Barbara Reade Levings, 97, passed away peacefully on February 19, 2023 at North Hill in Needham, MA. Born in New Orleans, the daughter of Ralph and Gertrude Kemp Reade, she graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL and Wellesley College in 1947. Always living in the Boston area, she eventually settled in Wellesley in 1957, where she lived until 2000 when she moved to North Hill.
Wellesley College reinforced Barbara’s innate love of learning and education and continued to be her major focus for the rest of her life. Both she and the College benefitted by this dedication. Mrs. Levings served on the Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1990, where she played an active leadership role on numerous committees. She was on the Board of Directors of the Wellesley Students’ Aid Society for 34 years, presiding as president for nine of them. While serving as president of the Boston Wellesley College Club, Barbara initiated the highly successful Authors on Stage series (now in its 42nd year), which raises money for the College library. She also established a network of Bed and Breakfast projects in Wellesley alumnae clubs throughout the country, co-chaired her 40th and 50th class reunions and hosted 6 international students. Not wanting to let any “spare time” go unused, Barbara audited a course at Wellesley College each semester for 35 years.
In the community, Mrs. Levings served on the Board of Deacons of the Wellesley Village Church, and dedicated time to the Wellesley Service League, Tau Beta Beta (which provides college scholarships for young women), AFS, Dana Hall Parents Committee and tutoring in the Boston Public Schools. At North Hill she was president of the Resident Council, and chaired and served on several other committees.
Always an enthusiastic traveler, Barbara visited more than 25 countries, as well as participated in Cambridge University’s summer school and Elderhostel learning programs. She was also an avid snorkeler, always looking for new coral reefs to explore. Her last snorkeling trip was to St. Thomas with her family in celebration of her 90th birthday.
Barbara is survived by her children Steven Levings of Williston, VT , Betsy Grimes and her husband Dennis of Belmont, NH., three grandchildren Christopher Grimes, Sara Fenton, Heather Howard, and 3 great-grandchildren, Lily, William and Nora. She was predeceased by another son, Douglas Levings, formerly of Chatham, MA and Edgewater, FL.
A private memorial service for friends and family will be held at North Hill. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Barbara Reade Levings Scholarship Fund at Wellesley Students’ Aid Society, Inc., at Wellesley College.
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