Levinger—Joseph Soloman Levinger, 96, of Slingerlands, N.Y., on October 25, 2018. Joe was born on November 14, 1921, in New York City, to Elma and Lee Levinger. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s and master’s in physics from University of Chicago. While at University of Chicago, he began his lifelong involvement with Quakers. He met Gloria Edwards, and they married in 1943. During World War II, he was a junior physicist at the Metallurgical Laboratory at University of Chicago. He earned a doctorate in physics from Cornell University and subsequently served as a visiting professor there. Then he taught for ten years at Louisiana State University, with a sabbatical in 1957 at University of Birmingham, UK; and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1964 to 1992, traveling to the Soviet Union for a physics conference in 1967 and taking a sabbatical in 1972 at the Orsay branch of University of Paris.
He began attending Albany (N.Y.) Meeting regularly in 1968 and became a convinced Friend in 1987. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was a member of Albany Meeting’s Ministry and Council Committee, and he was clerk of the meeting for several years. He belonged to the meeting’s worship sharing group in support of lesbian and gay concerns while the meeting moved toward the recognition of same-sex marriage; served on the Peace Committee for New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM); and was clerk of NYYM’s Disability Concerns Committee in the late 1980s and early 1990s, focusing on helping to make meetinghouses, including the Albany Meetinghouse, more accessible to those with disabilities, including hearing impairment and blindness.
He traveled again to the Soviet Union for a conference in 1988 and to the former Soviet Union for conferences in 1992 and 1994. He also visited Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, including trips to Guatemala in 1993, 1994, and 1996 as a delegate for Peace Brigades International.
Although his career was never far from his mind, he took great pride in watching his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren make their way in the world. Quiet and reserved, he was often asked by his first wife, Gloria, “What are you thinking, Old Sage?” to which he would stir from his reverie, quietly chuckling. Taking the loss of Gloria very hard after their 37-year marriage when he was 66, he nevertheless found love once again, marrying Hedi McKinley at the age of 76. During their 20-year marriage, they traveled the world together, from Kenya to Austria to Australia, each inspiring the other to push the boundaries of what those in their mid-90s were “supposed” to be doing.
Joe was preceded in death by his beloved first wife, Gloria Edwards Levinger; his three siblings; and his parents. He is survived by his beloved wife, Hedi McKinley; four children and their spouses; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many admiring friends. He was laid to rest in New Rural Cemetery in Rensselaer, N.Y., next to Gloria. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to Albany Friends Meeting, 727 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12208.