to be with and her house was always open, not only to friends and family but to her grandchildren's friends too.
Jean knew how to live life in a modest way. Every evening she took time for herself as she and Percy had done until he passed away in 1994, relaxing with a glass of whisky in winter or a gin and tonic in summer, while reading one of the two books she was always reading; a serious one - perhaps archaeology - and the other a light novel to pass the time.
Until her stroke at the end of May 2016, Jean, already 100, was completely independent; she managed all her affairs on her own and continued with her busy social and cultural life. After that date she became completely dependent which she found very hard. However, her strong spirit and will to carry on encouraged her once more to do her best for the following seven months until she passed away on January 2, 2017.
We, her children, Susan and Mark, her daughter-in-law Silvia, her grandchildren Matias, Natalia, Gal, Assaf and Aviv, and her great grandchildren, Emma and Lola, learnt so much from her. She has left a precious legacy behind her, a positive influence on our lives. Her kindness, smiles and intelligence will never be forgotten.
She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.