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Estacada woman honored as survivor spouse of fallen officer

by: CONTRIBUTED - Neva Levinson, center, was honored during the annual Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Survivors and Family Luncheon in Salem, May 6.Estacada resident Neva Levinson was honored during the annual Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Survivors and Family Luncheon in Salem, May 6.

Levinson was presented with a print of a black and white charcoal drawing of the Memorial Wall of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training Academy in Salem in honor of her husband, Oregon State Police Trooper William Levinson, who died while on duty in 1950.

Neva is the oldest living spouse survivor of a police officer killed in the line of duty in Oregon.

Gov. John Kitzhaber was the keynote speaker at the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial, which followed the private luncheon.

Three days earlier, Kitzhaber had signed House Bill 4120, which allows the children of reserve officers and volunteer firefighters killed or disabled in the line of duty to be eligible for scholarships offered to public safety officers killed or injured in the line of duty.

Neva quietly noted that how police survivors are treated in Oregon has drastically changed for the better over the years.

According to the Oregon State Police Memorial website, on Sept. 7, 1950, William offered to deliver a daily stolen automobile report to the Salem Police Department.

Witnesses saw Trooper Levinson having trouble with his police motorcycle.

The motorcycle lurched forward, crashing William into a passing train, killing him instantly. He was 25-years-old.

Neva, a 24-year-old widow, was left with two small children and just $112 a month in social security payments to live on.

She recounted how it took her years after her husband’s death to collect benefits.

Neva spoke of the effort and action it took to improve the way police survivors are treated in Oregon.

“I would just like more people to know what’s going on and what small town people can do,” she said.

Neva is a member of the Oregon chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).



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