By  on August 10, 2007

NEW YORK — Funeral services will be held this morning at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan for outerwear industry veteran Arthur Levy, who died Wednesday at age 77.

He died at his home in Purchase, N.Y., of pancreatic cancer, according to his son Donald, president and chief executive officer of The Levy Group.

Born in Brooklyn, Arthur Levy returned to his home state after graduating from the University of Miami to work for his family's outerwear firm, Lou Levy & Sons. Levy dove right in at the company's West 38th Street offices, pitching in with sales of women's fake fur coats and nylon raincoats, handling shipping or doing whatever else was needed, his son said. A few years later, his brother Jack joined the company, and both men devoted their professional lives to the business.

Arthur Levy was known to be "dramatically candid, honest and straightforward," his son said.

"He would think nothing of telling you exactly how it was," his son added. "He was one of the great, all-time manufacturers who was old school, and he trained me to be the same way."

Arthur Levy retired as chairman of the family firm about 15 years ago but he continued to talk about the business with his son "every chance he got," Donald Levy said. Since then, the company's sales have jumped from $70 million to $200 million, as more high-profile licenses were signed and its manufacturing extended to other regions of the world. Levy's nephews Gary and Larry also work in senior management at the New York-based firm, which sells such licensed labels as Liz Claiborne and Esprit, and proprietary ones like Braetan and Donnybrook.

Arthur Levy's interest in the company never waned, his son said.

"He loved it all his life. It's probably one of the most interesting things you can do. It has all the elements from manufacturing, to fashion, to guessing what women like and weather. If the weather cooperates, you can have a great season. If not, you may struggle a bit."

In addition to his brother Jack and son Donald, Levy is survived by his wife, Barbara, a daughter, Lauren Groveman, another son, Michael, his sister Sandy Sheriton and another brother, Michael.

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