A memorial service was held today in Congregation Havurah, Amherst, for Joan Levine, who retired last winter as executive director and founder of PreventionFocus, which offers programs to prevent drug and alcohol abuse.
Ms. Levine, 62, died Wednesday (March 22, 1995) in Buffalo General Hospital of cancer.
Ms. Levine had long been a leader in the fight for women's rights locally. She served as public affairs director for Planned Parenthood and was a founder of the Western New York Coalition for Freedom of Choice, organizing lobbying caravans to Albany and Washington.
In 1990, she established the Found Women Award to honor local women over the age of 55 for recovering from addictions and going on to help others, for creativity in reinventing their lives and for having a significant impact in the community.
She was inspired to start the award when she learned that the late Albertine Martorana, who ran the newsstand in her office building, had cared for some 200 foster children during her lifetime.
Ms. Levine, who was born in Albany and graduated from Cornell University and the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, recived many other awards throughout her career. Ms. Levine is survived by two sons, David of Washington, and Michael of Tampa, Fla.