Passing of Leon Levy, Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of Psychology

From: Robert H. Deluty, Associate Dean of the Graduate School

It is with great sadness that I share the news that my dear friend and longtime colleague, Leon H. Levy, Chair of the Department of  Psychology at UMBC from 1978-1996, died this past Tuesday. Leon was an extraordinary scholar, teacher, mentor and visionary who was the principal figure in creating and launching UMBC’s highly successful Ph.D. program in Human Services Psychology.

Leon’s beloved wife, The Rev. Dr. Sandra M. (Sandi) Levy, wrote the following obituary, which includes information about the memorial service in Richmond, Virginia to be held on Saturday, September 4, as well as about charitable donations that may be made in Leon’s memory. Sandi’s e-mail address is

Dr. Leon H. Levy, 84, of Richmond died August 24, 2010.  He is survived by his wife, The Rev. Dr. Sandra M. Levy, and his three children–Paul Levy of Portland, Oregon, Judy Levy of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Claire Levy of Boulder, Colorado–as well as two step-sons, Brian Esterling of Durham, North Carolina, and Kevin Esterling of Riverside, California.

He was born in 1925 in Patterson, New Jersey, and served in the army during World War II, first seeing combat in Germany (2nd Battalion, 343rd Infantry Regiment, 86th Division) and later stationed in the Philippines before being honorably discharged from the military.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch College, Yellowsprings, Ohio, in l950, and in l954 was granted a Ph.D. in Psychology from Ohio State University.

Dr. Levy joined the faculty of Indiana University, Bloomington, and remained there for twenty-four years where from l969-1978 he served as the Director of Clinical Training in the graduate program.  Dr. Levy also served as Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County from l978 until he retired in l996, where he successfully launched a unique Ph.D. program in Human Services Psychology.  He was the author of two scholarly texts in personality  interpretation and theory, “Psychological Interpretation” and “Conceptions of Personality,” and was also the author of over 60 scientific publications in scholarly journals.  Dr. Levy also served on many national committees for the American Psychological Association, including most recently being a member of the Board of Directors’ Standing hearing panel of the Ethics Committee.

He was the recipient of numerous national Public Health Service grants, studying most recently the efficacy of self help groups as mental health resources and the effects of hospice care on bereavement outcome.  After moving to Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Levy served as an Affiliate Research Professor in the Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University.

He was a loving husband, father, and stepfather, as well as grandfather to five lovely girls.  He will be greatly missed by family members, as well as by students and colleagues who have admired and loved him.

A memorial service will be held at historic St. John’s Church, Richmond, on Saturday, September 4, at 11:30 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to St. John’s Church, 2401 E. Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23223, or to the charity, Bread for the World, P.O. Box 96416, Washington, D.C., 20090.


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