Deceased January 11, 2018
Joe died Jan. 11 in San Antonio, of an unexpected heart attack.
He came to Amherst from Troy (N.Y.) High School. After Amherst he attended Naval OCS, serving a five-year career—two years aboard a destroyer, followed by teaching English at the Bainbridge Naval Preparatory School. On a 1964 trip to Mexico he became fascinated with the country and its culture, staying five years, first receiving a master’s in Spanish literature, then teaching English on Mexican TV and later playing the Ricky Ricardo role in a Mexican version of I Love Lucy.
He returned to San Antonio in 1968 and taught Spanish and ESL at San Antonio College for 30 years until retirement.
In 2001 he married Martha Tanner, a still-active state district judge, at a San Antonio landmark, the Spanish Governor’s Palace.
Retirement found him an outspoken activist for liberal causes. A Martin Luther King Jr. aficionado, anti-war letter writer, environmentalist and protest marcher at the 2004 Republican Convention, this past year found him joining more than 200,000 like-minded, protesting citizens in Washington for the People’s Climate March on Trump’s 100th day in office. As a Democrat and a passionate progressive voice deep in the heart of red-state Texas, he was an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, continually bombarding editorial pages. As recently as Dec. 2, the San Antonio Express News published his letter lamenting the potentially terrifying consequences of the president’s nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea.
Joe loved skiing, tennis, the piano, reading, travel and his Mexican dog, Pepito. He is survived by his wife, Martha, and several cousins.
In his will, Joe, a proud Amherst man, left a gift to the College to be used for need-based student financial aid and a second gift to the Benjamin DeMott Memorial Fund.
A life well-lived.
Peter Levison ’56