Local business giant Jon Levin died Thursday at age 83.
Levin was the owner of Varney’s Bookstore and worked at the business for almost 60 years. Levin and his family have been involved in several businesses around Manhattan, including Able Printing Co. and Premier Car & Dog Wash.
Levin was hired at Varney’s in 1957 by Ted Varney and became a co-owner of the store. Following Varney’s retirement in 1974, Levin took over as general manager and became the store’s owner in 1992 when Varney died. In the ’90s Levin’s sons, Steve and Jeff, returned to Manhattan to serve as assistant managers of the store, which closed in 2016.
Levin was born in Lindsborg and earned a degree in business administration from K-State. He also served in many local and area civic organizations and boards, including the Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University Foundation, Riley County United Way, Flint Hills Breadbasket, and Manhattan Rotary Club. Through his business he was also involved in the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
Steve Levin said his father loved K-State, loved Manhattan, loved Kansas.
“He created a great business and gave much of what he got from his business back to Manhattan,” Steve said.
Steve said his father was a kind person who made friends with everyone he met.
“I’ve been working with him for 25 years,” he said. “And everywhere we went, he walked in and they would say ‘Jon!’”
Levin’s wife of more than 60 years, Lila, died earlier this year. In addition to Steve and Jeff, Jon was also father to daughter Susan. He had seven grandchildren. Steve said his father was very supportive of all his children and grandchildren.
“He got joy in making sure he did what he could to make sure we were happy,” Steve said.
More information about Levin is included in his obituary on Page A2.