Virginia Levy (AKA Virginia Maynard) born May 27, 1911- died January, 6th 2010


Virginia Levy died at her home in Oakland CA, Wed night at 11:40 pm. Virginia was born in Eau Claire, WI, as Virginia Curtiss, daughter of Willis and Isabelle Curtiss. Isabelle was a school teacher, and Willis was an active Wobbly. She precedes siblings; Ruth, Jean and Bud, as well as her late husband Charles Levy. She is survived by her children; daughter Patricia Bava of Myrtle Beach, SC, her son John Meyer of Berkeley, adopted son Ahmed Alyousifi, of Oakland CA, extended family in WA State, NJ, NY, Riverside, and Oakland CA.


Virginia went to Adams Elementary and Junior High in Iowa, and Ottumwa High school, attended San Jose State, and obtained her PhD in English Literature and Drama at UC Berkeley. Her life achievements involved; Drama and literature director at KPFA station 1952-59. Between 1959 and 61 she interned at KQED in SF, WGBH in Boston, CBC in Toronto and with Mr. David Susskind in NY. Upon observing Jean Renoir and Robert Goldsby in Berkeley, she wrote an article about Renoir's direction for the Educational Theater Journal. She wrote, directed and co-produced dramatizations of American and English novels for which she received the following awards; Award of Merit, Thomas A. Edison, Award for outstanding children's programs (which won numerous scholarships including a Ford Grant) and the George F. Peabody for excellence in programming. She was commissioned from the Educational Television Radio Center to write and direct dramatic program on the subject of The American Woman in Fact and Fiction, and received a "citation for Distinguished Programming" from the NAEB. She also received grants to study and graduated from U.C.B Department of Dramatic Arts. Her work was broadcasted in stations in this area and throughout the country.


Virginia Levy was a humanitarian, decades before Spike Lee, and at a time when few, talented African Americans were recognized, as director Virginia Levy casted many such actors for principle roles at UC Berkeley and in her own Theater Companies with the sponsorship of CORE She took her children's theater production of Red Shoes staring Chris Brooks, into inner-city schools and had African American children bussed to the productions. Anyone wishing to make contributions on her memory; her favorites NGOS were Link TV, DRS' without Borders, KQED, and KPFA Radio station, which she and her husband Charles Levy helped found.


Virginia was a wonderful human being, her death is devastating to those who loved and cared for her, she remained sharp, and compassionate through the end. Virginia took me under her wings, became my mother and became the closest human being to my heart. Her presence in my life made a huge difference, her death to me is of profound loss, and I will miss her deeply. There will be a memorial at Speech Arts in SF sometime in the future. If interested to attend, please contact Anne Levy at (510) 534 8135.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 17, 2010 - See more at: