Dr. Peter Joseph Levy
A hole opened in the universe on the morning of February 15, 2021, when Dr. Peter Joseph Levy left his generous contributions to the world, for those of us lucky enough to have known him – to remember and to cherish. Peter passed peacefully at Serenity House in Santa Barbara, CA where the team of “Angel Nurses” conscientiously provided him with a high level of comfort care.
Few individuals exude joy, look always to see if they can ease another’s pain, enquire into one’s well-being and, whenever possible, provide help and insights. Few bring interest to every conversation with a determination to ensure that wit, humor and culture are a part of the offering. Few lead by being a devoted husband, father, brother, and friend. Such a person was Peter.
Born to Richard M. Levy and Barbara Mindlin on October 11, 1944 in Boston, Massachusetts, Peter grew up in a rich cultural and intellectual environment among parents, grandparents, and friends who traveled the world and took the Levy/Lee children with them.
His extended family lived in Brookline, MA, with Peter attending Deerfield Academy, before beginning his college years at Bard College. Taking a break after his sophomore year, Peter enlisted in the US Marine Corps and spent eighteen months in uniform in Quantico, VA, before being honorably discharged to return home to attend Emerson College, where he completed his undergraduate degree in History, writing his senior thesis on the Orations of Pericles.
Peter worked with his father in the family business, Diamond Union, where he was groomed to run operations. It was the late 1960’s when the warmth of California was beckoning that Peter moved to Santa Barbara where his first wife Mary is from. He studied photography at Brooks Academy and became an avid photographer for life, he later began a career in real estate and, with his love of the ocean, sailed whenever possible.
It was in the late 70’s when Peter participated in a volunteer medical mission to Mexico that his profession was defined. During that trip, he could not help but notice that out of the team of MD’s, dentists, eye doctors and chiropractors, it was the chiropractors that were having an immediate healing impact on those who lined up to be treated. This was a pivotal moment for Peter, for he had found his calling, and went on to obtain his Chiropractic degree from Cleveland College of Los Angeles in 1984. Peter’s knowledge of anatomy was so extensive that he frequently was invited to teach pre-med students at UCLA.
He went on to start his own Chiropractic Center where he practiced in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, CA. He would continue for the next thirty-six years, touching and healing many in the Santa Barbara community and those who travelled the distance to be treated by Dr. Levy. Peter’s most valuable gift was his “healing hands”. The thousands of patients, including professional athletes whom he treated from injuries and chronic conditions, not only improved, but many were able to return to full function, and resume their favorite activities. Easing others’ pain through treatment was Peter’s gift. His humor, charm, and consistent concern for others’ welfare – their loves and lives – had its own healing effect.
You always felt better for having spent time with Peter.
Ever learning, broadening and deepening his skills, Peter became trained in Neuro Muscular Reeducationsm, also known as NMRsm, a unique deep tissue healing technique, proven to be successful with a vast majority of individuals suffering from chronic pain and lack of flexibility. Through Peter’s hands, NMRsm allowed most patients to regain their full range of motion. Those who have had the “excruciating pleasure” of Dr. Levy’s NMRsm sessions would know exactly the value of his well-defined expertise.
For 25 years, Dr. Levy has been nationally and internationally acclaimed as a Master Teacher and Educator of NMRsm. He taught the technique in more than 400 seminars, to approximately 3500 health care professionals for which he was highly respected throughout the USA, Europe, Africa, India and Australia. Peter’s legacy changed the course of peoples’ lives forever. With his loving personality, he forged many deep connections with influential health care professionals who span the globe.
While Peter loved his work, the biggest gifts of his life were his three beautiful girls with Sonya Levy: Julia, Kira, and Marissa – and as of late, the bright star of Guylaine Therrien (Ghee), his recent wife. Peter and Ghee met late in life, marrying just a year ago, their bond was deep and their love for each other palpable for all to see. During the past months, Ghee nurtured and cared for Peter, providing the encouragement and playfulness on which he thrived.
Among Peter’s first passions were Ancient Greece and Rome, an interest cultivated by his grandmother who took young Peter and his sister to Greece for a summer vacation in the 1950’s. This trip had a tremendous influence on Peter’s approach to life, creating an enduring fascination with Greek and Roman history that was a vital part of his intellectual endeavors. On that trip, his Grandmother took a picture of young Peter sitting on a throne at the Parthenon. As a father, Peter always sought to endow his daughters with this fascination and love for people and places beyond the United States. Walking into Peter’s office in Santa Barbara, his patients were greeted by a special photo taken in 2013, of Peter with his three cherished girls, Julia, Kira, and Marissa, alongside their Dad, sitting on the same throne.
Peter was the adored Godfather of Ryan and Justin Shand, and was sustained through his difficult last months by his Godson Joseph Garrigan, a fisherman who shared Peter’s love for the ocean.
Peter had various circles of friends including those who granted him entry to memorable dinners for which he was cherished for the intelligent conversation he brought to the table, and of course the relationship he had to his close “brothers” with whom he shared biking, hiking, playing squash and sailing.
Most of us spend our lives trying to do good work, good deeds, to be creative, loyal, and loving. To be interested in others, and to learn from them. To jump when it’s scary, to accept falling when it can’t be helped. Peter was there for so many, always, in every possible way.
In addition to his daughters and his wife, Ghee, Peter is also survived by his sister Susan Woodman of Waltham, MA, Thomas Lee of Waban, MA, and Constance Eby of Kentucky, their children and grandchildren.
In the last months of his life, Peter found great connection and comfort through the healing of equine therapy. Peter’s last days were enhanced when Serenity House graciously granted permission to allow Peter a visit from Shannon, his devoted equine coach along with her horse, creating a memorable experience for Peter, other patients and their families to share joyful moments.
If Peter’s spirit invokes a feeling of contribution, a donation can be made in “Memory of Peter Levy” to: VNA Health-Serenity House at 509 E. Montecito Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, or by visiting their website at www.vna.health.
Due to Covid, a small memorial will be held for the family.
Should you wish to leave a note for the family, you can do so by going to: https://www.wrhsb.com/