Lee Hillard Levy of East Hampton died at Southampton Hospital on July 22 after a brief illness, at the age of 91. His spouse and partner of nearly 40 years, Charles Millevoi, his two sons, Mark and Jeff Levy of California, and three of his four grandchildren were at his side.
Mr. Levy was a fashion designer and business owner whose designs for men’s and women’s outerwear were manufactured under the label Lee Levy Designs toward the end of his career.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Levy graduated from James Madison High School. He first apprenticed with an uncle in the fur industry before going out on his own.
In 1942, he married the former May Schneider. They were together for 30 years before divorcing, after which he met and fell in love with Mr. Millevoi. After 37 years together, the law allowed them to marry. Friends drove them to Connecticut (this was before New York’s law changed), and they were married on Oct. 27, 2011, the anniversary of their first date. Mr. Levy was 89 and Mr. Millevoi was 85.
Long before, in 1975, the couple bought a house in Springs and commuted from Manhattan for several years while becoming active members of the East Hampton and Amagansett communities. Mr. Levy, who enjoyed painting and drawing, joined the East Hampton Art Alliance. After 12 years in Springs, they moved to Cranberry Hole Road in Amagansett, but sold that house after another 12 years and moved to Holly Place in East Hampton, their home since 2000.
Both Mr. Levy and Mr. Millevoi loved to travel. They visited many countries in Europe, South America, and Asia, and much enjoyed a trip to Reykjavik, Iceland, where Mr. Levy’s grandson Gabriel was married in 2005. They also shared a passionate interest in opera and theater.
Although he grew less mobile in recent years, Mr. Levy remained social, sharing dinners, taking in the HD Metropolitan Opera performances at Guild Hall in East Hampton and movies at the Sag Harbor Cinema, and playing dominoes at home. He also continued to volunteer one day each week at The Retreat thrift store in Bridgehampton, which raises money for victims of domestic violence. He had volunteered for many years at the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in Wainscott as well.
“Due to his warmth and easy engagement, people enjoyed his company and welcomed his friendship,” his family wrote. “Most of all, Lee was a dear friend to the many people who cherished his warmth, humor and enthusiasm, which on some occasions approach?ed the outrageous. Until the very end, Lee had a zest for life.”
A private family service was held on July 24 at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. Memorial donations have been suggested to The Retreat, 13 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton 11937.