Tribute: John Dennis Levi

Ken AshfordBlogging1 Comment


2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, over 2,996 volunteer bloggers
join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives.

THE SEVENTH SENSE is proud to pay tribute to JOHN DENNIS LEVI


LevijohnJohn Dennis "JD" Levi, age 50 of Lexington, NY, died on September 11th, 2001 while heroically performing his duties as a Police Officer for the NY & NJ Port Authority.

He was the beloved son of Johanna; devoted father of Dennis and Jennifer; cherished Pop-Pop to Katerina.

Funeral services Saturday, December 15, 2001 9:45AM from the D.J. Schaefer Funeral Home, 4123 4th Avenue, Bklyn. Mass of the Resurrection 10:15AM St. Michael’s RC Church. Visitation Friday 2-5 and 7-9PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Port Authority WTC Disaster Survivors Fund, c/o Port Authority Police Benevolent Assoc., 611 Palisade Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632.


Levi_1A Cop Who Rode a Harley

Debralee Scott walked into the Greenwich Village bar Hogs & Heifers on Dec. 15, 1995, and there he was — a cop who rode a Harley. The rugged, tattooed man who wore a cowboy hat asked her to dinner. "It was love at first sight," said Ms. Scott, an actress.

Five years later, on a cross-country trip, John Dennis Levi, a police officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, proposed to her in a hotel room in Winslow, Ariz., the town mentioned in an Eagles song. It was to be a March wedding.

But he took the call for overtime at 6 a.m. on Sept. 11, because he liked to be with her on the weekends. He called her when the first plane hit. He called again from the basement of the World Trade Center, as he searched for evidence.

He was thoughtful like that. He even made a beauty parlor for his mother, Joanne Priavity, below her Brooklyn home. He loved his children, Dennis, 23, and Jennifer, 26. "He’d like a lot of bikes at his funeral," said Michelle Dell, the Hogs & Heifers owner. "He’d really like that."

– Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 26, 2001.


Building to Make Things Better Was His Passion

John Levi, a Port Authority police officer by trade but a carpenter at heart, was about to finish the final step in remodeling his childhood home: applying wallpaper to the bathroom.

But after Sept. 11, Levi’s fiancee, Debralee Scott, and his mother, Johanna, will do the work with their own hands.

Levi’s hands built his mother’s beauty parlor, Jean’s Nails, on the first floor of the house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It took two years.

"He made the cabinets, the floor, the whole thing," his mother said. He was a nice kid who never got into trouble, she said.

"I lost a good son," she said. Her favorite picture of him is during his first Communion. "He was very good in everything," she said.

Levi always took good care of his mother, his fiancee said, and he enjoyed spending time with his grown children, Jennifer, 27, and Dennis, 23, and with Jennifer’s daughter, Katarina, 5.

Levi was a mechanic at the Holland Tunnel before he became a Port Authority police officer 16 years ago. His family said he was recently lauded for helping to capture a shooting suspect arriving in New York City on a bus from Boston.

Outside of work, family members said, Levi was a Harley-Davidson buff who ran a small motorcycle repair place and enjoyed hanging out at Hogs and Heifers, a downtown bar where he met Scott, a television actress.

They first ran into each other five years ago, before Scott moved to Los Angeles. They ran into each other again "by fate" last year, Scott said.

In March, the two drove east across the country together, traveling along Route 66 and "staying in bad motels."

Back in New York, the pair worked on fixing up their place, a floor of Levi’s childhood home.

"It was sort of a man apartment" when she moved in, Scott said. But with her decorating taste and his skill and love for repairing things, the couple was able to turn the apartment into a home, leaving only one little thing to finish.

In their last conversation, Levi told Scott he was in the basement of the World Trade Center, collecting evidence and clearing some debris before the second plane hit.

No one’s heard from him since.

The wallpaper – impressionistic strokes of pastel colors – will be put up by Levi’s mother, Johanna Levi, 83, and Scott, 48.

Doing the project will be "a statement of doing it together, of solidarity," Scott said. "She and I are pretty capable so I think we can pull it together."

Devi Athiappan (Newsday)

Debraleescott3_1FOOTNOTE: Some of you might remember John Levi’s fiancee — Debralee Scott — as the younger sister of Louise Lasser in the 1970’s cult hit TV show "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" or as "Hotsy" Totzi in the first season of "Welcome Back Kotter".  (Pictured at the right is Ms. Scott on one of her many appearances on "Match Game").

In March 2005, Ms. Scott collapsed into a coma for several days.  After her recovery, she was released from the hospital.  Then, on April 5, 2005, she went to take a nap, and never woke up.  Her autopsy was inconclusive.   

Is she with him now, on the back of a Harley?  I don’t doubt it one bit.




Commenter Email and IP address is in file

12/02/2001 9:47:02 PM

I will miss my friend’s pat on the back and big hug I received from him every single time we saw each other. I met J.D. 4 years ago, it was my very first visit to NYC. I was beside myself when I found out he was missing, and still miss him very much everytime I enter the place where he loved to hang out and relax. He died a hero and will always be a hero to me. I will miss you.


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06/06/2003 1:02:26 AM

John, it’s still to this day hard and unfair our family found you just as you were taken from us. Im blessed we were able to spend some time together. I will never forget the day I met the uncle I never know I had. You are a wonderful person and you will remain a part of me as you always did. May God hold you in the palm of his hands until we meet again.

Brenda Lee

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09/12/2003 6:34:36 AM

J.D. – remember, I always called you "Cowboy"? We were counting the days to retirement. If I wanted to know how many were left, you had that magic number. Remember the academy? Shouldn’t admit this to anyone, but we had fun in the learning process. My classmate/friend. You will always have a special place in my heart. Never to be forgotten. To your family, know that he impacted many a persons life with his smile/specialness.

Dave Podesta

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09/13/2003 2:13:57 AM

Oh, God, J.D., where do I start? We worked together at the Bus Terminal for
umpteen or so years and you were always there to watch my back. I did the same for you. I remember your Harley plate # BT BUM. We were all BT Bums weren’t we? "The un-promotables" they called our crowd. Why? Because we did our jobs in a no-nonsense way. Remember when we "took back the terminal"? What did we get for the effort. A paperweight. Remember that? I cried like a baby at your service. It’s been 2 years already and it still hurts like it was yesterday. I will always remember your wit, your humor and your laid-back attitude. Do me a favor, OK? Put in a good word for this BT Bum with the MAN. I know you’re up there. You died doing your job-but way-way beyond the call of duty. You couldn’t be anywhere else. I’ll be seeing you, Cowboy.

Vincent Epifanio

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01/24/2004 2:37:46 AM


I never knew you as a person on earth. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR SOUL. Thank You for your sacrifice. I will always pray for you.

sydney willis

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07/12/2005 9:04:00 AM

i work with john at the bus terminal he was a great person i think about him every time i go to the terminal still miss his smile