Gary Leland Levering passed away on Friday, the 13th of June 2014, in Houston, with his loving wife, Jo Ann and his two daughters, Janice and LeAnn, by his side. Born on the 9th of September 1939, to George Reuben Burns Levering and Lois May Schlaegel Levering in Kansas City, Kansas, Gary developed what became a life-long passion for golf as a teenager. He won the Kansas State junior championship title twice. As a result, he received a full scholarship to Northwestern University, where he played against Jack Nicklaus among others. Characteristically, he paid back Northwestern for the scholarship and supported Northwestern later in life...
Gary Leland Levering passed away on Friday, the 13th of June 2014, in Houston, with his loving wife, Jo Ann and his two daughters, Janice and LeAnn, by his side.
Born on the 9th of September 1939, to George Reuben Burns Levering and Lois May Schlaegel Levering in Kansas City, Kansas, Gary developed what became a life-long passion for golf as a teenager. He won the Kansas State junior championship title twice. As a result, he received a full scholarship to Northwestern University, where he played against Jack Nicklaus among others. Characteristically, he paid back Northwestern for the scholarship and supported Northwestern later in life so that other young golfers could also enjoy a university education.
At Northwestern, Gary was a 4-year letterman in golf and a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. He served as president of his fraternity in his senior year and, after graduation, served for a year as a traveling ambassador to chapters all over the country.
Gary then enrolled at the University of Texas Law School in Austin, where he met and married Jo Ann Dougall, a fellow student and a native Houstonian. They were to have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this August.
The couple settled in Houston, where he practiced tax law for several years at Vinson & Elkins, before becoming a real estate entrepreneur. In his career, he developed and managed apartments, condominiums and office buildings, even being named Houston Apartment Association's Owner of the Year in 1979. For many years he took great pleasure in personally managing the prestigious Park Laureate office building on Memorial Drive whose best-known tenant is former President George H.W. Bush.
Always giving back to his community, Gary served as the City of Houston's mobility and transportation coordinator, an unpaid advisory position for Mayor Kathy Whitmire in 1983. Mayor Bill White proclaimed May 18, 2006, "Gary Levering Day" to recognize him as a "champion for mental health" for his tireless efforts on behalf of his fellow sufferers of bipolar disorder. He helped organize the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston, which has grown to more than 70 groups within the metropolitan area from only two groups when he first joined. According to the organization, Gary's work has helped the groups "guide thousands of people out of the darkness of depression and the shadows of bipolar disorder." When Gary received the esteemed Ima Hogg Award for Mental Health in 2006, former President Bush read a moving tribute to Gary's work.
Gary loved competitive challenges, especially ones that taxed his formidable intellect or physical prowess. When his daughter Janice was nine, they ran two full marathons together. Later to prove his contention that golf was more difficult than tennis, he took tennis lessons and within two years won a club championship at the Houston Racquet Club.
Many of Gary's challenges revolved around his beloved sport. He played all of Golf Digest's "Top 50 Courses" and got certified as a USGA rules official scoring an extremely unusual perfect 100 on the test. He then started and taught a USGA rules course at the Houston Country Club to help other members maintain golf as an "honorable game."
In the early 1980s, Gary bought a second home in Pebble Beach, California. To this golfing shrine, he brought countless groups of weekend golfers from Houston who played with him at Cypress Point Club where Gary was a member for 25 years.
Gary and Jo Ann enjoyed numerous adventures all over the world from an African safari, to a river boat trip in Russia, to riding elephants in Thailand. Gary even did a bungee jump off of a bridge in New Zealand while in his 60s. The couple was equally enthusiastic about visiting fine arts museums in Europe, attending Broadway shows in New York as well as being regular supporters of the Houston Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Theater Under the Stars. He also belonged to the River Oaks Breakfast Club and was an active member of the Chapelwood United Methodist Church for more than 40 years.
A loving family man, Gary was known as "Popo" to his grandchildren. Despite failing health during his final years, Gary always lit up around them and loved to read stories to them and accompany them on various outings.
In addition to his wife, Jo Ann, and daughters Janice Lois Levering King and LeAnn Reynolds Levering Plant, Gary leaves three grandchildren: Patrick Leland Plant, Robert Taylor Plant and Margaret Ann (Maggie) King; two sons-in-law, Allan Goldston King of Houston, and Brad Plant of Austin; four brothers and five sisters-in-law: Gordon and Judy Levering of Hilton Head, SC, Robert and Carolyn L. Levering of San Francisco, James and Carolyn S. Levering of Port Washington, NY, Donald Levering and Jane Shoenfeld of Santa Fe, NM and Janice Dougall Melcher of Brenham; 5 first cousins; 18 nieces and nephews; and countless friends all over the world.
A memorial service is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, the 18th of June, at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 11140 Greenbay Street in Houston, where the Rev. Wick Stuckey is to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the nearby Fellowship Hall.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Memorial Oaks Cemetery in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in Mr. Levering's name be directed to the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston, P.O. Box 27607, Houston, TX, 77227, or online at www.dbsahouston.org/donate
Gary will be sorely missed by all for his gentle sense of humor, boundless curiosity, generosity, and loving spirit.