Shirley Dolgin Levy died on Friday, January 25, 2020, from congestive heart failure at the age of 91. She is best-known in Toledo for her thirty-five year career writing for The Blade, but she also had a lifetime of community involvement that included serving as Vice-President of the Ottawa Hills School Board.
Shirley was born in Akron, Ohio and grew up in Toledo, Ohio, the daughter of Aaron and Betty Dolgin. As a child, her family lived in the Bancroft Hills and Old Orchard neighborhoods, and she was a graduate of DeVilbiss High School. She earned a B.A. in psychology at The Ohio State University and married Philip Levy, also of Toledo, with whom she shared a seventy-year partnership. Upon graduation, she taught kindergarten in a private school and worked on Ohio's Sesquicentennial celebration in Columbus.
Along with raising three children, from 1950 to 1976 she directed the Resource Center of Temple Shomer Emunim where she built a small private library into one of Northwest Ohio's leading Judaica centers. She acquired books and audio-visual aids, and developed workshops where she lectured on diverse subjects including Judaica, historic research, and investment strategies. During those years, she also served terms as president of Temple Sisterhood and Ottawa Hills Mother Study Group (now Mothers' Support Group). She initiated the Ottawa Hills High School Book Fair and Ottawa Hills Barbecue, both annual events that ran for many years.
Shirley was a Blade reporter from 1968 to 2003. She wrote a weekly "Boating Notes" column and covered Great Lakes races and activities. In 1994, she wrote the society column, and over her career wrote numerous articles for home, leisure sports, business, health and fitness, travel and the "Living Today" section.
Nationally syndicated sports writer Christine Brennan, among others, has credited Shirley as the first woman to cover sports in Toledo and an early role model for women succeeding in a male dominated career.
From the early 1970s, Shirley was a regular contributor to national boating periodicals including Soundings, Sail, Lakeland Boating, and Sailing. She also participated in regattas and sailed with her husband in Greece and the Caribbean.
Shirley's active memberships are too numerous to list, but they include serving as a board member of Press Club of Toledo and co-founding, with Claudia Hannaford, the Toledo Area Church and Synagogue Library Association. She also co-founded, with Carol Robinson, the Western Lake Erie Sailing Club to promote sailing to women and juniors. Her interest in promoting sailing to a wider audience included initiating children's sailing lessons and competitions at the Community Boating Education Center at Walbridge Park.
Among the many honors and awards she received, Shirley was proud of being the first woman elected to Toledo Yacht Club Mills Race Hall of Fame, the first woman to serve on the Temple Shomer Emunim Board of Directors, and a charter member of the Western Lake Erie Historical Society. She is also a board member of Boating Writers International and honorary memberships including The Toledo Rowing Club.
Over the past ten years, Shirley edited The Toledo Club's "Topics" magazine and was a member of the club's marketing committee.
She is survived by her three children, Larry (Eve), Candace (Greg) and Michael (Shaula) and grandchildren, Rob, Colleen, Adam and David.
Services will be held at the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. followed by a lunch at The Temple (Sylvania, Ohio).
Contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the Lori Warner Levy Memorial Fund at Ottawa Hills Schools or the Library Support Fund at Temple Shomer Emunim.
To send flowers to Shirley's family, please visit our floral section.