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S. Jay Levy, Class of 1938

S. Jay Levy passed away on October 4, 2012. He was a noted economist and forecaster for nearly seven decades, most recently as partner of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, LLC.
Jay was born on May 31, 1922 in New York City. After graduating from Townsend Harris, he earned a bachelor’s degree from City College. In 1948, he met Barbara J. Henly with whom he shared 63 years of devoted marriage before she passed away in March of this year. The son of Jerome Levy, a maverick economic theorist, Jay and his late brother, financier and philanthropist Leon Levy, grew up with their father’s economic perspective and preoccupation with ethics. In 1949 Jay founded Industry Forecast, which continues to this day as The Levy Forecast, the oldest publication focused on analyzing and forecasting U.S. economic conditions. He was also a consultant to major corporations and financial institutions, eventually joined in the business by his son David. Jay achieved a remarkable record of calling business cycle turning points, prompting a Barron’s editorial to dub him “the Doughty Maverick” in 1959.

Throughout his career Jay was sought out for commentary by public officials, private corporations, and the news media. He testified before Congress and met with high-level congressional, administration, and Federal Reserve officials to discuss economic policy and to provide analysis of economic conditions. He authored many monographs, articles, and columns as well as coauthoring a book, Profits and the Future of American Society (Harper Collins, 1983), with son David. He taught courses and lectured on economic topics. In 1986, Jay became chairman of the Jerome Levy Economics Institute at Bard College, until leaving in 2001 with David as the Forecasting Center returned to the business sector.

Throughout his life Jay supported his community and country through active participation in civic and educational activities. He served on the Academic Freedom Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union and involved himself in numerous other organizations. Guided by his strong convictions about democratic principles, freedom of expression, and humanitarian causes, he gave financial support to a broad range of charities and causes. His family and friends remember him for his kindness, generosity, and quiet sense of humor. He is survived by his children, Ann Levy; David A Levy and his wife Judith Butler; and Joshua R. Levy and his wife Pam Magnuson. He is also survived by his grandchildren Claire Levy, Hannah Levy, Noah Simms-Levy, and Alice Levy. A memorial service will be held at Temple Beth El, Chappaqua, NY at 2:00pm on Sunday, October 14. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to The City College of New York or a cause he would have valued.

Reprinted from the New York Times, October 7, 2012.