Bob Levine is a man of many loves.
First and foremost, of course, is his love for his wife, Kathy Sonderman, who passed away in 2020. Kathy developed Parkinson’sDisease at a relatively young age and Bob supported her and later took care of her, in all for 36 years.
Bob and his wife Kathy
“You ask what else is important to me,” Bob says. “What’s important is my house. We both loved our house, a four-story brownstone on Ninth Street. It was built in 1885 and still had many of the original features when we bought it in 1976, like the parquet floor under the linoleum. But it needed a total renovation.” They started working on it immediately and were married there a year later. “I had to cover a gaping hole in the living room floor with Masonite and place a table over it so people wouldn’t fall through into the basement,” he said. “Kathy made a chocolate cake for our 20 wedding guests.“
Through the years, no love was spared on the house. They managed the renovation together and recently Bob began the process all over again. “I have become a self-taught woodworker, plumber and electrician, whatever was needed to get the job done. And the house will always remain in the family,” Bob said. It has all been arranged. One of their two children, both of whom live in Brooklyn, will inherit the first two floors and the other the upper two.
“Another love is Brooklyn,” he said. “I’m a second- generation Brooklynite and I’m fascinated by its history.” Bob has become well-known for his collection of old Brooklyn postcards, magazines, newspapers and other memorabilia. “I picked up a few postcards at a yard sale and I’ve been collecting them ever since.“ Many are of Prospect Park. The Prospect Park Alliance has scanned them into its archives.
Not surprisingly, Bob is a long-time member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 and chaired its Landmarks Committee. He’s also a photographer—you may remember the photos Bob took of the Garden Club party. And he’s a potter. His wife’s ashes are in a pot he made. You can read about Kathy in the We Remember section on the Good Neighbors web site. Both Bob and his wife were Special Education teachers. Bob became a teacher trainer.
Bob has been a member of Good Neighbors for about three years. He was drawn to the organization because it offered a chance to meet more neighbors. He’s a member of the new bird watching group which gives him the opportunity to take nature photographs and he hopes to be able to give illustrated talks on-- guess what -- his beloved Brooklyn.
Submitted by Ruth Gastel
One of Bob's many photographs of Prospect Park