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Remembering David Yale Levine


Dr. David Levine died in the early hours of January 2, 2023, in Nyack, NY. A brilliant psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, linguist, and scholar, he was, above all, a deeply loving, caring, and generous husband, father, grandfather, and brother. An activist in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, David was a great humanitarian who believed to the very end in the in the goodness of human beings. In his work as a physician, he helped countless patients and improved their lives. Despite his love for medicine, his true passions were literature and semiology. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan with a BA in Literature (‘56), he received a masters degree in English from Harvard University, and his MD from NYU Medical School (‘61). He went on to complete his psychiatric residency at New York State Presbyterian Hospital/New York State Psychiatric Institute (’67) and his psychoanalytic training at Columbia in 1970. Additionally, he achieved certification from the American Academy of Psychoanalysis in 1983. He later became an Associate Professor at Columbia, teaching, among other things, Literature in Psychoanalysis. He was recognized by New York Magazine for many years running in their annual list of Best Doctors. Despite a debilitating fight with Parkinson’s Disease for over a decade, he remained dedicated to his profession and life mission, continuing to see patients until his death.

He was a great lover of music and a talented trumpet player, achieving the honored position of first trumpet in the world-renowned University of Michigan marching band. In 1981 and 1983, he and his wife — the celebrated theater composer, Lucy Simon — won Grammy Awards in the Best Recording for Children category for In Harmony and In Harmony 2. He was also an avid and gifted home chef who delighted family and friends with his beautifully elevated cooking–most notably his famous bouillabaisse–and loved nothing more than to take his family on trips around the world to celebrate food and life.

Born in Morristown, NJ, on November 3, 1934, he was the beloved son of Julius and Tobey Levine. He lost the love of his life, wife Lucy, on October 20, 2022, to breast cancer. He is survived by his family members: sister Robyn Galvin; sister-in-law Carly Simon; daughter Julie Simon, her children, Benjamin and Evie, and their father, Christopher Knight; and his son, Jamie Levine, his wife, Dr. Alanna Levine, and their children, Sophie and Charlie. He will be forever missed by his family as their beloved Poppy.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, January 8, at Riverside Memorial Chapel at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, tax deductible contributions can be made in honor of David and Lucy’s grandson Charlie, who completed a 3 year course of chemotherapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2019 at