Octave Levenspiel

Tributes

How did you know Octave? Was Dr. Levenspiel your Chemical Engineering professor? Did you play Chinese chess with him? Were you ever fooled by his “I’m the eighth son” story? Some of you probably want to know if ANY of his stories were true. A short biography was written about Tavy, if you really want to know how unique his life was. Visit Lulu.com.

We’d love to know how Octave touched your life.

Please write a comment, memory, or a tribute about Octave.

 
 
 
 
 
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50 entries.
Mark Rubenstein wrote on March 9, 2017:
Our family lived next-door to the Levenspiels in Evanston in the '50's and 60's. Tavy delighted us by making a coin disappear, chanting what I always thought was "Jatery, Matery, Sickle, Yandy". If he ever told us how he did it, I don't remember.
I can still hear his voice calling, "Lollie, Lollie..." for their dog to come in.
I remember singing "Wu-tzu Pu-tzu" at Christmas-time in their living room. "Lift a glass to friendship!"
I remember Tavy and my dad racing to open their Christmas presents at the same time, seeing that they both got the same Russian hat, and immediately putting them on, donning stern expressions and laughing.
And I remember his smile.
I was too young to know anything about his fascinating life.
But his humor, wit and charm remain in my memory and always will.
denise priestman wrote on March 9, 2017:
I first met Tavy about 2 months before my 9th birthday when the Levenspiel family moved into the house across the street from us. That whole year is my clearest childhood memory. The 2 families spend a great deal of time together and Tavy did all sorts of fun activities with us kids (7 in total!). Everything about spending time with Tavy was extraordinary and fun - we learned how to play "bloody murders" - our intellect was challenged with "grown - up" conversations - he had a glint in his eye and teased us continually and had the most wonderful laugh - as children he definitely expanded our horizons - and it was just like him to beat his diagnosis of cancer - 1year life expectancy - and live for another 50+ years! He told me if I did not stand up straight I would be round shouldered and those words have definitely come true - if only at 9 you understood the importance of valuable advise instead of ignoring it!! He was full of surprises - not least turning up for my wedding with Mary Jo in 1981 - what a joy and a privilege to have them both there. The whole Levenspiel family were an amazing family to know and and an important part of our lives - we still keep up with the news and it is hard to imagine where these 55 years have gone!!! Tavy has quietly said goodbye and gone to join Barney - and whilst those he leaves behind will have a huge hole to fill - those he has joined will be laughing and enjoying his teasing and those challenging conversations. With lots of love Denise xxxxxx
Linda Kelly ( nee Lilley) wrote on March 8, 2017:
I was around 14 years old when I and my family met Tavy and his lovely family. When they moved to Great Shelford in Cambridge, they rented the house opposite us. Being kind, outgoing and sociable our two families became friends and I, being the eldest of 4 girls got the baby sitting job at the Levenspiels house which I loved!
I remember the children well and have such fond memories of the cheeky Morris and the kindnesss and warmth of Mary Jo and Tavy. Tavy was always smiling and full of fun! My parents kept in touch with them for years and visited them in Oregon. They came to my sister's wedding and we saw them when they were visiting England.
Rest in Peace Tavy. A life well lived.
riley wrote on March 8, 2017:
Let's not forget he played Chinese chess with my father-in-law and won, many a time.
And his favorite foods were simple vegetables and tofu, with a little of meat.
I'll miss him and remember fondly of the time I worked for him.
riley
Enrique Arriola wrote on March 7, 2017:
In many ways I always considered Tavy as my "second father"; he marked me for the rest of my life. Every day, in all my classes I talk to my students about Tavy. I remember most of his “ingenious” phrases when talking to me about God, religions, costumes, opera, foods, Europe, corruption, Thermodynamics, Reactors, you name it! He taught me how to analyze and solve problems (all sort of problems) properly, without prejudices, without fear. I realize that distance, and in some way the language barrier, separated us, but still I kept learning from him. He inspired me in many ways in my life, as a person, teacher, researcher, friend. This is a sad, very sad day. I love you Tavy, thank you for all the good thing you inherited me.
Chuck Smiley wrote on March 6, 2017:
This wonderful man was my favorite uncle. He was always so full of life but what I really loved about him was his ability to treat you as an equal. The all too few times I had the privilege to be in his company will be remembered for his unique ability to entertain me with his knowledge about almost everything in a very humbling way. Aunt Mary Joe, Bekki, Morris, and all of your family. I am so sorry for your loss. A great man has just passed. I love you all. Chuck
Ray Cocco wrote on March 6, 2017:
My first contact with Octave was through his books, specifically "The Chemical Reactor Omnibook." Most chemical engineers new him this way first. My second contact was with a week long workshop on reaction engineering. He did not just teach concepts. He taught us how to think like an engineer. He showed us how to distill a complex problem to understandable and trackable solutions which is the heart of engineering. He was remarkably good. It was an art form. He made it look easy, but the genius was in the details. It is one of the reasons his name is one of the most recognized name in chemical engineering. For many of us, Levenspiel is synonymous to chemical engineering. Even in his later years, he could still silence and part a room with his entrance into a conference venue. He will be missed and never forgotten.
Shelly Seaton wrote on March 6, 2017:
I worked with Tavy at the chemical engineering office at OSU. What an incredible man! He had me take his quizzes, even though I had no engineering background at all. He said that if I could get the logic right, his students had no room to argue!
My son read Tavy's article on Quetzalcoatlus and tried to manipulate conditions so that his created pteradon (named Bruce) could actually lift off. It won him second place at the science fair!
Working with Tavy was truly one of the highlights of my life! He was such a joyful and curious person, with a wicked sense of humor. And, oh, his stories! My thoughts go out to Mary Jo and the family.
John Berg wrote on March 5, 2017:
Professor Levenspiel was a giant in Chemical Engineering education. What was unique was the joy he put into it. I am privileged to have known him as a colleague in the profession and as a friend.
Holly Short wrote on March 5, 2017:
Ah Tavy. How can I write about what he meant to me. I met Bekki in 1971 and spent so many wonderful hours being part of her family in my high school and college years. Tavy was bigger than life. I knew that he was a highly respected intelligent man, but what I saw was his rye sense of humor and his numerous stories that made me laugh. Both he and Mary Jo were a strong influence in my becoming a young lady and I am forever grateful.
Sending all my love to Mary Jo, Bekki, Morris, and the boys.
Holly Short (Smith)