Merle Sue Levine

by | Apr 5, 2013 | Obituaries

Norfolk—Merle Sue Levine died peacefully at her home in Norfolk on Thursday, March 28, 2013 with her husband, Leonard, and her beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniels by her side.

Born in Portsmouth on Oct. 8, 1939, she was the daughter of the late Irma and Sol Kaplan.

After attending the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and serving an internship at Norfolk General Hospital, Merle was designated as a Registered Medical Technologist by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Receiving an N.I.H. grant, Merle worked in the Pathology Department at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in conjunction with the Technicon Company, where she was instrumental in the design and construction of the first auto analyzer of human fluids.

Upon her return to Norfolk, she worked at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and later in the Special Chemistry Department at DePaul Hospital.

Leaving the medical profession while raising and educating her two sons, Steven and Mark, Merle became the regional president of Hadassah. She then returned to school, receiving her Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Clinical Counseling from Old Dominion University in 1995 and 1998, respectively. After receiving her Master’s degree, Merle worked as a case manager in the Personal Affairs Department of Jewish Family Service for five years and upon her retirement remained active as a master docent at the Chrysler Museum, as a board member of the Hermitage Foundation, and as a docent at the Norfolk Zoo.

Merle was a very observant and participating member of both Temple Israel and Ohef Sholom Temple, in Norfolk.

Merle’s intellectual curiosity was never satiated and her quest for knowledge ended only with her death.

Merle is survived by her husband of 53 years, Leonard D. Levine, of Norfolk, her two sons, Steven and Mark, her sisters, Pamela Sigmond and husband Bill, of Elizabeth City, Jeri Ann Furman and husband Stanley, of Virginia Beach, her brothers, Drew Kaplan, of Dallas, Texas, and Jeff Kaplan and his wife Meryl, of Cleveland, Ohio, and her brothers-in-law Robert Levine and wife Ina, of Tucson, Ariz., and Paul Levine and wife Margaret, of Norfolk, as well as numerous other family members and dear friends.

Merle loved her God, her family, her friends, her work, all animals and art glass, and had the unique ability to balance her life so as not to neglect any of her loves.

Graveside funeral services were conducted by Rabbi Michael Panitz at Forest Lawn Cemetery. H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts.

Memorial donations may be made to Hadassah, or to Temple Israel. Online condolences may be sent to the family at