Remembering Ed Levin

It was with much sadness and regret that I’d learned the news this past weekend of the sudden loss of Ed Levin. Ed was a timber framing luminary; one of a small number of folks responsible for the revival of timber framing as both a traditional craft and commercial trade, back in the 1970s.

I can’t say I really knew Ed personally, although I’d met him at a past TTRAG symposium. But I’ve read a great many of his articles, and I’m familiar with his myriad contributions to timber framing, as they’re covered in many of my timber framing books and journals.

Image of Ed Levin in the 1970s .

Ed Levin in the 1970s (Image Source: Ken Rower / Timber Framers Guild).

In an email released by the Timber Framers Guild on Saturday, Ken Rower described Ed as “a careful craftsman, lay engineer, exacting frame designer, principal founder of the Guild, and early adopter of CAD”, and as having introduced his colleagues to the esoterica of early timber framing, including “…the medieval roots of western timber frame design, compound roof joinery, and French scribe layout methods”.

He went on to say how after retirement from active framing, Ed became “…a timber framer’s timber framer, for twenty years, solving countless design and joinery questions for other craftsmen.”

Clearly, Ed with be sorely missed. Ken’s email stated that a full tribute is being planned for the October issue of Scantlings, the Timber Framers Guild newsletter.

Postscript

A memorial service to honor Ed Levin will be held September 7, 2 pm, at Green Woodlands, in Dorchester, N.H. Please RSVP Ken Rower.

For a far better remembrance than I could ever hope to write, please see the Timber Framers Guild’s memoriam of Ed.

I’d just received (at noon on 31 August 2013), from Jay C. White Cloud, a copy of this letter from Ed’s wife. Here it is, in its entirety:

Dear Friends of Ed,
 
I am sorry to bring you very sad news – Ed Levin passed away suddenly on August 22nd.  Ed’s death was completely unexpected, and presumed to be caused by a pulmonary embolism, a probable complication from an otherwise uneventful recovery from hip replacement surgery. He had just had his 6 week followup visit with his surgeon. As he left the hospital he felt mild pain and numbness in his leg and returned immediately to the emergency room, then collapsed suddenly as he was walking up and down the hall, being evaluated for his gait. He was clearly in the best possible place to be saved, but unfortunately it was not possible. 
 
I have enclosed Ed’s obituary and directions to his memorial service, which will take place on September 7th in New Hampshire. The service will consist of comments from family, friends, and colleagues. If you wish to speak, please contact Ken Rower (kenrower@myfairpoint.net), who is organizing the program. Also, Ed’s daughter Cora commented  that “ a room full of timber framers in suits doesn’t feel very Ed-like to me”, so if you come, please consider wearing suspenders :-)
 
I have tried to identify names in Ed’s list of contacts who were not professional colleagues in the Timber Framers Guild to include in this message. If you think of others who should know about Ed’s passing (for example, other members of the Wooden Shoe, whose addresses I don’t have), please forward this information to them.
 
Ed was the kindest man I ever knew. I was so lucky have him as my husband, and to raise our children together.
 
Sincerely,
Nancy

 

ED LEVIN MEMORIAL SERVICE  (via Jay C. White Cloud; Please RSVP Ken Rower if you plan to attend)
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013
2:00 PM
GREEN WOODLANDS BARN HOUSE, DORCHESTER, N.H.From Boston or Manchester:

Head north on I-93
Take Exit 26 toward Plymouth
Merge onto NH 3A/S (Tenney Mt. Hwy), go 4.0 mi
At traffic circle, take 1st exit onto NH 25 W (Mt. Moosilauke Hwy), go 7.5 mi
Turn left onto NH 118 S, go 2.3 mi
Turn right onto Hearse House Rd, go 1 mi to end
Turn right onto Bickford Woods Rd, go 1.3 mi to end
Turn left onto North Dorchester Rd, go 2.4 mi
Turn right about 1000 yards past Thayer Rd at the Green Woodlands sign. Follow Green Woodlands signs on internal roads for about 4 mi to Barn House on Cummins Pond.

From Canaan, N. H. (US Route 4):

1. Head north on NH 118 into Dorchester
2. Left on North Dorchester Road, go about 3+ miles (don’t turn on Cummins Pond
Road)
3. Left at large Green Woodlands sign with red metal gate
4. If you pass Thayer Road, turn around (entrance is 1000 yards south of Thayer Rd)
5. Follow signs on internal Green Woodlands Roads approximately 4 mi to Barn House

From Lyme, N. H. (NH 10):

1. Head north on NH 10 through Lyme village and bear right onto Dorchester Rd at
Lyme Congregational Church at end of rectangular common (if coming south, fork
left off main road at back of church and turn left at end of carriage sheds)
2. Proceed on Dorchester Rd for 3 mi and take left at dirt continuation of
Dorchester Rd (if you see the Dartmouth Skiway turn around — you missed the dirt
continuation of Dorchester Rd)
3. Proceed 4.5 mi past Reservoir Pond until you see a large Road Closed sign
4. High-clearance vehicles—trucks or SUVs, not cars—can make the next mile, slowly
and carefully, to Barn House (or you can walk the last mile)

Telephone at Barn House 603-795-2718.

 

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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5 Responses to Remembering Ed Levin

  1. Thanks John for doing this and our chat on the phone…I miss Ed already. I found a reason on almost every vintage frame to give him a call just to say what do you think? and have a chat. Words can’t express my ongoing sorrow…

    • John Poole says:

      Hi Jay,

      I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I realize Ed was a great friend and colleague of yours for several decades, and the void left behind must be unbearable for you. I’m not what else to say, except to keep in mind how fortunate you were to have known and worked with Ed for so many years, and always keep his memory alive in your heart. Please feel free to chat anytime. It’s important to do so.

      ~ John

  2. Sharon H. LaBombard says:

    For several years my husband and I had a “party-line” with Ed. . . They had the double ring; we had the single. . . Ernie would walk down the hill, past the blacksmith shop on his way to work at Eds. . . My first child was born in the “little octagonal house” 36 years ago, almost to the day on the 8th . . . Two decades of memories are falling like the birch leaves this September day as I think of Ed. Peace Ed. You can finally stop struggling with those glasses…..

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