Irving Lev

Episode 16,   Jun 21, 2023, 03:00 PM

On October 12, 1922 Youngstown, Ohio welcomed its newest citizen,  Irving Lev.  Born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, he came of age during the Great Depression and went on to serve his country flying combat missions in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Two of those  missions were at Normandy on D Day.

After returning home from the war,  Irv attended the University of California at Berkeley, obtaining a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. It was while in California that Irv reconnected with Alice Raful, also from Youngstown, who was living in the San Francisco area. They courted through over 230 love letters which Irv still has!

They celebrated 71 years of marriage before her passing in 2016.

When the economy starting booming in the early 1950’s  Irv was asked by his father to join his home construction business.  Irv and Alice returned to Youngstown and Louis Lev & Son was established. Irv grew the business into a larger track housing development company building over 600 homes in the Youngstown area .

After retiring in 1987 at age 65, Irv headed a local resettlement agency for Russian Jews and some others who were finally permitted to emigrate from the Soviet Union. For those refugees Irv and his group found apartments, permanent homes, furniture and jobs giving them a new beginning the USA. He helped settle 500 Russian immigrants, many of them with skilled professions such as doctors, engineers and musicians.

An avid bridge player, golfer, and fisherman who occasionally busks on the street with his musician son Frank, Irv Lev is one on the last remaining  survivors of  “The Greatest Generation” and honored to say he's from Ohio!