Jerome Justin Levenberg was a lawyer since 1961, however for the people who knew him he was so much more ranging from father to friend, artist to handyman to a comedian who kept a file of jokes on his computer.
Known as the village attorney for Cedarhurst, he served in that position for 18 years. Levenberg died on Sept. 11. He was 83.
Born on Sept. 22, 1936, Levenberg lived in Brooklyn until he was 13 when his family moved to the Flushing section of Queens. He graduated from Jamaica High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Queens College in 1958. Three years later he graduated from Brooklyn Law School. While studying to be a lawyer, Levenberg married Joan Thailer in 1960. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 28.
“As a parent he was born to be a father and a husband, he really made me and my sister feel as he was our mentor, our best friend, said Stacey Abrahams, one of his two daughters. “He was just a rock, everyone loved him. His son-in-law loved him. He was a wonderful grandfather.”
From 1962 until his retirement in 2016, Levenberg practiced law as a sole practitioner, a senior associate at Hayt, Hayt & Landau LLP and then Cedarhurst village. His expertise was in civil litigation, matrimonial, municipal and zoning law and real estate.
“He served with distinction and vigor,” Cedarhurst Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said about Levenberg who he knew for years. Weinstock was the village prosecutor then a trustee becoming mayor after the 2015 death of Andrew Parise, who appointed Levenberg to be the village attorney. “I know how much he meant to his family. It’s shame when you lose someone like Jerry. He was an interesting person. He was handy, he puttered around the house and very artistic. Things most people didn’t know.”
Considered a Renaissance person by Abrahams, Levenberg originally wanted to attend The Cooper Union in Manhattan, as his daughter said he was quite the caricaturist. “He had a very strong interest in politics and history, he loved classical music, old movies,” Abrahams said. “He was a gardener, collected stamps, a lot of interests. He was the handiest person I knew. He could fix or build almost anything.”
Abrahams also said that Levenberg had a huge soft spot for people and “quietly did things” to help someone and he was the first person to do so. He also imparted to his daughters that civic duty was important. “He taught us when you live in place you have to give back and help the community,” Abrahams said, noting that her father ran for New York state Assembly when the family lived in Far Rockaway.
“In Far Rockaway, he opposed the building of an apartment building and he was very proud to be very, very involved in a place” she said. “Dad never wanted recognition or a pat on a back to do the right thing. He was a selfless person, a great dad.”
There have been only two contested Cedarhurst elections in 31 years and Levenberg was involved in one of them. In 1989, appointed Trustee Harry S. Taubenfeld defeated Levenberg for the balance of the unexpired term of Julius Schneider, who stepped down due to his health. Levenberg became village attorney nine years later. The other contested election occurred in 2016.
He is survived by his wife Joan, Stacey and her husband, Harvey; daughter Jackie Levenberg and grandchildren Lily and Matthew.
A funeral service was held on Sept. 13. Levenberg was buried at New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon.