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In Memoriam: Joseph Levy Jr.

February 22, 2019
Joseph Levy Jr., a former auto dealer who later helped fund senior centers in Evanston, Chicago and Bolingbrook, died Feb. 15 at age 92.
Mr. Levy gained a passion for entrepreneurship while watching his great-grandfather run a horse-and-buggy business, and Mr. Levy followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father by pursuing a career in the automobile industry. After working at his father’s dealership for 13 years, he opened his own. Two years later, his Evanston-based Carol Buick was the world’s largest Buick dealership, increasing annual car sales from 300 to 5,000.
He attributed his success in part to always being available for customers and employees. "I was at the dealership every day from eight in the morning until 10 at night," Mr. Levy once said. "I wasn’t hidden in an office." Levy also credited his employees and the importance of kindness. One of his hiring strategies was to recruit people who were smarter than him and then to put his trust in them. "I hired people with no automobile experience, just people who were nice to individuals," he said.
Through his philanthropic efforts, Mr. Levy shared his own success and created opportunities for others.  His longtime support of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School included financial contributions. In recognition, Kellogg bestowed its Joseph Schaffner Award on him and named the Levy Atrium in the Donald P. Jacobs Center in honor of Mr. Levy and his wife of 66 years, Carole. 
Mr. Levy was equally passionate about helping seniors. "You get to a point where it’s ‘give-back’ time," he said. "I felt that seniors were neglected in the community and could be recognized with a place of their own."
Other survivors include daughters Jan, Beth and Nancy; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. 
 
 

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