Obituaries » Norman Levin
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October 13, 1936 - February 9, 2022
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Some men take up golf. Others dive into photography. But Norm didn’t have hobbies. He had two all-consuming passions – medicine and his family – and they proved more than enough for him to create a life of extraordinary richness.
Norm grew up in Pontiac, Michigan, the youngest of three brothers. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he left the Midwest to attend medical school at the University of California, Irvine. He interned at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and went on to a residency at UCLA. It was there – fascinated by the emerging science of alleviating the suffering of patients and guided by his great compassion for others – he set about honing his skills as an anesthesiologist.
Just as he was about to complete his training, the U.S. Government stepped in, shipping him, Gay, and their young family to Wurzburg, Germany, where, for three years, he served as head of the Anesthesia Department at the U.S. Army base. After his military service, he returned to Southern California, joining the staff of Century City Hospital, eventually running the Department of Anesthesia for many decades. In the 1970s, he launched a pain clinic at UCLA to test the efficacy of acupuncture. Not only did his work help the then-exotic practice of acupuncture become credible he was also instrumental in creating a requirement that all acupuncturists pass an accreditation test.
Norman brought a similar intensity to his work with the California Society of Anesthesiologists, which awarded him a Distinguished Service Award, the highest tribute the society can pay to an ASA member. He loved meeting with politicians in Sacramento and Washington D.C., working to improve his medical specialty and medicine at large. He played a significant role in changing California’s medical laws and served as the chairman of the Audit Committee of CAP MPT, a physician-owned malpractice insurance company.
No one can doubt the love he had for Gay, his wife of 59 years. Theirs was a true love story, cherished and honored every day of his life. They met at a party in the spring of 1962; just six months later, they were married and beginning their great adventure together. Norm’s boundless love extended to his children Mark (Gail), Steven, and Robyn (Tim), and his beloved grandchildren – Shira, Rocky, Mick, and Lexi. He was always available to talk, to listen, to advise, and to love.