Rebecca H.C. Levering, 76, bridge teacher, life master


Rebecca H.C. Levering, a certified bridge instructor and life master of the card game who shared her passion for it with students and players for more than four decades, died of complications from a stroke Nov. 9 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 76.

Born Rebecca Hopkins Cromwell and raised in Ruxton, she was a great-great-great-grandniece of Johns Hopkins, the Baltimore philanthropist.

Mrs. Levering spent childhood summers at her grandfather's Rocky Beach Farm -- now Anne Arundel County's Downs Park, on the Chesapeake Bay in Pasadena.

While a student at Roland Park Country School, from which she graduated in 1947, she began writing for the school newspaper, and at 14 became a correspondent for the Towson Flyer, later the Towson Times.

She made her debut at the Bachelors Cotillon in 1947, and the next year married her high school sweetheart, C. Tilghman Levering, who was a student at William & Mary College. From 1948 to 1950, when she and her husband returned to Baltimore, Mrs. Levering worked in the accounting department of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and as a librarian at William & Mary.

While Mrs. Levering was raising her three children in the early 1950s, a friend suggested she teach adults to play bridge.

"She started playing bridge as a little girl and took to it like a duck to water. She always had a feeling for cards, a mathematical mind, and a love for figures," said her husband, a retired Baltimore insurance executive.

Mrs. Levering began offering classes in 1958 at the old YMCA at Cathedral and Franklin streets, and later held classes for more than 30 years at the Towson YMCA. By the time she stopped teaching in the early 1990s, Mrs. Levering estimated that she had introduced more than 5,000 people to the game, relatives said.

During the 1970s, she was a consultant for the three-volume series Bridge Made Easy, by Caroline Sydnor, and also wrote a weekly bridge column for the Towson Times.

In addition to being a teacher and life master, she directed duplicate bridge games in Baltimore and Towson.

"Becky started having games at churches and in her home in the middle 1960s. She was a total lady and a very good teacher," said Patricia F. Wilson, who founded the Valley Bridge Club in Lutherville in 1960 and still organizes its games. "She always had patience and was very calm. She was one of those people who never got excited and always maintained a high degree of table presence and concentration."

"She had duplicate bridge games all over the house, including in our bedroom," Mr. Levering said.

A certified Charles Goren bridge instructor, Mrs. Levering joined Travel with Goren Inc., which offered shipboard bridge classes.

"We sailed out of Baltimore on the Athenia, a Greek ship, and took cruises aboard the Rotterdam and other Holland-America Line ships from 1974 to 1984. For her, it was a working vacation, and I just tagged along," Mr. Levering said.

Mrs. Levering was an active member of the Colonial Dames of America and Friends of Clifton Mansion, which is restoring the Clifton Park summer home where Johns Hopkins lived until his death in 1873. She also was a volunteer at Mount Clare Mansion in Carroll Park in Southwest Baltimore.

Services were held Monday at Timonium Presbyterian Church.

Also surviving are a son, Terry Levering of Towson; two daughters, Rebecca Levering of Sparks and Mayo Matlack Levering of Timonium; seven grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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