Despite his death to coronavirus, legacy to continue of local man who anonymously gave $35,000 to strangers at Christmastime

Bob and Mary LeVeck (right) anonymously gave $100 bills to people every December for nearly 11 years. CONTRIBUTED

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Bob and Mary LeVeck (right) anonymously gave $100 bills to people every December for nearly 11 years. CONTRIBUTED

" “It is frustrating to see some people not taking (COVID) seriously, but I was in that same mindset, too. It’s not real until it’s your dad,” Bob LeVeck’s son says.

A Miami County man’s tradition of Christmastime giving from the heart and wallet was halted when he died of the coronavirus, but Bob LeVeck‘s family says that’s not the end of Bob’s blessings.

Bob and Mary LeVeck randomly gifted strangers $100 bills nearly 11 Christmas seasons.

All told, the Bethel Twp. couple shelled out more than $35,000 in cold hard Christmas cheer, son Chris LeVeck said.

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They were not able to spread Christmas blessings this year.

In August, Bob died from the coronavirus.

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Bob LeVeck (far right) with his son Chris and two of his grandchildren. Bob died from COVID in August. His family is struggling to get through their first Christmas without him. CONTRIBUTED

Bob LeVeck (far right) with his son Chris and two of his grandchildren. Bob died from COVID in August. His family is struggling to get through their first Christmas without him. CONTRIBUTED

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Bob LeVeck (far right) with his son Chris and two of his grandchildren. Bob died from COVID in August. His family is struggling to get through their first Christmas without him. CONTRIBUTED

His family hopes the tradition he started lives on and are launching Bob’s Blessings to continue his work.

“We should be taking care of each other. It’s the right thing to do,” Chris LeVeck said. “I’m not saying I do that everyday, but I try. You have to have empathy. You don’t know what people are going through.”

Bob’s Blessings plans to distribute Christmas cards with a gift inside and a bible. The website Bobsblessings.org has been established.

Helping others was a major part of Bob’s life, his son said.

“I hope that by sharing what my family's been going through that it will touch someone's heart to go do something like what my parents were doing, which was blessing people,"

- Chris LeVeck said.

Bob LeVeck owned LeVeck Lighting near Tipp City and was active in his community and church.

“We’ve had so many people come out of the woodwork and write or call or tell us how much (Bob LeVeck) impacted their lives,” Chris said.

ANONYMOUS CHEER FOR THE HOLIDAYS

A 2009 Dayton Daily News article reported an anonymous couple, who Chris LeVeck identified as his folks, gave $100 bills to workers at the Spin City Laundromat and eight customers.

At the time, one of the employees told this newspaper that she was going to finish up her Christmas shopping with the money.

Chris LeVeck says his dad started the tradition of anonymously handing out holiday cheer in the form of cash. Bob filled in Mary and she got involved in the fun.

“This was my dad’s favorite time of year. It was not hard to get him in the Christmas spirit,” LeVeck said. “He was like a little kid when it came to Christmas. Everything had to be wrapped, no bags and tissue paper. And no gift cards, he wanted everyone opening a present.”

BOB’S BLESSINGS

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Bob LeVeck sits in front of a Christmas tree. His son, Chris LeVeck, said Christmas was his favorite time of year. CONTRIBUTED

Bob LeVeck sits in front of a Christmas tree. His son, Chris LeVeck, said Christmas was his favorite time of year. CONTRIBUTED

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Bob LeVeck sits in front of a Christmas tree. His son, Chris LeVeck, said Christmas was his favorite time of year. CONTRIBUTED

Chris says his mom is not doing well without his dad, her high school sweetheart.

This Christmas, Mary LeVeck has asked her children ― Chris, Amy and Robert LeVeck III ― to write a favorite memory of their father on an index card and put them into his stocking. Chris LeVeck said they plan to read the index cards in a few years in remembrance of Bob.

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“They had been together since she was 16 and she just turned 64. They were inseparable. Inseparable. I can see how someone can die from a broken heart. It is life-altering events like this,” LeVeck said. “It’s been a real struggle for everyone. My dad’s been around for 40 years of my life, so I am lucky in that aspect. It’s been especially hard because we didn’t get to say goodbye.”

Eleven days after being admitted to Kettering Medical Center, Bob LeVeck died on Aug. 31.

He was 66.

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Bob and Mary LeVeck were high school sweethearts. CONTRIBUTED

Bob and Mary LeVeck were high school sweethearts. CONTRIBUTED

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Bob and Mary LeVeck were high school sweethearts. CONTRIBUTED

“HE DIDN’T THINK HE WAS GOING TO DIE.”

The LeVeck clan is close knit, even though Chris lives in Texas and his sister lives in Los Angeles.

“I talked on the phone every day with my dad. We still do with my mom,” Chris said.

The last time he visited his parents, Chris says his father joked that he did 50 pushups every day.

“He didn’t think he was going to die. He was healthy. He had no underlying issues,” Chris said. “It is frustrating to see some people not taking (COVID) seriously, but I was in that same mindset, too. It’s not real until it’s your dad.”

Chris says he has learned much more about the coronavirus than he ever would have wanted to.

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“This is the hardest thing we have ever done,” he added.

Chris LeVeck’s friend will be making a short documentary about Bob’s experience with COVID. The documentary will be called “11 Days and 11 Minutes.” It will be released in January.

“I hope that by sharing what my family’s been going through that it will touch someone’s heart to go do something like what my parents were doing, which was blessing people,” LeVeck said.

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