Ludy and Colby: A Lifelong Love Story
Michelle Wang ’16 (January 2013)
Click here for the full version of this study, summarized below.
When Ludy died, his funeral was in the chapel at Colby College. The chapel was packed, and what brought spirit to your soul and tears to your eyes was when the entire football team solemnly walked in to respectfully take their seats and paid tribute to the man old enough to be their great grandfather but ageless enough to be their buddy. —“Ludy Levine Scrapbook”
Lewis “Ludy” Levine (’21), the “ageless wonder boy,” along with his “sport maniac” brother Percy “Pacy” Levine (’27), were the charming examples of a Jewish family with deep local roots. Both of the brothers went to Colby and, as far as people remembered, “They loved it!” According to Sara Arnon, Ludy’s niece, Ludy was an active member in the fraternity ATO even though Colby fraternities had already begun to blackball Jewish students in 1920s. Ludy’s nephew Bill Alfond recalled, “he volunteered over the years to be associated with his fraternity in the sense that he might be a Big Brother or whatever the terminology was called at that time.” Ludy apparently loved to be this Big Brother. He carried on this love and care about Colby’s students and made it a lifelong career.
Ludy, in his nearly 100 years of life filled with love and care, never got married. Sara explained, “Ludy told us: ‘I’m not going to get married…I’m going to put all of my eggs in two baskets: family and Colby.’ ” As he entered his second half of life, Ludy decided that he was going to devote his passion to his extended family and beloved school—Colby.
One big aspect of Ludy’s love towards Colby was sports. Charlie Miller (’69) described Ludy and Pacy as the “penultimate Colby supporters. They probably cared more about Colby football than the guys on the football team!”
Besides the maniacal passion for sports, Ludy was quite involved with alumni activities. Ludy was honored at the 1969 homecoming dinner for his dedication to Colby for trying to attract prospective students to Colby with all his efforts. As Sara recalled,
If you were bringing your child to Maine to look at summer camps and your child was 10 years old, he would tell you: “And don’t forget to go to Colby! Don’t forget to go look at Colby, because you are going to want to send your son there!”… He loved the school. He thought that there was no place better!
This relationship was not a one-way dedication, but rather a reciprocal rapport. Colby responded warmly and respectably to Ludy’s deep commitment. The school would assign students to accompany Ludy and Pacy while they were roaming and rushing by the sideline simply to make sure they wouldn’t get hurt. On Feburary 8, 1981, Colby threw a fabulous 80th Birthday Party for Ludy to celebrate his 80 années of warmth, friendliness, and dedication to Colby. Sara recalled her uncle’s excitement about this tremendous party,
My uncle was thrilled for days and weeks that they were giving it to him. They promised to give him one when he turned 100. As he was aging and getting older, he would ask: “Am I 100 yet?” He literally died within six months before his 100th birthday. I mean it was sad for him, because he was almost there.
Yes, Ludy was almost there. He loved the party that involved all his friends and family and, most importanly, Colby. While he was waiting for the big 100th birthday party, he was waiting to spend some enjoyable time with those people he loved and cared about. Colby obviously cared about and loved him, too. The school spent much effort not only to prepare his party, but also to invite him and his brother to various school events and to collect and preserve tons of detailed materials about Ludy and Pacy. As one of Colby’s most loyal sons, Ludy maintained this beautiful relationship with Colby until God took him away.
It’s hard to forget that there once was such a lovely and warm man who cared about Colby’s students; a man who decided not to get married in order to serve his beloved school; a man who reached out to anyone who needed help without asking anything in return. It was no surprise that the sports team boys marched in his funeral. Colby was Ludy’s family as well, and family is all about love and support, which Ludy embraced the whole time in his lifelong love story with Colby.