Ralph Levy, 86, left this earth on July 3, 2007, from complications of COPD. His death leaves a void in the musical communities of southern Colorado and a tremendous loss to his family, friends and colleagues. Born in Walsenburg, Colorado on December 27, 1920, to Ralph Levy, Sr. and Ellen Mae(née Hansen) Levy, Ralph and sister, Janice Elaine (Sandy, deceased) Lenzini, enjoyed a lifetime of laughter and friendship. After graduating from Huerfano County High School in 1938, Ralph hit the road with saxophone in hand, a few bucks in his new zoot suit pockets, and a long list of swing standards ready for nightclubs. In 1942, Uncle Sam called him up and he was soon on his way with the US Army 556th Bomb Squadron as entertainment director performing for troops in England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany during WWII. After an honorable discharge, Ralph headed stateside as a professional jazzer. He had four great years of gigs, and soloed with some of the finest 'Big Bands,' most notably, Gene Krupa, Herb Miller and Jimmy Dorsey. While attending the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Ralph earned his BA and MA in Music and fell for a blonde bombshell singing with one of the college's stage bands. Ralph and Anna Jane Stine were married in Sterling, Colo., on June 5, 1947, the day following Ann's graduation as a music major. Their married lives took shape in Ralph's hometown of Walsenburg as he began his teaching career as the high school band director and she as the vocal music teacher. Following in their parents' footsteps, their three children, Suellen Levy of Walsenburg, Cherilyn Robeda of Denver and Brent Levy of Denver, pursued entertainment, teaching and caregiving careers. A move to Pueblo in the early sixties melded a lifetime of Ralph's musical experiences, civic activities, professional and fraternal affiliations, and two lifetime worth's of guest lectureships and clinics, guest conducting and adjudicating, consulting and mentoring and college and studio teaching. Whether leading honor bands in Colorado or concert bands at Six Flags over Georgia and Texas; scoring instrumentalists at state sponsored solo and ensemble competitions or judging CU or CSU Marching Band Days; teaching graduate courses at universities across the nation or starting an elementary age child on a woodwind instrument, Ralph Levy was highly sought for his dedication to his art, his determination to bring out the best in one's musical expression and his direction to his department at Pueblo Junior College, Southern Colorado State College and the University of Southern Colorado. With integrity and tenacity he built the music department from a small two year program with just a handful of young kids (who later became some of the finest professional musicians in this part of the country), to one of the largest and most highly respected music education degreed programs in the southwest, graduating hundreds who went on to rewarding teaching and performing careers. Highlights of his teaching at SCSC and USC were the formation of the Pueblo Wind Symphonette, Concert Band tours, and extremely popular Symphonic Jazz Band performances, as well as his professional and personal associations with Jim Duncan, Rod Townley, John Strobel, Gil Garcia, Ed Lewis, Gary Barrows, George Roach, Victoria Markowski, Frank Cedrone, Mary Jane Oreskovich, Sid Rosen and Steve Comi. He valued each and every member on the music staff and knew how to build a department from within. His strength was recruiting- be it new staff for a growing department, students to fill in the ranks, or scholarships to bring them to Pueblo to study. After retirement in 1981 he was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor of Music of USC and continued to enjoy teaching at USC relishing the many concerts in Hoag Hall of which he helped design and secure funding for its completion. It was a grievous day when the new administration CSU-Pueblo demanded he turn in his keys to the music building as he watched the department begin to flounder due to budget cuts and loss of some its finest teaching staff. Leadership was Ralph Levy's forte. He offered his time, talents and expertise to the American Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National Conference, presidency of Colorado Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, MENC Conferences, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks, Royal Arch Masons, and Past Master of Southern Colorado Consistory, and Huerfano Lodge #27. He played in the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, the Pueblo Municipal Band, was Band Chairman for the Colorado State Fair, and Music Chairman for the founding of KTSC Public Television. His efforts did not go unnoticed. He was awarded 'Men of Note in Music' from Conn Band, 'Who's Who in the West' and International 'Who's Who in Music'and a published writer in 'Trendsetters in Music Education.' In 1986 he was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame. In 1987 he earned a Doctor of Music from the Conservatorio de Musica, Universidad Politecnica, Valencia, Spain. And in 1994 he was the recipient of the 'Columbine Award' for outstanding dedication and service to music and education in the state of Colorado. At the end of such a busy life Ralph Levy still took the greatest joy and satisfaction from his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephew's happiness and accomplishments: grandchildren, Scott (Cassie) Robeda of Denver, Katie Robeda of Denver and Seth Lockard of Colorado Springs; nieces, Alexis (Dee)(née Lenzini)Betts and Deidre Lenzini; and nephew, Doug Lenzini; and in he and Ann's sixty years of married life. His motto: 'Love Music. Practice Diligently.'Private graveside service and military honors by Pueblo Veterans' Ritual Team followed by a memorial service at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, 2007, in the Montgomery & Steward Chapel. Masonic Rites by Huerfano Masonic Lodge No. 27, A.F.&A.M., 10 a.m. on July 17, 2007, at the Masonic Cemetery in Walsenburg. The family respectfully requests the omission of food and flowers. Those who desire may make memorials to Huerfano Masonic Lodge No. 27, A.F.&A.M. through Montgomery & Steward Funeral Directors, 1317 N.Main St., Pueblo, Colo. 81003. Online condolences, MontgomerySteward.com

