Arnold S. Levy, real-estate developer and community planner dies

Obits Arnold image
Arnold Levy, right, with then-Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), on a JUF Mission to Washington, D.C. in May of 2005.

Arnold Levy, former Plan Commission Chairman for Glencoe, died on February 25, while spending the winter in Ft. Myers, Fla. A prominent real estate developer and philanthropist, he was a former staffer for Mayor Richard J. Daley's anti-poverty programs in the late 1960s. Levy was 72.

 A leader in Chicago's Jewish community as well, Levy served as the president of JUF's Young People's Division (today's Young Leadership Division). He was involved in the establishment of The ARK and served as its founding President. Levy also was involved with the Center of Jewish Studies at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin.

He was very involved with the Spertus Institute, serving as chair the board of directors in 1995 to 96, and as a trustee since 1989. Of his work with and for Spertus Institute, he wrote, "together we worked to strengthen and expand the organization's unique role in the Chicago Jewish community."

"I grew up on the same block as Arnold Levy," said Steven B. Nasatir, JUF/JF President. "We attended the same elementary and high school. Arnold was a leader who always cared, spoke out, and took action on behalf of those in his community in need."

Born in 1941 to Roy and Esther Levy (nee Scheff), Levy grew up in the Peterson Park neighborhood. He attended Von Steuben High School, then University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in political science. Upon his graduation in 1963, he taught that subject at DePaul and Loyola, and at Roosevelt University, where he received a master's degree in public administration.

Levy began his community-planning career in the late 1960s, as one of the original staff members of Chicago's Anti-Poverty Agency, under Mayor Richard J. Daley. Levy served on the Chicago Committee on Urban Opportunity, and worked with the Neighborhood Youth Corps, the Model Cities Program, and the Mayor's Office of Employment and Training. He then joined the Urban Investment and Development Company.

After an unsuccessful state-senate bid in 1974, Levy switched careers, becoming an international real estate developer. He became president of JMB/Urban Hotels, presiding over luxury properties worldwide, including Chicago's Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

Levy married Eva Cichosz in 1976, ultimately moving to Glencoe. From 1997-2005, he served on the village's planning commission, including as chairman.

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