Rita Levin, Wife of JFS Board President Stephen Levin, Dies at 72

Rita Stollman Levin, age 72 of Saint Paul, passed away on December 8, 2020. Rita was born in New Jersey to second generation immigrant parents, and was raised in a large extended Jewish family, many of whom still spoke Yiddish. She spent her teen and college years in California, experiencing the unique culture of the late 60’s at Berkeley and UCLA.

Rita’s early life ambition was to be a journalist so she completed a masters in Journalism from Stanford. She worked as a local beat reporter, magazine copy editor, and Associate Economics Editor at McGraw-Hill. She also ran a volunteer newspaper for the Sierra club and took night classes in the MBA program at NYU. Later she became Managing Editor of Crain’s New York Business, and finally she founded her own international magazine-publishing consulting business.

Rita met Steve in 1980, and within 4 months they were engaged. Later Rita and Steve adopted their beloved daughter Elena from Moldova, not far from where some of Rita’s family emigrated a hundred years before.

After suffering a stroke, Rita realized her career needed to change directions, and she studied to become a High School Social Studies teacher. In 2003, Rita, Steve, and Elena moved to Saint Paul, where she taught American History to at-risk students. For many of them she was the first teacher to actually give them a chance at success. Rita retired officially from teaching in 2018, at age 70.

Rita’s other passions included cooking, decorating her Victorian house, needlepoint, traveling, playing a wicked game of Scrabble, and travelling the world with Steve.

Rita is predeceased by her mother, Bessie Stollman, and her father, Max Stollman. She leaves her loving husband, Stephen; her daughter, Elena; her sister, Kay; her brother, Gary; and dozens of cousins, nephews, and nieces, all of whom will miss her laugh, her cooking, her hugs, and her loving smile.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, please send donations to either The Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, or the U.S. Holocaust Museum.