Octave and Mary Jo Levenspiel


Dick Turton contacted me about three months ago and told me that Octave had passed away. I’d like to offer my condolences to you, Mary Jo and the whole Levenspiel family.

The time I spent studying under Octave has had a huge influence on my life and continues to do so. He gave me confidence and self-belief where it was lacking and provided me with the inspiration to become a better human being. (When faced with the most challenging situations over the years I have often thought ‘What would Octave do?’)

Although I have never worked in the field of chemical engineering his approach to mentoring and developing students has moulded the type of manager I have become today. Had I never met Octave I doubt I would have had the courage or the tenacity to set up and run my own business, Language Services Direct. (The company is now one of the leading companies in the UK that provides tailored language training courses to the private and the public sector. We deliver language courses in over 65 languages to the UK government, teaching diplomats, ambassadors and other public sector workers how to speak foreign languages prior to their relocation overseas to UK embassies and consulates. We provide gainful employment to over 200 people … so you could argue that Octave’s influence has in turn affected the lives of many, many people.)

Perhaps my fondest memories of him was the time when he somehow heard that it was my birthday (he had his sources!) and unexpectedly dropped into the bar where a few of us had gathered to celebrate. I imagine he knew that I was a long way from home and missing my family so he bought a pitcher of beer, sat down next to me and joined our conversation. It meant a lot to me at the time. What a man!