November 14, 2003
William Levine Dead at 93
Prominent Chicago diamantaire and jeweler William D. Levine died Nov. 11, 2003, of heart failure at his home. Born in Brooklyn, NY, the son of Russian Jewish parents, he earned his bachelor's at St. John's University in New York. He began a career on Wall Street, later entering the diamond wholesale business with his father-in-law.
He and his wife, Mildred, moved to Chicago in 1938, where Levine worked for several companies in the diamond trade. In 1950, he founded William Levine Inc., eventually becoming Chicago's largest diamond importer. Subsidiary offices employing dozens of diamond cutters were later opened in New York City and in Belgium. In 1981, Levine received the Julius Rosenwald Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Jewish Federation.
Levine was a well-known philanthropist, active in fundraising and donating services and money to the United Jewish Fund and other Jewish charities. He and Mildred were great supporters of Israel and are credited with having been instrumental in establishing Israel's diamond cutting industry.
Mildred, with whom he had actively shared all aspects of the business, died in 1997. Levine is survived by two sons, Carl and Jess; grandson David, who is presently in charge of the company; three other grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services for William Levine took place today at Weinstein Family Services in Wilmette, IL.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.