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Local doctor 'loved by his patients'

May 6, 1927 -- Sept. 15, 2012

Dr. Eugene 'Gene' Levin practiced in Laguna for 41 years. He was 85.

September 21, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • Dr. Gene Levin.
Dr. Gene Levin. (Coastline Pilot )

Dr. Eugene "Gene" Levin practiced medicine in Laguna Beach for 41 years, right up to the day before he died.

He spent his last day, Sept. 15, alongside his wife of 60 years, Vivian, sipping wine and snacking on cheese and crackers in their garden. He was 85.

"When I go, I want to go like Gene Levin," said Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger, who announced the death of the highly regarded doctor at the Sept. 18 City Council meeting.

"He was a wonderful member of our community who was just loved by his patients and did great things for our community. He has been here forever and he will be missed very much," she added.

A memorial service will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at Tivoli Too on the Art-a-Fair grounds, 777 Laguna Canyon Road. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Laguna Beach Rotary Club Foundation.

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Levin was a familiar face in Laguna. He had lived with his family and practiced in Laguna since 1972. He was passionate about medicine and believed strongly that every patient deserved quality care, his family said.

Levin served as the South Coast Community Hospital, now known as Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, and was director of education in the 1970s. He also was on the Laguna Beach High School scholarship selection committee for students interested in pursuing a medical career, according to family records.

But his activities were not confined to medicine. He was a member of the Laguna Beach Rotary Club for more than 30 years.

A gregarious man with a sparkling smile, Levin enjoyed spending time at Victoria Beach, chatting with friends and neighbors, bodysurfing in his younger days, and watching the classic Victoria Beach two- and four-member team volleyball tournaments.

Levin also supported the arts, for which he had developed a love as a child listening to live performances of the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra.

In Laguna, he served on the boards of the Laguna Art Museum, the Laguna Playhouse and, most recently, the Laguna Dance Festival.

Levin was born May 6, 1927, in Philadelphia to Benjamin Levin and Mary Nechrich Levin, both immigrants to the United States.

She was a seamstress who worked to send her husband through pharmacy school, the closest he came to his dream of being a doctor.

Levin helped his father in the pharmacy, preparing prescriptions and jerking sodas — he was always proud of his chocolate sodas.

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