Leo Levieff of Westport, a noted ophthalmologist, died Sept. 20 at home. He was 96.
Leo Levieff: ophthalmologist. Contributed photo
He was born June 1, 1923 in Sofia, Bulgaria where he spent his formative years and attended an American Missionary school. During the height of World War II, his parents pulled him out of school and helped him get to Switzerland to escape growing anti-Semitic hostility.
While in Switzerland, he completed his schooling, and gained admission to the University of Lausanne Medical School. A committed and passionate student, Dr. Levieff received straight A’s and a perfect score in basic sciences.
Once he was granted his American visa, he arrived by ship in Hoboken, New Jersey via the New Amsterdam. Following a successful internship at Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Levieff decided to specialize in ophthalmology with an emphasis on cataract surgery.
Before starting his residency, he served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant and senior medical officer aboard the USS Upshaw.
Ultimately, Dr. Levieff opened a private practice in Stratford, enjoying a successful and robust practice for 40 years. During his time in practice, he shared his passion for learning by serving as an assistant professor at the Yale University Department of Ophthalmology. Additionally, he served as chief of ophthalmology at Bridgeport Hospital.
Raising his four children, he was a devoted and loving father. He was deeply compassionate, dedicated and highly respected among both colleagues and patients, and was always a true gentleman.
Outside of family and practicing medicine, he enjoyed watching tennis, classical and jazz music, and traveling throughout Europe and the Caribbean.
He was preceded in death by his father, Manoch, and his mother, Sarina, both of Sofia, Tel Aviv, and New York City. He is survived by his four children: Caroline, David, and Valerie, all of Westport and Philip and daughter-in-law Kate of Fairfield; his grandchildren, Madeleine, Nathan and Sophia; and his beloved Donna with whom he shared his life for 35 years.
Services will be private. A Celebration of Life will be held at a date forthcoming.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Dr. Levieff’s name to: Yale School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Please include a notation that your gift is directed to Dr. Lucian Del Priore, Chairman, discretionary use fund. Make your check payable to Yale University and send to the attention of: Sharon McManus, Director of Development, Yale School of Medicine, PO Box 7611, New Haven, CT 06519-0611.