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  1. How great to read that a man I knew only as a loving a father and grandfather to Suellen and Seth Levy had such an illustrious career and dedicated life. It is truly uplifting to read about Ralph Levy.

  2. Dear Levy Family,
    My condolences to you in your for your loss. While we grieve the loss of Ralph, we must celebrate the life that was one in a million, and was shared with so many others through his performing and teaching. I will say prayers for him.

  3. My deepest sympathy to you Ann and your family.
    I hope Lou and Ralph are in heaven talking over old times as I heard them do so many times here on earth.

  4. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
    I hope Lou and Ralph are in heaven talking over old times as I heard them do so many times here on earth.

  5. Wow … we are watching an end of an era with the sad passing of Pueblo’s own Ralph Levy.

    Ralph Levy … Music … synonymous.
    Suellen did such a warm tribute to all of her Dad’s professional accomplishments and awards and it was an honor to take a walk through his life … pretty impressive!
    So I thought it might be touching to hear some of the personal ways your Dad touched and shaped lives … mine for one.

    I knew your Dad as my prime private clarinet teacher for over 5 years, during my formative HS years, preparing for a career in music performance. And he was an incredible and demanding private teacher, but in ways I’m not sure he fully realized. While he did prepare me so diligently for the rigors of playing lead clarinet in University and professional groups, he taught me presentation skills, passion for one’s art, the discipline of how to set goals, practice diligently … and then some!, persevere and realize accomplished dreams. Those fundamental discipline skills have taken me to over 14 countries with my playing and now across North America, doing professional executive speaking in technology …. Technology, music, whatever the channel … those fundamental skills that Ralph Levy taught and modeled have stood a career’s test of time. And he made it fun and inspiring along the way.

    When musicians gather, at Pueblo Community Band or Symphony concerts, at the Rodeo Band, etc … I’m quite certain the Ralph Levy anecdotes and folklore will continue for a long while into the future as we all continue to remember and tell our own Ralph Levy stories and how he touched so many of our lives.

    May God bless us all as we miss Ralph Levy … Dad, Husband, Grandpa … friend and teacher.

    Brenda (Flint) Iniguez
    IT Management Consultant
    Clarinet Coach for Winds Across the Bay
    San Francisco, CA
    brennie@sbcglobal.net

  6. To the Levy family,

    It is with humility and sadness that I write this note.
    Humility, that I had the pleasure to study with and learn from Ralph, and sadness that his life, though full, has ended.

    He was an inspiration to many young and older aspiring musicians. His observations were sometimes pointed but always fair and not without merit. He was an outstanding musician, educator and colleague.

    Ralph was a mainstay to the music community and a tremendous loss for Pueblo.

    He will be truly missed.

    Ray Iniguez
    Conductor, Winds Across the Bay
    San Francisco, California

  7. Our heartfelt sympathy to all of you in the loss of your loved one. May your happy memories sustain you and keep him in your hearts.
    Skip, Ann and Allison Krause
    Minot, ND

  8. Ann, SueEllen, Cher & Brent,
    We were saddened to hear of Mr. Levy’s passing, you have our deepest sympathy.
    We have thought of Mr. Levy many times over the past years, and thank him for all the inspiration and knowledge he gave us. We continue to pull from this in our teaching and performing.
    We recently thought of him as we drove Ralph’s TR3 around on the 4th of July. We can still see him as he drove up to the barracks on Orman Campus. We will always remember those days and miss him dearly.
    Our deepest sympathy,
    Lance Acker & Toni Yagami

  9. Mrs. Levy,
    I am sorry for your loss. Not a day goes by that I rememder the kindness of you and your husband.

    Frankie from Bradford Elementry School

  10. I am sorry to hear of the passing of Ralph whom I considered a good friend and wonderful colleague in the collegiate band world. He judged for my festival company, Music Maestro Please, Inc, on many occasions and we were always delighted to have a person of his musical ability, honesty and character. God bless his family.

