Slain English Teacher Led Quiet Life
Lawrence Levine, the English teacher killed at the Oregon community college shooting, was a wordsmith who passed his days fishing and enjoying a nice bottle of wine.
GLIDE, Oregon — Lawrence Levine was a man of letters and fishing.
The English teacher at Umpqua Community College—whom 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer shot and killed Thursday during a rampage at the school in rural Roseburg—took up residence in a small house on the North Umpqua River, according to the local directory. A cursory stop at the address reveals a simple if boxy brown house where you can hear the rush of the river below with clarity.
It’s in Glide—a wooded satellite town roughly 20 minutes east of Roseburg—from which Levine would have commuted to work. Just down the street from his house is the Narrows, a dingy bar still dark despite the afternoon sun outside.
Kim Rennings-Stevens, an aging blonde with purple-framed glasses, takes a break from video gambling to speak with The Daily Beast about her friend of 20 years. She heard of his being shot on Thursday and found out Friday the attack proved fatal after local officials released the names of the murderer’s nine victims. At 67, Levine was the oldest to be slaughtered. According to student Kortney Moore in an interview with the News-Review, the gunner shot Levine in the head.
“You'd never find him at a party,” Rennings-Stevens knows. She remembers the man as reserved, keeping to himself and the water. He was a fly fishing guide and a lover of wine, she said.
One wonders if Levine didn’t sip the odd glass and enjoy taking in the view from his house on the North Umpqua.
David Furman, with whom Levine grew up in Southern California, according to The Oregonian, was a longtime friend.
“He was the sweetest, most gentle, kind, thoughtful and creative person,” said Furman in an interview with the Portland-based newspaper, which also reported the wordsmith had written more than a few unpublished novels.
The nature in Glide feels almost Walden-esque—simple, solitary, beautiful and tucked away. Perhaps it serves as an apt reflection of the author and academic who once called the small community home.
Of losing his friend, Furman told The Oregonian: “My heart is broken.”