Home » Updates » Friends and Family » In Memoriam: Lenore McMullen Levin (February 15, 1957 – February 6, 2023)

In Memoriam: Lenore McMullen Levin (February 15, 1957 – February 6, 2023)

ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Lenore McMullen Levin, a leader in the Northern Virginia Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement. Her son, Stephen Levin, reported that she died peacefully the evening of Monday, February 6, 2023. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time on behalf of the disability community,” said Dominique Dunford-Lack, ECNV Executive Director.

Lenore’s affiliation with ECNV began in 1999 when she started attending a women’s peer support group led by former ECNV Peer Counselor Vivian Boyd. Lenore always credited Vivian with assisting her through a difficult period when she was trying to learn to live independently having acquired a brain injury and triplegia following a massive stroke during brain surgery.

In 2003, Lenore helped start ECNV’s cross-disability advocacy group known as Northern Virginia disability Advocates. She led efforts to advocate for better Metro Access service, including testifying before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Each year she helped plan for and participated in trips to Richmond to meet with state legislators and attend budget hearings to speak in support of more funding for centers for independent living and other services needed by the disability community. She also supported the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and worked very hard to secure funding for a consumer-directed, national program for personal assistance services.

Upon hearing of Lenore’s passing, Michael Cooper who was ECNV Executive Director from 1995-2007 recalled, “She was a great advocate and I always appreciated Lenore’s enthusiastic support for the work of ECNV.” He reflected, for example, the instrumental role she played in securing state funding needed by ECNV to start a CIL satellite office in Loudoun, including taking a lead in a meeting with State Senator Janet Howell, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.

“I remember that Lenore was always up for any advocacy that was needed,” Michael said. “Lenore was, and is, our secret ingredient,” he continued, “and, she remained steadfastly focused towards doing whatever work was necessary for success.”

Steve Yaffe, a former ECNV Board Member, recalled that Lenore always spoke with knowledge and passion. He and Lenore were co-moderators for a State legislators’ candidate forum that ECNV’s advocacy group held in October 2007.

As a member of ECNV’s Board of Directors from 2007-2013, Lenore’s energies turned toward fund raising and resource development, but she also contributed to ECNV’s advocacy and outreach efforts, and she never failed to volunteer to staff our fair booths at the Arlington and Fairfax County Fairs. She loved exploring new ideas and opportunities!

Bryna Helfer, who also served with Lenore on the ECNV Board of Directors, and is now an Arlington County Assistant County Manager, summarized the thoughts and feelings of those us who knew her. “Lenore was an amazing advocate for people with disabilities. Lenore always brought passion and energy to the room – creating opportunities for people to learn from one another and strengthen their connections on common interests. She will be missed and hope that we will all hold her memories close.”

Lenore will be laid to rest on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. A graveside memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. at Riverview Cemetery at 1701 Chesapeake Street in Charlottesville, VA 22902. The memorial service will be followed by a celebration of life at The Space Downtown at 201 W. Water Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests considering donating to the National Disability Rights Network or to the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV).

To read her obituary see https://www.hillandwood.com/obituaries/Lenore-McMullen-Levin?obId=27221640#/obituaryInfo