NewsPalm Beach County


Century Villages founder H. Irwin Levy dies at 97

He helped fuel population boom, particularly among Jewish community.
H. Irwin Levy died July 31, 2023
Posted at 10:16 PM, Aug 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 01:08:33-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — H. Irwin Levy, the founder of the four Century Village condominiums in South Florida, died Monday. He was 97.

In 1951, Irwin and his first wife, Jeanne, relocated to Palm Beach County.

Irwin established Cenvill Communities and developed Century Village in West Palm Beach, a 55-and- older retirement community.

The helped fuel a population boom, particularly among the Jewish community.

From 1969, he was CEO and chairman of the board of Cenvill Communities Inc. He built three additional Century Village properties in West Palm Beach, west of Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach and Pembroke Pines, as well as Wynmoor Village in Coconut Creek. Cenvill was the largest builder of condominiums in the U.S., responsible for the creation and management of more than 37,000 homes across South Florida.

“Irwin was a trailblazer and pioneer of this community," Michael Hoffman, president and CEO of Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, said in an obituary on "He exhibited brilliant vision, selfless leadership, savvy business skills, and overwhelming kindness and generosity throughout his lifetime. It was his unequaled foresight and ingenuity that built what we have here today in the Palm Beaches, one of the most thriving local Jewish communities in the world.”

Her was born in 1926 and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Irwin enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944. Following the war, he obtained a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University, going on to attend Cornell University law school

He decided to complete his final year of law school at the University of Miami where he earned his Juris Doctorate. He became a member of the Florida and the Palm Beach County Bar, and remained a member for 70 years. Irwin gained successfully argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court.

Irwin was directly responsible for securing $1.6 billion in U.S. grants to rescue nearly one million persecuted Jews from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia to Israel.

Jeanne died in 1990 and he married Ellen Schwartz in 1994.