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Zelvin Levine

Zelvin Levine, Ph.D, PE, died on Jan. 15, 2014 at his home in South Boston. 

Born on June 7, 1930 in Savannah, Ga., and raised in Estill, S.C., Levine spent nearly 30 years in the service of the U.S. Maritime Administration in Washington, D.C., until his retirement in 1999. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Levine went on to become a doctor of philosophy in chemical engineering in 1956. During his long career, he pioneered many advances in fields of atomic and nuclear energy, particularly in the shipbuilding industry.

Levine was a member of the American Nuclear Society and the Atomic Industrial Forum. He also held chairs in several organizations in his field: Chairman of the Society of Naval Architects and Maritime Engineers’ M-13 Nuclear Ships Panel; the U.S. delegation to Working Group on Nuclear-Powered Ships; the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development; the Nuclear Energy Agency; the U.S. delegation to Working Group on Safety of Nuclear-Powered Ships; and the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization.

In the mid-1950s, Levine was offered a Fulbright Scholarship, but instead went to the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology. 

Working at Babcock & Wilcox Company (1956-61), he designed the nuclear propulsion system for the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, the NS Savannah (the ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991 and serves as a museum in Baltimore’s harbor.) 

While at Martin-Marietta (then the Martin Co.), Levine was project manager of the converted Liberty ship Sturgis, the first floating nuclear power plant. 

In 1991 he was awarded the Bronze medal, the Maritime Administration’s highest honor, for outstanding performance and leadership in the agency’s research and development program.

He is survived by his wife (since 1951), Carolyn (Fluke) Levine, and their four children, Michael Gabriel, H. Lee Levine, David Levine (and wife Darlene) and Maryam Levine Scott (husband Michael Scott); and five grandchildren, Mina Levine Himelright (and fiancé Cory Majors), Brett and Evan Levine and Julia and Emily Scott. 

Levine lived in Baltimore from 1961 until 2001, when he and his wife moved to South Boston.  

He was buried on Jan. 20, 2014 at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Ga.