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Justice Beryl Levine 1935-2022 Thursday, June 9, 2022


Beryl Joyce Levine (nee Choslovsky) passed away in the late afternoon on June 4, 2022, at her home in San Mateo, California, with her family at her side.  Beryl was born on November 9, 1935 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the second of four children of Bella and Maurice “Chick” Choslovsky, who predeceased her in 1974 and 1978, respectively.  Beryl was the younger sister to brother Sydney, and older sister to sisters Paula and Dorise, all three of whom predeceased her.  Beryl, then age 19, met Dr. Leonard Levine, who predeceased her in 2020, at a wedding in 1955.  The couple fell in love, Beryl dropped out of college at the University of Manitoba and they married just three months later in Winnipeg on June 7, 1955.  They celebrated their 65th anniversary a few months before Leonard’s passing in 2020.  Beryl and Leonard then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and, after a subsequent move for a few years to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and a brief return to Winnipeg for approximately ten months, Beryl and Leonard settled in Fargo, North Dakota in 1964 where they lived for the next 32 years.


After Beryl gave birth to the couple’s sixth child in 1966, Beryl returned to college and earned her undergraduate degree.  She then decided to enroll at the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1971.  Despite the encouragement from the law school’s dean in the first week of her first year of law school to drop out because she was, in his words, “bored, spoiled and frivolous,” she remained in law school, continued to drive the 170 miles roundtrip each day from her home in Fargo to the law school in Grand Forks for the next three years, and graduated number one in her class with numerous awards in 1974.  She then was hired as an associate attorney at what today is the Vogel Law Firm in Fargo.  She would often explain how she was mentored by many great attorneys there, some of whom became dear friends for the rest of her life.  Beryl proudly remained at the Vogel Law Firm until January 1985.  A few months before then, two of the five seats on the North Dakota Supreme Court became vacant.  Beryl decided to apply to fill one of the vacancies, which were to be filled by then-Governor George Sinner.  After sifting through the applications of the 22 candidates who applied, the Nominating Committee narrowed the list to eight finalists, one of whom was Beryl.  Governor Sinner appointed Beryl to the Supreme Court on January 17, 1985.  Beryl was the first woman to serve on the North Dakota Supreme Court, where she served proudly with distinction and excitement until her resignation on March 1, 1996.  Following Beryl’s retirement from the North Dakota Supreme Court, Beryl and Leonard moved to Palo Alto, California in 1996 and subsequently to San Mateo, California in January 2017.


In 1996, Beryl was awarded the prestigious Margaret Brent Award, an award given by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession to honor outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence and paved the way for other women in the legal profession.  In 2005, Beryl was awarded the Sioux Award, the highest honor given by the University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation for achievement, service and loyalty.


Beryl had a thirst for knowledge, adventure and trying new things, and was an avid reader.  This thirst led her to take many courses on a variety of subjects in her retirement and to travel to a variety of countries throughout the world.  Her adventuresome spirit led her to parasail at age 70 with her children and grandchildren.  Beryl loved to learn and to experience new adventures, but her pure joy was her family – her husband, her children and their spouses and her ten grandchildren.  She loved and was extremely proud of them all.  She loved her time with them, hearing about their adventures and accomplishments and vacationing together with them.  She reminisced often about the many annual vacations the entire 22-member Levine family took together, an annual tradition she started as yet another example of her commitment to and excitement over her family.


Beryl will be lovingly remembered for her generous spirit, her calm demeanor (both on and off the bench), her strong sense of ethics and always accurate moral compass, her loyalty and commitment to her family, friends and the legal profession, her keen intellect, her trailblazing career, her warmth and grace and her sweet tooth and love for almost all candy except brown M&Ms.  She made an enduring impression on everyone who was fortunate enough to know her – family, friends from all phases of her life, and her colleagues and former clients.


Beryl is survived by her five children and their spouses:  Susan Levine and Jim Lauer; Marc and Teri Levine; Sari Levine and Scott Thurm; William and Jill Levine; and David and Aviva Levine, and her ten grandchildren:  Caitlin, Max, Matthew, Abby, Noah, Sonya, Clare, Lexi, Madelyn and Zachary.  She is predeceased by her son, James (“Jamie”) Howard, who passed away in 1963 at the age of three months.


Donations in Beryl’s memory can be made to the University of North Dakota School of Law, an institution Beryl recognized opened many doors for her and provided her with many opportunities, and as a result, an institution of which she was very proud and to which she was very grateful:


UND Alumni Association Foundation

3501 University Avenue

Stop 8157

Grand Forks, ND  58202

(800) 543-8764

Donations may be made online: