Mimi Levitt: As Season Begins, Remembering A Golf Legend

Alert “06880” reader and avid golfer Dee Andrian writes:

The other day, I was among the throng of people at the University Club in New York to celebrate the life of Mimi Levitt. [The longtime Westporter — an arts and historic preservation benefactor, and namesake with her husband of the pavilion that has provided free summer entertainment here for over 40 years — — died in January. She was 97.]

What a celebration it was!

The main dining room was filled with love, laughter and tears as we listened to Mimi’s family and friends recall their memories of this remarkable woman. The sound of music in the room was a special part of the scene.

We heard tributes to Mimi’s love of family, art, love music and people as well.

But one love was not mentioned: her love for the game of golf.

I met Mimi when I joined the Longshore Women’s Golf Association in 1980.  When my husband dear husband Jim retired, he suggested I learn to play golf, because he didn’t want to play only with the guys.

At the age of 50, I was introduced to golf. I loved it.

The LWGA holds tournaments every Tuesday, April through October. One fateful Tuesday I was in a foursome with Mimi Levitt — a former LWGA club champion.  It was a team effort, and I had fun.

When she called and asked me to join her foursome, I was surprised. I was just learning to play.

But I recall vividly that after I teed off on the 3rd hole, Mimi said in her Viennese accent, “Dee darling, we have decided: You have potential. As long as you don’t slow us up, you can play with anybody.”

And play we did. Mimi was my first of several special mentors. She taught me the art of golf, the rules, the etiquette.

This Westport News photo from July 1985 shows Mimi Levitt (4th from left) and Dee Andrian (7th from left). The caption says the knee socks were an LWGA tradition.

She was a keen competitor as well, so our rounds were fun but seriously played. My beginner’s handicap was 44. But it quickly dropped way down.

The LWGA was founded in 1960, and Mimi was one of the pioneers. Her love of the game was contagious, and she passed it on to others. Our days on the golf course will remain with me always.

I especially remember after a round of 18 holes on a hot summer day, walking into the Inn for lunch. I kept my visor on over my sweaty hair, and my golf togs were wrinkled.

Then Mimi walked in, looking like she just arrived from the beauty salon.

She was so cool, so elegant — just like her golf swing.

Elegant is the way I will remember Mimi “fore-ever.”

Our LWGA tournaments began this month. As I teed off for my first drive, I thought of her.

5 responses to “Mimi Levitt: As Season Begins, Remembering A Golf Legend

  1. Jack Backiel

    My parents lived two houses away from the Levitts, at 114 South Morningside Drive, and we owned a golf driving range a few miles away. My father knew most, if not all, of the golf pros from the surrounding area, and my life growing up was golf. In spite of living two houses away, I personally never met the Levitts, and I don’t think my parents ever did either.

  2. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I met Mimi Leavitt when I played golf in the Longshore Women’s Golf Assoc. during the summers I was in high school, probably ’65, 66, and ’67. All the ladies were so kind to me and mentored me. They even invited me in to lunch after our golf at ladies day. We had a lot of fun.

    • Bonnie Connolly

      I especially remember Mimi, Mary Mogren, Barbara Young, Betty Enright and many more my brain is not remembering at the moment. I learned how to play from George Buck and those fundamentals have stayed with me to this day.

  3. Jill K. Alcott

    A wonderful story and tribute to an extraordinary woman. Thank you.

  4. Diane Johnson

    Mimi & Mortimer Levitt continue blessing many through the Levitt Foundation. Our younger daughter lives in downtown Dayton, which has seen a much-needed urban renewal. Like Westport, Dayton has recently completed construction of a stunning, state-of-the art library that alone would impress, but just around the corner is Dayton’s very own Levitt Pavilion, built in partnership with the Levitt Foundation. In an attempt to revitalize many depressed cities, the Levitt Foundation partners with communities to build permanent, outdoor concert venues. In fact, there are six other Levitt Pavilions in addition to Dayton’s, and 18 grant-recipient locations providing free concerts at existing locations. Very impressive indeed; see more details here: https://levitt.org/locations