Obituary: Alice Levin, beloved local legend


Alice N. Levin died peacefully at her home in Wilton on May 4, 2015. She was 92.
Alice’s family first came to Wilton in 1929, and Alice became a full-time resident shortly after World War II.
Alice was an active participant in the political and cultural life of Wilton. She was perhaps best known for her passion for nature, expressed through involvement in numerous local organizations concerned with preservation of land, open space, and wildlife habitat. She was active in the Wilton Garden Club, served on the boards of the Deer Committee and the Weir Preserve, and was a founding contributor to the Wilton Center Tree Plan. Her commitment to nature preservation in Wilton was recognized last year when she received the 2014 Tree Steward Award.
Alice’s passion for nature was nowhere more evident than in the gardens surrounding her home, which were a lifelong project. A completely self-taught gardener, her interests spanned the academic and the aesthetic, and she was as engaged by 19th-Century accounts of plant discoveries around the country as the acquisition of new native plants and the planting of an arboretum. She traded cuttings enthusiastically with fellow gardeners and delighted in the restoration of the local flora through her tireless elimination of invasive species. For years, she carried herbicide in her car and would stop when she spotted a hapless bittersweet vine.
Politics was another of Alice’s great enthusiasms, though for her it was through the lens of social causes rather than for its own sake. She was a passionate lifelong Democrat, and devoted her energies to diverse issues, including education, humanitarian causes, and inequality. She gave generously of her time as a volunteer at the Wilton Library and the Turnover Shop, helped with clothing drives, worked briefly in a soup kitchen, and mentored a disadvantaged South Norwalk student from elementary school to college.
Despite spending most of her life in Wilton, Alice always called herself a New Yorker. She was born and grew up in Manhattan and was introduced early to the arts. For most of her life she traveled the globe to view the world’s greatest collections of paintings and sculptures.
Alice was married for 59 years to Peter Levin, who died in 2004. She is survived by her two sons and four grown grandchildren, whom she visited regularly in California.
A memorial celebration for Alice is planned for June. In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to donate to either The Trust for Public Land (tpl.org) or the Garden of Ideas (gardenofideas.com).