Richard Levine died on the afternoon of Monday, 24 May, at 76 years of age. He was buried the following day and is survived by his wife Sandra and daughter Gemma.
Just one week later Sandra had to leave the house Richard loved so much and move to, what was supposed to be, their next home together, as the completion date had been set before Richard was taken into hospital. As Gemma said, “My Dad’s timing was always impeccable so why should he change the habit of a lifetime.”
Richard had undergone three open-heart surgeries, the first one 14 years ago and the most recent in March 2020. He was sadly diagnosed in August 2020 with extensive heart failure and after a previous stay in hospital in March this year, the affects left their mark and he sadly fell at home at the end of April, then he spent his remaining five weeks in hospital before his death. Thankfully, due to the kindness of all the hospital staff at The Royal Free Hospital, his final two weeks were spent with Sandra and Gemma right beside him, up until the very end.
Richard, organised as always, had even purchased a family burial plot some 16 years ago, which of course was on a path so “anyone who visits doesn’t have to get their shoes muddy”. A great example of how Richard always planned ahead, remembering even the smallest of important details.
Richard spent virtually all his working life in the moving industry, mostly in international moving, and had been co-founder and director of: Bayes of Hampstead; Trans Euro and Sterling International Movers.
As a perverse turn of events the Sterling building at Northolt that Richard and Peter Carter designed and had built, was given up by its current owners to a Disney subsidiary who make the ‘Marvel’ movies, just a week after Richard’s death.
Peter Carter commented: “As everyone who worked with Richard over the 30-plus years at Trans Euro and Sterling International Movers will know, he was a very kind and gentle man, a very wise counsel to me and everyone. A lot of people thought Richard was a quiet or reserved man, but anyone that really knew him like I did, knew he had a wicked and dry sense of humour. Probably the highest compliment I can pay him is to say, ‘he listened more than he spoke’, a great personality trait that I sadly didn’t share.”
Former colleague Andy Johnson has fond memories of Richard. “Such a lovely man and a great mentor to me personally having worked with him at Trans Euro and Sterling for over 20 years,” he said. “Rest in peace Richard.”
Neil Dodson also recalls good times at Trans Euro. “Things were going well for Richard at Trans Euro and he decided to upgrade his Porsche for a newer one. As a result there was a period when he owned two, so we got him the ubiquitous sticker that stated ‘My other car is a Porsche’. I think it appealed to his very dry sense of humour.”
“I have many memories of Richard,” said Neal Hambridge. “Because he was such a quiet and thoughtful person, I mostly remember him for his positive influence in keeping us (the troops) pointed in the right direction, concentrating on the important and not just the urgent. I cannot remember leaving his office not feeling better than I went in. His ethics were strong, his maxims are still priceless and he willingly mentored those who appreciated his values.”
“Richard was a great mentor and someone that always had time for everyone,” said Rob Lucas. “Our thoughts go out to Sandra and Gemma during these sad times.”
Sandra and Gemma said that Richard was a very quiet yet kind and gentle man. He always tried to live by his word in the most ethical way he could. He would often say, “It is not about what people say about you in this lifetime, but what they say about you after you die”.
“It has been such a blessing and insightful opportunity for us both, to hear all the lovely things and wonderful stories from so many people who worked with him over his career. He was, as we knew him, a devoted and loving husband and father; firm but fair (something we later found out he would use as advice to people at work) but always with the best intention. No words can explain the void he has left behind in our lives. He was always the person we went to for everything. When we had problems, he would fix them in a logical and calm way, followed by one of his favourite sayings ‘Don’t panic until you have to’ or ‘Read the instructions’. Although he is no longer with us, he lives on through Gemma who is just like him in every way. We miss him each and every day and he will forever be in our hearts and thoughts.”
Sandra and Gemma also offered an old Hebrew proverb that felt apt: Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.
Photo: Richard Levine, 21/7/44 to 24/5/21.