Elaine Ruth Levine Levin died peacefully of natural causes at home Dec. 18, 2020, surrounded by her loving family and devoted caregivers. She was a woman of tremendous grace, dignity and pride. As such, the family is respecting her privacy and not publishing her age. Elaine was the daughter of Marc and Rae Levine and the devoted younger sister of Joyce Levine Cohen Jacobson.
Born in New Castle, Pa., she was raised in Clarksburg and Charleston, W.V., amidst coal mines and limited opportunity. Despite her geographic misfortune, she was blessed to have a mother determined to provide her the top-notch education that she herself had been denied, and a father with good business sense. When the family’s fortunes eventually improved, Elaine was sent to Ashley Hall in Charleston, S.C., for her last year of high school, which was quite the culture shock! Her mother’s plan worked, and Elaine went on to graduate from Vassar College.
Living in Birmingham, Ala., she met the love of her life Dr. Harold B. Levin on a blind date while he was visiting from Atlanta for a Georgia-Alabama football game. Following their marriage in 1953, Elaine moved to Atlanta and became active in The Temple Sisterhood, joined Ahavath Achim Synagogue, and became an avid tennis player at The Standard Club. Elaine and Harold’s home became a weekly gathering place for extended family, and they hosted every holiday.
While raising three children, Elaine obtained a doctorate in psychology from Georgia State University, where she became professor emerita and remained close with many of her GSU colleagues for the rest of her life. She worked as a psychologist for Jewish Vocational Services and established a private practice specializing in issues of dual career couples, midlife and aging.
Dr. Levin donated professional services to numerous community organizations, including counseling Hospice Atlanta patients and co-leading grief-bereavement groups and career transition workshops at The Temple. She was board certified, a fellow of the Georgia Psychological Association, and a member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and the American Psychological Association.
In addition to her family, friends, and profession, Elaine’s other great passion was art. She honed her knowledge by attending countless lectures and classes, including studying at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London and The Sorbonne in Paris.
Using her incredible eye for beauty and form and her fascination with the psyche, she carefully selected and acquired artworks of the highest quality that spoke to her. Elaine trained her focus on drawing, a medium that offers a glimpse into the heart, soul and mind of the artist. Over time, her collection grew to include 20th century masters such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, Hans Hofmann, Louise Bourgeois, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, and Max Weber, as well as antiquities. For over 40 years, Elaine was devoted to the High Museum of Art, where she was a member of its exclusive Director’s Circle and awarded a life trusteeship. She served as a docent guiding museum visitors; chair of the Twentieth Century Art Society and the Exhibitions Committee; vice chair of the Collections Committee; and member of the building committee responsible for funding and completing the major Renzo Piano expansion.
Elaine was also involved with the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University as a member of its National Leadership Board, Curator’s Council; patron of its Works on Paper; chair of its nominating committee; and honoree of the museum’s 2017 Veneralia on Paper.
The Carlos Museum has created the Elaine L. Levin Study Room for works on paper. Her bequests include gifts of art to the High and the Carlos museums. She also played an active role on the Collections Committee at the Harvard University museums in Cambridge, Mass., and the Works on Paper Committee at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Blessed with an abundance of energy, curiosity, organizational skills, and the ability to pack light, Elaine traveled the world with fellow art aficionadas and conquered at least two museums and three galleries a day.
At age 80, she climbed Machu Picchu escorted by a man on either side. With her family, she visited Israel, a tenting safari through Africa, Angkor Wat, Australia, London and Berlin.
Elaine was a graduate of Leadership Atlanta. She participated in the METS program, accompanying seminary students through the Middle East and later served on its nominating committee.
She was a trustee of the American Jewish Committee and served on the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League, Atlanta Urban League, Planned Parenthood, and the Jewish Educational Loan Fund. Through all these activities, Elaine developed strong, meaningful and lasting friendships. She cherished the many years of camaraderie with her book group, birthday lunch group, AAP family group, AAP’s secret “Red Hot Mamas,” and over 20 years of twice weekly pilates at Body Central Pilates Studio.
After she lost her beloved husband in 2001, Elaine transformed the shell of a two-floor condo into a unique architectural space to display her art and entertain family and friends. She loved to gather an intimate group around her large, round eight-seat dinner table for delicious food and scintillating conversation.
Elaine’s family and friends will miss her sharp mind, terrific sense of humor, wide smile and warm charm. She was always tremendous fun and always dressed stunningly with an impeccable sense of elegance and style. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out, and a role model, mentor and inspiration to many.
Elaine is survived by her children Jan Kelmachter (Mark), Jay Levin (Deborah) and Lauren Levin (Cindy Smith) as well as four grandchildren Mica Kelmachter and Arielle, Caleb and Jeremy Levin.
The family wishes to express deep gratitude and appreciation to Kathy Lum, Elaine’s indispensable administrative assistant for nearly 20 years; Pat Thompson and Gabby Reyes, Elaine’s dedicated and devoted caregivers; and Agape Hospice.
Due to COVID, a private family-only graveside funeral was held Dec. 21 at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta. The family is sitting shivah via Zoom at 7 p.m. nightly excluding Dec. 25 and concluding with a special memorial service for Elaine’s cherished friends at 7 p.m. Dec. 26.
Please visit the website https://elaine-levin-memorial.eventcreate.com for Zoom links to the shivah and memorial service. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the recently established Elaine L. Levin Lecture on Drawings at the High Museum of Art. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.