Jan 4, 2013 2:20 PM

Tucson icon Lee Levitz dies

Obituary and photos provided by Kathi Levitz.

Lee Levitz, a Tucson Icon and television & radio personality, died on New Year's Day in her home of natural causes surrounded by loved ones. Lee was one of the owners of Sam Levitz Furniture which is owned and operated by her son Sam R. Levitz. Lee was married for 42 years to Sam Levitz, the creator of the "Warehouse Direct To You" concept of retailing. He died in 2005.

Mrs. Levitz, who was known as Lee, was born Frances Lee LaBelle DeWade in St. Louis, Missouri, oldest of 4 children. At age 4 she started school in a 1 room country school taught by her Aunt, entering College at 15. At 12 she had her own radio show performing as a country singer, was a top model at the Ford modeling agency, a Coca-Cola girl in the mid-fifties, a stand in for Marilyn Monroe, and hostess of a live TV talk and variety show and a children's show.

She moved to Phoenix, Az. in 1951. In 1964 she moved to Tucson as Sam Levitz' bride becoming active in the family's furniture business, as head of marketing and advertising and as the company spokesperson. Generations of Tucsonan's grew up watching Lee on TV with her positive energy, great smile and true professionalism.

Lee loved the outdoors, was an accomplished watercolor artist, guitarist, world class hunter, multi-engine instrument rated private airplane pilot and a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She loved her dogs and raised championship Cocker Spaniels and Shar-Peis. Lee always had time to help and the heart to heal when someone was in need with her beautiful "light up the room" smile and encouraging words.

Lee was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Sam, his son, Saylor Levitz and her twin daughters Joanne and Joyce. She is survived by her brother, Clarence DeWade, her daughters, Sherry (Ed) Stewart, Kandie (Drew) Vactor, Suzanne (Ron) Payton, Kathi (Chuck) Peters, and her sons Sam R. (Valerie) Levitz and Andy Levitz.

Fourteen Grandchildren include Kathryn Levitz (Fred) Greene, Charlotte Watson, Jennifer (John Peck) Levitz, Milissa Easter, Cheynne Easter Copeland, Elissa (Marvin) David, Saundra Levitz, Lindsay Levitz (Brendan) Burke, Amber Levitz, Kelly (Nate) Peper, Michael Payton, Robert Levitz, Andrew Levitz and Aaron Levitz.

Ten Great-Grandchildren include Ken Easter Copeland, Thomas Corso, Roxanne Copeland, Jessica Gilbert, Leandra Easter, Jake Copeland, Kali David, Julia David, Sidney Green, and
Avery David.

We give our special thanks to her wonderful team of exceptional caregivers: Sherry Yvonne, Nancie, Patricia, Stephanie, Christina and Tom for making her life happy and comfortable.

The family will have a private service and burial. The family requests that In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to StepUpTLC.org a 501(c)3 charity founded by one of Lee's caregivers focusing on bringing smiles and fostering therapeutic healing to children and adults with special needs, at risk youth, elderly/senior groups and the terminally ill.


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