POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Murray Levy, a longtime Pound Ridge civil servant and member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, died last week from what friends say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 95 years old.
Pound Ridge police said they were called to Levy's home on Pinebrook Road at approximately 1:52 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29, for what was reported as an apparent suicide. They would not release any further details.
However, Levy's friends said they felt it was important that his story be told and he be recognized for his years of service to the town.
“He shot himself in the head,” said Lucille Corda, a longtime friend. Corda served 23 years as Pound Ridge town clerk and two years as the town’s first female supervisor from 1996-97.
“It had been tough for him,” she said. “He had financial problems and there was no end in sight. He couldn’t drive and had become reliant on other people, which he didn’t like.”
Corda said Levy’s wife, Frances, suffered a stroke several years ago and the pressure to look after her weighed on him. Frances Levy passed away this week, several days after her husband’s suicide. Corda said they were cremated and there was no formal service or memorial.
“They were a fun couple; they loved to dance,” she said. “I called them the ‘golden couple’ – they were married for more than 70 years.”
Corda said the Levys moved to Pound Ridge in 1978 and she met them at the annual Kentucky Derby party thrown by the Pound Ridge Republican Committee.
“We became friends from that moment on,” she said. “He wanted to get involved [in the town] right away.”
Levy, a graduate of New York University, made his living in the accounting field, Corda said, and had stints with Macy’s as well as owning his own business. He served on the Pound Ridge Zoning Board of Appeals for the past 12 years right up until his death.
“He told me that he wanted to retire [from the ZBA], but that [Supervisor] Gary Warshauer told him he wouldn’t accept his resignation,” Corda said with a chuckle.
Prior to that, Levy served on the Landmarks and Historic District Commission and was also a member of the Pound Ridge Historical Society.
“He was very macho. He once told me that his mother told him to never go into the kitchen once you’re married – that’s your wife’s job,” Corda said. “But, really, he was a jewel of a person – very loving and forgiving. Everyone loved him.”
Corda said Levy celebrated his 95th birthday on Aug. 6 and she and a group of friends paid a visit.
“We all went over there and brought him a cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him,” she said.
Pound Ridge resident and renowned artist and photographer Lisl Steiner was another longtime friend of Levy, having met him in 1996.
“Murray had lots of friends,” she said. “He was the sweetest guy – very gentle.”