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Momy, a quintessential Gibraltarian, dies at 80

Former Mayor Momy Levy, one of the Rock’s most colourful and well-loved personalities, has died at the age of 80. Always impeccably dressed in his bright suits and colourful ties Momy was known and respected by people from all walks of life and all religions. He always had a good word for everyone and had the most pleasure in stopping and chatting to everyone on the Main Street.

One of his proudest moments was being made Mayor of Gibraltar in August 2008 – the first outside of the political spectrum and first civic Mayor – especially following in the footsteps of his uncle Sir Joshua Hassan.

He was an Estate Agent and Auctioneer by profession he was always proud of the fact that he was the longest serving agent with almost 60 years of experience.

A great Gibraltarian and defender of the Rock at every level he was proud to have served in the Gibraltar Regiment as a Captain in the Reserve. He continued his strong links to the very end and just recently marking his 80th birthday he celebrated it at Grand Battery House.

President of the Royal British Legion and Poppy Day organisers for many  years he would annually represent Gibraltar at the annual Jewish ex-servicemen and women parade at the Cenotaph.

He was also a past president of Rotary on the Rock, organiser of classical musical concerts and a great lover of the Zarzuela he was Chairman of the old Gibraltar Music Centre for 10 years.

A Justice of the Peace since 1994, he was awarded the MBE for public services. He had also been a president of the Gibraltar Jewish Community and all his life a great promoter of interfaith relations.

TRIBUTES TO MOMY IN PARLIAMENT

Tribute to Momy in Parliament

During the Parliament session yesterday solemn tributes were paid to Mr Levy from both Government and Opposition. Members were unified in grief and all agreed he would be sorely missed.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo yesterday shared a few words about Mr Levy and how he would always be remembered as a pillar of the local community.

“I’m afraid I bring the sad news to the house which I think all of the members are now aware of that Momy Levy has passed away after a blessedly short illness,” Mr Picardo said.

“Momy will be remembered by everyone in this place for all the reasons that he touched all of us. But indeed he will also be remembered of course professionally for being the first of the Mayors under the new constitution.”

Mr Picardo added that there was widespread admiration for the way that Momy took that role and made it his own for the year that he was able to call himself Mayor of Gibraltar.

“He was not just proud to have been Mayor, not just proud to have been in the armed forces, he was above all else a proud father and grandfather, and a proud Gibraltarian. This place will miss him.”

Mr Picardo then called for a minute’s silence to be observed as a tribute to Mr Levy and extended condolences to his family on behalf of the people of Gibraltar.

Leader of the Opposition Daniel Feetham told a heartfelt story about the present he gave Mr Levy for his 70th birthday. Mr Feetham had bought Mr Levy a silver cover for his Torah.

“When he saw it he started crying and he said to me I have just spent thousands of pounds having a Torah transcribed by hand for my 70th birthday and I did not have the cover for the Torah, and I think that was one of the most beautiful moments in my life,” Mr Feetham said.

Mr Levy’s cousin and independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon told Parliament of all Momy had achieved during his 80 year life.

“People will remember him most for his love for his community and his desire to bring it together, and this was his passion and his strongest mission statement during his time as Mayor,” Mr Levy said.

“Momy was Gibraltar’s true ambassador. His family and friends will miss him dearly and I think it is safe to say that Gibraltar will be a lot emptier with Momy walking up and down Main Street. His radiant smile and his larger than life personality will be sorely missed.”

Mrs Hassan Nahon told how she spent much of her time in Mr Levy’s house as a child and shared a sentiment from Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis.

Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia shared a few words and called Mr Levy a person larger than life who had a genuine passion for Gibraltar and the Queen.

“It is different to think of Gibraltar without Momy,” said the Minister for Economic Development Joe Bossano.

“He has been an omnipresent individual in our community and one thing that can be characterised is that his views on the relationship between Gibraltar and the UK and his commitment there would be no betrayal from the people in London was there from the first day I met him to the last day I spoke to him.”

Echoing his sentiments Shadow Minister Edwin Reyes called Momy a Gibraltarian through and through, adding that he will treasure his memories of Mr Levy.

Mayor of Gibraltar Adolfo Canepa told of the regard and affection he had for Momy and how he admired him.

“Momy was an institution in Gibraltar,” Mr Canepa said. “He was always very friendly. I admired him enormously because in spite of his serious illness he didn’t throw in the towel and he never gave up.”