By Andrea Botham
Liz Levine first laid eyes on her late husband Jay 48 years ago at the old Standard Club of Atlanta, located off Roxboro Road.
After 41 years of marriage, three children, eight grandchildren and countless hours of work in the community, that very spot remains special. And not just because it’s where she met her beau.
The Hospice Atlanta Center, which now sits on the grounds of the old Standard Club, has become special in her heart, too.
Levine has been a longtime supporter of Visiting Nurse/Hospice Atlanta and has played a key role in the fundraising activities of the center. The center is honoring Levine’s service Sept. 26 at its 22nd Annual Fall Ball Benefit.
A native of Brookhaven, Levine long has been involved in the community, with her support of The Temple, where she was married, to Westminster Schools, where her children and grandchildren were educated, to the Atlanta Symphony. She has been involved with Visiting Nurse/Hospice Atlanta for the past 14 years.
Levine was approached in 1995 to help co-chair the annual gala, and despite knowing little about the organization she agreed. Since then, she has since been an integral part of Hospice Atlanta, helping to raise the money from which the patient facility was built.
“I believe so strongly in everything Hospice Atlanta is doing, and do anything they asks. Anything,” said Levine. She recently resigned from the Hospice Atlanta Center Board after serving for many years and in 2008 went on to help found the Board of Advisors.
“She is always supportive, and she is always helping and volunteering. She has done a lot over the years, and has never been honored until this year,’ said fellow Board member Helen Carlos.
Hospice Atlanta Center, which offers both in-patient and at-home care, became of personal use to Levine when both her mother and husband spent their last days, at home, on the Hospice Atlanta program.
“My mother was having a very difficult time leaving us, and when the hospice nurse walked in the door I said to her, ‘The angels are here,’ and I knew I could take that burden from my mother and from me and give it to her, and my mother died shortly after that,:” Levine recalled. “I was tremendously indebted to them after that.”
The Levine family felt such understanding and compassion from the staff that it donated a room in her late husband’s memory, which is called Jay’s Study, a retreat for families so they can meet with doctors and have some time alone to reflect during such a difficult time.
It is, in part, due to her late husband that Levine has been able to lend her strong assets to so many organizations in Atlanta.
“We were so active in the community that we knew everybody, and I was in service to Hospice Atlanta in that regard. I was able to open doors and do fundraising and development. My husband called me the walking Rolodex,” she said with a laugh.
Yet despite the honor, Levine remains humble about her contributions to the organization. “The volunteers are the real heroes,” she said, of the 250 people who spend countless hours doing administrative duties, calling bereaved families and welcoming visitors to the Center, among many other roles.