Max Levy and Belle Levin married in Pittsburgh in 1921. They had two children, Jules, who was born in Pittsburgh, and Ruth, who was born after the family relocated to Detroit in the mid-to-late 1920s. The family later returned to Pittsburgh to be closer to relatives, including Belle’s father Joseph Levin.
Jules Levy (1924-2011) graduated early from Schenley High School and was admitted for the winter term at the University of Pittsburgh in 1941. Shortly before he started classes, the United States entered World War II, and he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Although only 18 years old, he qualified for Officer Candidacy School. He spent the early part of the war stateside being trained in the radar navigation system and in the operation of the Norden bombsite. He flew 38 missions, including the Battle of the Bulge, and often flew lead.
After the war, he earned business and engineering degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. Shortly thereafter, he began working for the U.S. government as a production engineer. A natural handyman, he disassembled and re-assembled the family car in his youth and installed a central air conditioning system in his home on his own.
In 1954, Jules Levy married Elaine Holzman. A few years later, the Civil Service Administration closed its local office, and Jules was transferred to a new National Aeronautics and Space Administration office in Huntsville, Alabama. Unwilling to live in the Jim Crow south, Jules Levy stayed in Pittsburgh and joined Klein’s Restaurant, which was owned by his wife’s family. He oversaw the kitchen and implemented several innovative promotional efforts, such as televised cooking displays. In the 1970s, Jules Levy left the business to pursue independent ventures. Jules Levy and Elaine Holzman Levy had three children, Howard, Marilyn and Stuart.
Ruth Levy (1929-2018) began dancing as a child of four when her mother began taking her to classes. “I was pretty good, rather shy, though, still I liked the feeling of moving through space,” she wrote in an essay titled I Am A Dancer. “It was a very easy and happy direction for me to take.” She appeared in such plays as Seven Sisters and sang in the a cappella choir at Schenley High School. While earning a degree in physical education at the University of Pittsburgh, she often performed with the Pitt Players in shows at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, including during its 1949 run of A Connecticut Yankee. She graduated from college in 1951.
Ruth Levy married Robert Westerman in December 1954. They had three children, Jeff, Mark and Diane. Robert died in 1984. Ruth married J. Robert Myers.
After college, Ruth Westerman began performing and teaching with the Contemporary Dance Association, a modern dance troupe in the city. After the Association disbanded, she continued teaching at the Arts and Crafts Center, now Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Dance Alloy Theater. She studied and taught at the Genevieve Jones Dance Studio on Forbes Avenue where Martha Graham also started her career. Westerman later served on the board of the Pittsburgh Dance Council.
Throughout her career, Westerman sought innovative ways to make dancing relevant to the public. She taught a series of interpretive dance classes for children in the 1970s. In 1986, she created Silver Motion, which used creative movement to provide exercise regimens for the elderly. The successful program spawned a series of national speaking engagements.
Jules and Ruth’s uncle Abe Seder was the son of Frank & Seder Department Store founder Isaac Seder. Their uncle Samuel Rosenberg was a highly regarded painter and teacher.