“A wonderful man.” “A real mensch.” “A giant in the field.”

Those are among the many ways that Harold Levy, an attorney and former city schools chief, is being described this week, after his death at age 65 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS.

Levy announced publicly in April that he was dying, in an emotional New York Times op-ed exhorting elite universities to cease giving preference in admission to children of graduates.

The message was in keeping with his life’s work trying to level the playing field for children in New York City and beyond. He did that as a lawyer who sought additional funding and better conditions for city schools; as chancellor from 2000 to 2002; and in his most recent role, directing a foundation focused on getting more children from low-income families to graduate from college.

Levy became chancellor after his predecessor, Rudy Crew, clashed with the city’s school board; after state lawmakers awarded Mayor Michael Bloomberg control of the city’s schools, he replaced Levy with his own choice, Joel Klein.

Several initiatives launched during his brief tenure continue to shape the city’s schools today, even as their policy context has changed. They include the Teaching Fellows program that offered a new path into the classroom for aspiring educators; an expansion of the city’s summer school program; and launching new high schools for high-performing students.

Read Levy’s New York Times obituary and this personal reflection by Liz Willen, an education journalist who went from covering Levy to counting him as a friend, for a more comprehensive accounting of his life and work.

For now, we wanted to call attention to the warm memories that colleagues, friends, and city educators are sharing — and invite you to share your own, in the comments or on social media.