Herbert David Levitt
August 1, 1928 - May 18, 2020
Herb Levitt was a husband, father, grandfather, newspaper reporter, court administrator, attorney, and comedian.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he moved to Detroit as a teen, and made the city his home. He served in the US Army during the Korean conflict and graduated from Wayne State University in 1950. He worked as a reporter and bureau chief for the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News from 1952 - 1962 before moving to Common Pleas Court as the Chief Administrative Officer. In 1971 he was appointed Region 1 State Supreme Court administrator and was also appointed as administrator of Detroit Traffic Court and Wayne County Circuit Court. Well-known in legal and governmental circles, he is credited with great improvements in the performance and accessibility of the Southeast Michigan courts.
In 1980 he used vacation time to work as the local liaison for the ABC News broadcast of the Republican Presidential Convention and had a similar role at the 1982 Inaugural Detroit Grand Prix.
After being told many times by judges that "you're not a lawyer so you don't understand" he started law school at age 53. Herb attended Detroit College of Law at night, and graduated and passed the bar in 1985, at which point he told the same judges "now I am a lawyer and I still don't understand!"
Once at a meeting with Mayor Coleman Young, police and anti-crime officials making suggestions about fighting crime, Herb suggested that they could cut street crime in half by doubling the number of streets. The mayor was not amused.
Herb retired from the court system in 1992, going out at a bash attended by about 400 of his closest friends. He practiced law in "retirement" and specialized in criminal defense and juvenile law. He took great pride in mounting an actual defense of his clients instead of a quick plea bargain and in trying to do the most he could for the juveniles he represented.
Herb along with friends Ed Jacoby, Jim Ransom, and Joe Hartmann founded the Most Holy Trinity smelt fry in 1959, a charitable event benefitting the church school which still continues 60 years later.
He was a great and vocal supporter of civil rights and women's rights and did his best to elevate everybody he knew, regardless of race or gender.
Herb was a loving grandfather and was a friend, supporter, and mentor to Samantha, Emma and James. He is survived by his wife Jacqueline, sons Michael and Daniel and their wives Colleen and Cristina, and his sister Rosalind Plantikow.
He will also be remembered with love by friends and family too numerous to mention. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
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