Obituary of Rita D. Levay
Dr. Rita D. (Cashimere) Levay, 76, Slingerlands, beloved sister, aunt, mentor, friend and advocate for children, passed away on February 8th, from COVID-19.
Rita was born in Olean, NY on June 1, 1944, daughter of Edward M. and Elva Ek Cashimere. She graduated from Olean High School in 1962, having been a member of Olean’s first advanced placement class.
Rita earned her bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology from State University College of Buffalo, her master’s in Speech Pathology and Early Childhood Education from State University College of Fredonia and her doctorate in Educational Leadership, in 2012, from Sage Graduate School.
Rita was recruited and worked for 18 years and in many roles for the New York State Education Department, her last role was as Assistant Commissioner for Special Education. She then championed the needs of children in the Bethlehem, Schenectady and Capital Region BOCES and acted as a consultant in almost a dozen other school districts. Rita, a distinguished educator, could not walk into an establishment in the Capital Region without grateful parents approaching her to say thank you for saving their children and guiding them to successful lives.
Rita lost her beloved husband, Jim, of nearly 45 years in 2018. They met during their careers in education in California and moved back to Rita’s home state of New York.
Rita is survived by sisters Nancy Cashimere Walsh (Richard Hellmer) and Jane Cashimere Johnson, as well as beloved nieces Courtney Walsh, Jessica Johnson, Meghan Walsh Heister, and nephew Michael Johnson. She is also survived by grandnieces Madeline and Sophia Heister and grandnephew Daniel Heister, with whom she shared her love of children’s literature, many loving friends and her adored Airedale “Renny”.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at 10 a.m. at Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa Church, 250 Maxwell Rd, Latham, NY 12110. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Rita D. Levay to Child and Adolescent Treatment Services at The Foundation for Ellis Medicine, 1101 Nott Street, Schenectady, NY 12308. Condolences may be shared at www.ApplebeeFuneralHome.com.