Obituaries » Rev. Dr. Levy M. Armwood, Jr.
July 17, 1940 – February 18, 2020
February 21, 2020
Ebenezer Baptist Church
216 W Leigh St, Richmond, VA 23220
February 22, 2020
Ebenezer Baptist Church
216 W Leigh St, Richmond, VA 23220
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The Reverend Dr. Levy Mack Armwood—grandson of sharecroppers, only child of the late Deacon Levy and Deaconess Readdie Armwood—was born Wednesday, July 17, 1940 in Washington, D.C. and peacefully answered the Lord’s call into eternal rest on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia.
Levy’s love for the church began as a young boy. He spent summers in Bishopville, South Carolina with his grandparents, Deacon and Mrs. Murray Scarborough, attending St. Mark Baptist Church. He developed a love for preaching and singing. At the end of the summer, he would return home to D.C. and preach and sing to his dog.
Levy confessed Christ at an early age and was baptized at Israel Baptist Church in D.C. by the late Reverend Dr. Raymond Robinson. It was there that he found himself. He loved working in the church, especially being an usher and attending usher’s conferences held in other cities, fellowshipping with youth from all over the country.
As much as Levy discovered himself in the church, music was his true passion. As a young boy, he studied piano under the instruction of the late Maurice Tibbs. On Sunday mornings, Levy sang hymns and anthems in the church choir. But on Sunday afternoons, he and the Royal Echoes gospel group sang in churches all over D.C.—and cultivated lasting friendships in the process.
Levy matriculated in the public schools of the nation’s capital and graduated from Dunbar High School, an academically elite public school for black students, in 1958. He maintained close relationships with many of his classmates and made it a priority to attend his class reunions over the years.
He attended Howard University, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in 1967. While an undergraduate student, he sang in the University, Chapel, and Concert Choirs. He became president of the choir while Dr. Warner Lawson was its imminent conductor and Dean of the College of Fine Arts. Levy returned to Howard University as a graduate student in 1972, and in 1973 was awarded the Master of Music Education Degree. Levy joined the music faculty of Virginia Union University, where he taught voice, humanities, and music methods for elementary school teachers until 1980.
Levy began a career as music educator in 1968, teaching at over eight schools with the Richmond Public Schools System, lastly on the faculties of Thomas Jefferson High School and the Governor’s School for Government and International Studies of the Gifted and Talented in choral arts and music appreciation. While at Thomas Jefferson, Levy and his colleagues directed several musical productions, and Levy even piled his students into his little Karmann Gia to drive them to competitions. He loved and was inspired by his students. The feeling was mutual.
For many years, Levy shared his talents with the music ministry of Ebenezer Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. He joined the church staff as Sanctuary Choir Director and recorded an album of anthems, Negro spirituals, and gospel selections. During the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. Wallace J. Cook, Levy became Minister of Music at Ebenezer and served in that capacity for 24 years. Between 1980 and 1988, he conducted the Ebenezer Baptist Church sanctuary choir, guest soloists, and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in three performances of Handel’s Messiah.
In 1982, Levy was licensed by the Ebenezer Baptist Church to preach the gospel. Continuing his professional education, he received the Master of Divinity Degree from the School of Theology at Virginia Union University in 1988, and was ordained as a minister the same year. In 1996, he earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
In 1992, he accepted the call and began the pastorate of the Providence Baptist Church in Ashland, Virginia where he served for ten years. Levy loved the “People of Providence.” They were a warm reminder of his formative years and where he first met the Lord. Under his leadership, the church engaged in prayer and planning for a new facility to render more meaningful ministries for the congregation and the community.
On Sunday, November 23, 2003, Levy was installed as pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Richmond. He had come home. The place where he had been licensed to preach, ordained, and married to Cookie Anderson on July 27, 1985. God blessed his ministry of Ebenezer with many accomplishments and on June 25, 2017, he celebrated his retirement from the pastorate.
Levy held memberships in several civic and professional organizations, including the National Association of Negro Musicians, Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Baptist Churches of the South (ABCOTS), and Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity. He has served as a regional board member of ABCOTS and president of its Ministers’ Council. Levy was a board member of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Friends of African and African American Art. He also was a member of the Music Education Conference of American and the National Association of Negro Musicians.
In 1990, Levy had a wonderful experience of ministering in Tanzania, Africa with his brother in the ministry, Reverend Dr. Roy Cotton. In 2004, he traveled to Zambia as a missionary for ABCOTS, ABC/USA.
Levy loved life. He loved and was committed to his family, the Armwoods, Scarboroughs, and the Andersons. He was probably one of a few sons-in-law who went to his in-laws on Sundays for dinner – even if his wife didn’t attend. He welcomed people into his life and treated them like family.
Levy became sick two days after his retirement and wasn’t able to complete many of the things he enjoyed like traveling, occasional gardening, fishing with friends, and reading for pleasure. What he did enjoy was listening to good preaching, Negro spirituals, traditional gospel music, the Symphony, and classical jazz. He spent every morning reflecting in his journal and reading scripture —especially his favorite, the 27th Psalm – and singing his favorite hymn, All the Way My Savior Leads Me.
Levy was preceded in death by his parents, Deacon Levy and Deaconess Readdie Armwood. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife of 34 years, Cookie Anderson Armwood; father- and mother-in-law, Clarence Melvin and Shelia Anderson; brother- and sister-in-law, Carl Anderson (Ruby) and Priscilla Hooker (James); nephew and niece, Kevin Anderson (Angela) and Ena Logan (John “JT”); great-niece, Ena “Eebie” Logan; uncle, Curlee Scarborough (Thelma) of Bishopville, SC; aunt, Lula Scarborough of Brooklyn, NY; like-a-son, David S. Hoover; like-a-daughter, Kristie Pope; many godchildren, cousins, and special friends; caregiver, Yasmin Harris; and Westhampton Dialysis.