Obituary of Bob Levin
Robert Levin – esteemed journalist, gifted novelist, cherished
husband and father – died January 29, 2019, at age 66. A four-time
cancer survivor, Bob coped valiantly for more than four decades
with treatment effects that gradually damaged his heart and gut,
and he died of related causes.
Bob was a kind, witty man who deeply loved his family and
friends. A sports fan, political junkie and lover of ‘60s music, he
found the greatest joy in playing with words, in creating clear,
In 1985, he and his wife, journalist Nancy White, moved from the
U.S. to Toronto, where Bob worked for 20 years at Maclean’s as a
writer and executive editor. He spent another 10 years as an editor
at The Globe and Mail, where he was prized for his unfailing
ability to make copy sing. To honour Bob, the Globe has arranged
that the short feature award be named for him at this year’s
National Newspaper Awards.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Bob enjoyed a happy childhood
with parents David and Ruth, big brother Rich and family dogs.
Basketball and baseball were his passions, along with summer
camp in the Poconos. He attended Friends Central School then
Earlham College. Bob honed his skills at newspapers in Oklahoma,
Indiana and New Jersey, and then at Newsweek magazine in New
York City. He graduated from Columbia University’s graduate
Bob was only 18 when he first received treatment for cancer,
advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While cutting-edge in 1971, the
treatment was cruder than it is today. But at that young age, he
said, he felt invincible. Hodgkin’s returned in 1995 and 2003,
when he underwent a stem cell transplant. Three years ago, he was
treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Bob’s voice and personality - his empathy, humour, wry outlook –
live on in his novels, a legacy of sorts. Away Game, published in
2016, is about baseball and a son’s search for his father. In his last
days, Bob was proofreading Theater Near You, which will come
out this spring. The narrator has recurrent cancer.
Bob leaves his wife and son, Matt Levin, of Toronto; his brother
Richard and sister-in-law Ann Levin, niece Elizabeth Jackson and
her son Xander, all of California. He is also survived by brother-in-
law Peter and sister-in-law Laura White of South Salem, NY. And
their sons Patrick, Kieran and Sean.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held this spring. For people
wishing to make a charitable donation, the family suggests the
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.