    Sincerely,

    JIM HERBERT

  11. Ralph was a unique and inspirational friend, coach, and musician. He was an integral part of my life and will always hold a special place in my heart. To Ann, Brent, Suellen and Cheryl, my sincere condolences for your loss. Just remember how many people Ralph touched, and how many will carry a piece of his musicianship, character, and love of life.

  12. Dearest Suellen, Seth and Ann: Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out at this sad time. In reading Ralph’s obituary, we are reminded of a wonderful man and a life well lived. The joy that his music and wisdom brought to so many is a legacy unto itself and a honor to have known and loved him through the years. Suellen, the love and comfort and support you provided to him is an eternal gift that will go on forever. A great husband, father, grandfather and friend will be dearly missed. May the love of God and the peace of the Holy Spirit carry you through as you celebrate and remember, always, his life and legacies. Love, The Shea Family

  13. Cher Robeda and family,

    I want to say I am so sorry to hear about your dad. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Kelsi Vigil

  14. Dear Ann:
    Were were sorry to hear of Ralph’s passing. We have many fond memories of him as our tour leader of our first trip to Europe. Accept our sincere sympathy.

  15. I am sorry to have just heard about the passing of Mr. Ralph Levy. His work in Colorado and especially in Pueblo leaves a void that cannot be filled. The hundreds of musicians who learned from him and continue to carry music with them, at the highest possible degree of excellence are a testimony to his life and work.

    Marcia LaReau
    former conductor, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra

  16. I have all sorts of mixed joy and sadness hearing now of Ralph’s passing. The sense of loss and pain at hearing are blended with the grateful memory of over forty years of loving friendship and opportunities for sharing and collaboration, for the knowing of deep ties to one another. I will never forget you, Ralph, and I will always love you.

  17. Dear Suellen, and Family of Dr. Ralph Levy,

    I wished to express my sincere condolences to you and your family, in this time of bereavement. I just learned this week of your Father’s passing. I want you to know you are all in my thoughts and prayers for you, during this tremendous time of loss. Dr. Levy played such an integral role in the development of my academic and musical career, beginning in Pueblo, CO. He literally impacted the lives of countless thousands to follow their dreams and to articulate and to bring to the forefront, the song that is within each of us. He was my professor, teacher, friend and confidant who believed in me tremendously. I can’t begin to express to you the degree of motivation he generated in my life, during those formative academic years. Your Father inspired us to be greater than we thought we could become. He had such a humorously creative and strategic way of pulling talent and ability from deep within us; which we never knew existed. I will always be greatful for his vision and direction in my life. I know his legacy will continue to impact future generations through you, Suellen, Cherilyn, Brent and your extended Family. Thank you for the honor and privilege of knowing your Father, and for sharing him with all of us.

    Respectfully and with deepest sympathies,

    Mike Lenzini

  18. I will remember Dr. Levy as my music instructor and mentor.
    Growing up, my favorite flautist was James Galway.
    I will never forget, during my 8th lesson with Dr. Levy, he told me I sounded like James Galway.
    It was an honor to be his student and an honor that he taught each of my sisters as well. He taught us to strive to play our best, and to always come to a lesson prepared!

    My most heartfelt sympathies to his family. He will be very much missed.

  19. To the Levy family:

    I was a caretaker for Ralph for a few brief days towards the end. Those few days were very happy ones for me as Ralph and I visited, listened to music and he told me of his career and his many students. The time we spent was very precious to me and, although I did not know him well, we became close. I will miss him dearly and everytime I hear music, he will be in my thoughts and prayers. (also, every Judge show that comes on TV from now on will bring Ralph to mind as these shows entertained us during those last days!!)His laughter, knowledge and quite strength are an inspiration to me and will stay with me forever.

    My prayers are with his loved ones and I will always treasure my time with Ralph. Thank you for allowing me this special visit with him. Ralph, I know you are teaching the angels to play their music and that God needed you more than us!

    Mollie

  20. Dear Ann and family,
    We are so sorry about Ralph. Please
    accept our deepest sympathy.

    Mary & Don Creager

  21. Dear friends,

    Dr. Levy certainly made an impression on my career. Though I only was able to study with him one year on clarinet, it was a crucial pivotal year for me as a musician. He set me on my way to make a lifelong career of music. I now lead the 1st Cavalry Division Band in the Baghdad, Iraq area of operation. Dr. Levy gave me some musical principles, most of all he taught me the value of doing things well. I wish you all well. He will be missed. –Glen & Jill Nardin, Killeen, Texas.

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