Martin Levit died August 31, 1999, at Menorah Medical Center of renal cancer. He donated his body to the University of Kansas Medical Center for research and instruction. A memorial service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, September 11, at All Souls Unitarian Church. Kindly omit flowers.
Marty was born April 1, 1918, in Chicago, IL. He attended the University of Chicago where he received his B.A. in philosophy and psychology in 1939 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In the summer of 1940, he played semi-pro baseball for the Chicago Cubs’ farm team. Marty enlisted in the Marine Corps in the fall of 1940, joined the Third Raider Battalion and spent three and a half years in combat areas in the South Pacific. He earned two Purple Hearts, the Silver Star and the Navy Cross, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. After returning from the South Pacific, he taught for two years at the Marine Corps Command Staff School at Quantico, VA. On March 10, 1944, Marty married Marjory Goodman. They were married until her death in 1978. Marty returned to the University of Chicago, where he received his master’s in philosophy and history in 1947, and his PH.D in philosophy and education in 1949, summa cum laude. Marty taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas for almost 40 years. At UMKC, he held joint appointments in the philosophy and education departments. Always a renegade, Marty was proud to have been investigated by the House Un-American Activities Commission during the Red Scare of the 1950s. Marty attained an international reputation in the philosophy of education and in 1966 he was elected president of the Philosophy in Education Society. During sabbaticals, Marty taught at the universities of London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, British-Vancouver and Utrecht, Northwestern, the University of California-Davis, and the University of Washington. A careful and dedicated scholar, Marty wrote two books and over 100 professional articles during his academic career. In 1975-76, he was president of the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors. In 1984, the University of Missouri awarded Marty the Thomas Jefferson Award. In 1985, he received the John Dewey Award from the American Humanistic Association. Marty retired from UMKC in 1988 and devoted his later years to hi beloved grandchildren and to social justice and peace activities., including Veterans For Peace, Nuclear Weapons Freeze Coalition, Interfaith Peace Alliance, American Friends Service Committee, GLAAD, Human Rights Project, World Federalists, and Common Cause. He was a member of the board of All Souls Unitarian Church and served on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri. He leaves his daughter, Nancy Levit and son-in-law, Tim Geary; son, Stephen Levit and daughter-in-law, Maria Levit; grandchildren Aaron Martin Geary and Dylan Elizabeth Geary; and brothers and sisters-in-law, Edward and Arline Levit and Norman and Lila Levit. He also leaves dear friends and the thousands of students who enriched his life.
Historian’s note: To date there is no evidence to confirm that Capt. Levit was ever award the Navy Cross.