Liberty woman shares history of historic homes
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of Saturday profiles of area residents and their stories. To suggest a profile, contact features editor Burton Cole at email@example.com.
LIBERTY — A Liberty woman who grew up on the North Side of Youngstown where there are many historic homes now spends time sharing unique information about those homes and others as part of several programs she has prepared for speaking engagements.
Marcia Levy, 79, a retired dietitian and a well-known local historian and speaker, said the coronavirus pandemic has prevented her from attending several speaking engagements this year, but she has been able to use her time to prepare new programs.
She said after her husband, Newman Levy, died in 2017 and her children were grown and moved away, she wanted to do something with a purpose. She became interested in the many historic homes in Liberty and other local communities, including Warren and Youngstown.
“Every day I drive down Logan Way and see all these beautiful homes, and I wonder who built them or who lives there. I started to do some research and found out there are so many historic homes built before the 1940s.Some of the homes were built in the 1800s and people have taken such good care of them,” Levy said.
She began doing research and gathered so much information on the homes she was able to share it in a PowerPoint presentation as a guest speaker at local historical societies, libraries, the Jewish Community Center, Levy Gardens, Youngstown State University and area temples.
Doing her research on the homes, Levy said she gets a lot of information from obituaries and from ancestry.com. She also speaks in person to some of the owners of the homes to get information.
“I was always interested in genealogy, which involved a lot of research,” she said.
After graduating from the The Rayen School she attended college and then got married, working at Youngstown State University as a secretary to the dean of secretarial studies and later as membership secretary at the JCC.
Levy spent 30 years in her own practice as a registered dietician and nutritionist, getting her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from Youngstown State University and master’s degree at Penn State University. She retired in 2017 after her husband died.
“I started out working from my house and then my husband had his accounting office on Churchill Road and there was an empty office space upstairs so I moved in there with my practice,” she said.
Levy said in her 30 years, people came to her on ways to stay healthy and lose weight.
“People had the same questions and issues from when I first started,” she said. “I enjoyed interacting with my patients very much.”
As a member of Congregation Rodef Sholom Temple in Youngstown, she created a museum in the temple’s library for its 150th anniversary that included an historical exhibit on the history of the temple.
She said when she does presentations on people or homes, she tries to provide the audience with unique and unusual facts.
“I try to find something interesting about each slide I show that people don’t already know about. What I like is when people share information with me or respond at the programs. Audience participation is so important,” Levy said.
Many of her programs highlight the Jewish community, including Holocaust survivors, “Jews on the Titanic” and famous Jewish men, women and rabbis.
She said it takes over a month to prepare each PowerPoint presentation.
Levy formed a volunteer group of local women called Grandmas for Education to help the Liberty elementary children at E.J. Blott School. The group volunteered for many years and helped students who may have been a little behind and need extra help.
“We would go into the school and be assigned to a different teacher and sit out in the hall at a table and help students with math and reading. The one-on-one help benefited the students. We all really enjoyed this,” she said.
Levy also started a Retired Men’s Club at the Jewish Community Center when her husband became ill. She brought in local speakers each month, and the JCC supplied coffee and bagels.
Her latest projects are two programs welcoming people to Liberty and Youngstown on YouTube, which are 30-minute presentations highlighting sites and places in the two communities.
Levy said she enjoys line dancing, knitting and genealogy and is a volunteer researcher for the Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Registry and the Trumbull County Historical Society.