Mark Sanford Levey, father, grandfather, philanthropist and money manager, lived a life full of generosity, leadership, sweetness and love. He died on Wednesday at 78 years old. Born and raised in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania as the son of Russian immigrants, Mark started to work at an early age to help his family. At 15, his father helped him get a driver's license so he could drive trucks in a garment factory. The first in his family to go to university, Mark paid his way through Wilkes College by working summers at Kutsher's Hotel in the Catskills, as a busboy and waiter. He never forgot the experience, saying later that those jobs showed him the value of hard work as well as giving him a window into a world of refinement. He used those skills to rise and expand his horizons outside of the small coal mining town of Wilkes Barre without ever losing his appreciation for the hard-working ethic of his beginning. After college, he moved to New York with $50 in his pocket and stayed on the couch of relatives in Manhattan while he looked for a job. Unsure which career to pursue, he saw a magazine cover that said, "Young Man, Be an Investment Banker" and decided to give that a shot. He began his career at Ira Haupt & Co., later moving to L.F. Rothschild's office in New York where his agile intelligence and natural way with people helped him rise quickly through the ranks. In 1967, Rothschild asked him to move to Chicago to help expand the firm's office there. At first he declined, not wanting to leave New York City where he had always wanted to live. Eventually, after three requests, he relented to a short term move to Chicago. He never looked back. The Windy City may have been a "cow town" back then, but it had one thing that New York didn't-a beautiful and brilliant young woman named Chase Collins. They had a whirlwind courtship and he asked her to marry him after only three months.They found a beautiful home in Chicago and had three children, Collin, Jake and Gwane. This family was the center of Mark's life, and the reason for his drive. When he joined Lotsoff Capital Management in 1990, he said he was always inclined to hire a person with young children because he knew no one would work harder than a parent trying to support a family. He taught his two daughters and son to work hard and to find pleasure in the little things. His greatest gift was as a husband and father. He effortlessly commanded respect and imitation. He guided but never directed. He taught but never told. He trusted his children to make their own decisions and supported their choices sincerely and without hesitation. He lived humbly, never trying to impress. Because he never sought to be the center of attention, he became the center of the universe. He was an avid reader and student of politics, publishing stories about politics and economics for The Wall Street Journal and Barron's. He also wrote extensively on monetary policy and the way the stability of money affects people's daily lives and drives the political system. He marveled at the good luck of his life and took his greatest pleasure not in his own accomplishments but in those of the people he loved. He told his children that Chase was the smart one in the family and glowed as a small Shakespeare theatre company she helped start grew and blossomed into the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre with their support. He thrilled at the rising careers of his three children and especially in their lives as parents, raising children of their own. He supported his own mother and sister after his father passed away. He was proud of his Jewish heritage and his connection to the intellectual excellence of that community. To his children, he had the qualities of Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulders but never seeming to mind the burden. He set an example to the honor of men with his integrity. Son of Leo and Ruth Levey. Brother to Cheryl and Joel Levey. Husband to Chase Collins Levey. Father to Collin, Jake and Gwane. Father-in-Law to Andrew, Lowell and AnnaLisa. Grandfather to Elliott, Hazel, Jack, Leo, Owen, Noa, Calvin and Mac. He was loved beyond words and always will be.
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