A Loving Tribute to Pam Leven

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KCRW and the world recently lost one heck of a woman named Pam Leven to a bicycle accident. We saw her friendly face for years during our subscription drives. She was a regular volunteer and a fan of the station, putting her time, money, and passion in our very grateful hands. It’s people like her who loved us, that inspire us to keep doing what we do to enrich our community.

To the benefit of the organizations she believed in, we weren’t the only people she volunteered for. We weren’t the only ones who earned her support. She was the type of person for whom lending a hand and actively pursuing what she believed in came naturally – and she did it with spunk.  We’re going to miss her and her thousand-watt smile and it’s people like her that we love too. Thank you, Bob Geddes, for sharing your wife with us. 

Her long time friend and co-KCRW subscription drive volunteer, Ellen, says it best:

My Friend, Pam Leven

“Hello, Ellen!”

When Pam greeted you — in person, on the phone — I’m sure you got the same cheery welcome I did, as if you were the person she most wanted to see, to talk to.

And you were. Because whomever Pam was with, whatever Pam was doing, it seemed, was exactly what she wanted most at that point. My friend Pammy Sue was a gift, an in-the-moment person only too happy to have you along on her ride, wherever she was going.

She was my go-to friend for expanding the comfort zone.

Pam, Bob, Molly on a Sunday morning 2013 (1)We did that on the salt flats of the Mojave Desert in winds so strong she could barely focus the camera for the pictures she liked to take of people posed so the background landmarks appeared to spring from their heads.

We did that on the basketball court, where, before she found cycling, she sought a sport that was sweaty, fun and communal. I’d been playing for years, and was happy to have her replace me as the shortest player on the court.

We did that at the county fair, where we ate food so fried it gave Paula Deen diabetes. And where, like the jaded journalists we are, we tried hard, despite eye-witness proof, to believe that all those people pretending to be werewolves on command of the hypnotist were faking it.

My friend Pam was an inexplicable combination of cynicism and optimism, a glass half-full person under no illusions that life was a series of obstacles that, if you were lucky, and she was, you could overcome with humor, friendship and pluck.

Thank you, Pam, for shining your generous light into my life. You made me a better person, and it was a privilege to be your friend.


Ellen Alperstein