Armchair linguist Verne Blevins, 71
Vernon “Verne” Blevins, 71, lifelong resident of Martinsville, Va., died Tuesday at his home. He graduated from Martinsville High School, where friends say he first began to cultivate the xenophobia that would dominate much of the rest of his life. Blevins’ signature fear and hatred of foreigners accompanied a silver tongue that was never hesitant to deliver an epithet, slur or hurtful affront.
“He sure could peddle the pejoratives,” noted the deceased’s cousin and childhood friend, Rusty Blevins. “He would disparage a banana for bein’ yellow, and then he’d throw it away if he found out it came from somewhere other than the northern 48. I guess everyone has their idiosyncrasies.”
Blevins is predeceased by his parents; his wife, Ruth (2009) and the couple’s dog, Freedom (2010), which he reportedly shot after learning it was half-German shepherd.
Beloved grandmother Irene Levenstein, 89
Irene Levenstein, 89, of Eatontown, NJ, died Sunday at the Brandywine Manor Assisted Living Facility. A native of Patchogue, NY, Levenstein was born to Ethel and Hiram Levenstein, who relocated his growing family to Long Branch in 1941. A doting and beloved grandmother to 13 grandchildren, Levenstein remained until her death a primary suspect in the August 1964 kidnapping and ritual killing of Leon “Pork Chop” Wilkins, a part-time musician and drifter last seen performing yard work on the palatial West Long Branch estate Levenstein and her husband purchased in 1960.
Levenstein is predeceased by her parents, her husband, Ara Levenstein (1988), and a son, Ara, Jr. (1999). She is survived by her three daughters, Debra Levenstein Richards of Rye, NY; Susan Levenstein-Smith of Los Angeles, Calif.; Sara Levenstein Gold of Rye, NY; 13 grandchildren; and the near certainty that she played an integral role in the abduction and subsequent murder of a skillful jazz man-cum-landscaper.
Dream of realizing potential, 31
Alex Pennyfeather’s dream of realizing his once-considerable potential died Monday in a nondescript conference room in Bethesda, Md. The 31-year-old dream had suffered considerable setbacks in recent years, beginning with Pennyfeather’s marriage to high school sweetheart, Vanessa Perry, in 2009. A subsequent purchase of a home the couple could not afford further hastened the demise of the dream, the prognosis of which grew even more desperate with the birth of the couple’s first child, a daughter named Haylee, in 2011. The arrival of the couple’s second child, a boy named Tanner, in 2013 further compromised the dream, which officially died upon Pennyfeather’s acceptance of a promotion to middle management at the pharmaceutical supply firm where the once-aspiring screenwriter has worked since 2006.
The dream is predeceased by Pennyfeather’s will to live, love for his family and once-staunch belief that hard work is its own reward. The dream is survived by Pennyfeather’s faith that death will one day offer its cold, bony hand and deliver the type of sweet release he admittedly is too weak and frightened to provide for himself.