Donald Neal Levit, 66, known as “Don” or “Donnie” depending on what time period of his life that people met him in, passed away Sunday, April 29, at his apartment in Missouri City, Texas. He is survived by his wife of 41 years Rebecca Levit as well as his mother Leah Levit. Don is also survived by his five children Garland Levit and his wife Jamie Levit, Ryan Levit, Ashley Levit Gold and her husband Jonathan Gold, Dori Levit and Shannon Levit Small and her husband Brian Small who are the parents of Don’s two grandchildren Ari and Danielle Small. Don is further survived by his five siblings Jerry Levit and his wife Rona Milbauer, Lynn Levit, Jan Levit Silver and her husband Bernard Silver, Jill Talisman Levit and her husband Charlie Talisman and Benjy Levit and his wife Erica Levit.
Don Levit was born on November 25, 1951 in Houston, Texas to his parents Milton and Leah Levit as the second of what would be six children. Don was a third-generation legacy of the Grocers Supply Company, a Houston wholesale grocery institution that was started in 1921 by his great-grandfather Joe Levit. Don was a fixture in and around Grocers Supply growing up and even worked there for several years following college.
Don was precocious and popular in school. He excelled in academics at Roberts Elementary, Pershing Middle School and Bellaire High School. Don was always a people person, and he had a tradition from early adulthood to send thoughtful and personalized, hand-written birthday and anniversary cards to all of his friends, family and close business clients. The number of cards he sent surpassed 700 total cards written annually in the latter years of his life. Don was thoughtful and caring by nature and always made points to try to comfort friends and family in need or help to resolve a conflict or discrepancy. He was the epitome of a kind man who touched people in an honest, considerate and humble way and had a special knack to make people laugh and smile with his outlandish humor and zany antics.
Like nearly all of his immediate family, Don attended the University of Texas and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Marketing. Even though they had both attended Bellaire High School and were members of the Beth Yeshurun Synagogue, it was not until his University of Texas days that he was introduced to his future wife Rebecca Wagner, daughter of the Beth Yeshurun cantor George Wagner and his wife Betty Wagner. Don loved his mother-in-law Betty very much and would make a point to go have lunch and dinner with and also drive Betty to her hair appointments.
In 1980, Don began a near four-decade journey into the world of life and health insurance where he would prove to be a true trailblazer as an inventor in product development. He started his insurance career at Mutual of New York Insurance Company and then became an independent broker, earning two of the most prestigious designations in the entire industry as both a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant). Don took all of his product and underwriting knowledge, and in the mid-1990s he began a determined pursuit to patent and develop a health care concept that is now known as the Health Matching Account (HMA), which is the fastest growing new medical savings account in the industry.
Don devised the HMA to grow much faster with far superior account crediting than a traditional Health Savings Account (HSA) to cover all out-of-pocket, medical expenses. His son Garland, saw the immense value in the concept, and in 2011, he teamed Don up with his friend Elliott Gorog and his mother Regina Gorog, who were owners of one of the most successful independent insurance marketing organizations in the Southwest United States at the time, to take his product to market.
After five years of hard work and development with one of the most esteemed insurance actuarial firms in the world, in August of 2016, Don’s nearly 25-year dream of seeing the HMA come to fruition was realized as the product officially hit the market as the HMA Medical Benefits Visa Prepaid Debit Card. Don, Garland, Elliott and Regina formed a licensed life, health and accident carrier in the state of Texas called National Prosperity Life and Health Insurance Company, Inc. to sell other, consumer-focused insurance products along with Health Matching Account Services, Inc. to distribute Don’s HMA.
Don’s Health Matching Account has appeared in Forbes in an article written by John Goodman, a well-respected thought leader in the industry who played an instrumental role in developing the original Health Savings Account (HSA). Don, Garland, Elliott and Regina were a close team, and Don treated Elliott and Regina just like family. Seeing his health product dream become realized was one of the highlights of Don’s life as was sharing time nearly every day with his son Garland.
Don was philanthropic throughout his life and donated to many Jewish causes including the Jewish Federation, Chabad and Torch. He was a true life force behind both Torch and Chabad of Sugar Land, donating a majority of the funds to build both a Torch Center and the Chabad of Sugar Land. He was beloved by everyone he touched within these organizations, who he treated like family, and would attend educational classes and services on a weekly basis.
Don will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. To send donations to Torch in his honor, please visit www.torchweb.org/support.php. To donate to Chabad of Sugar Land visit www.chabadsugarland.com and click on the donate button in the middle of the homepage.