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.

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Peggy Blair wrote on April 25, 2017:
I met Octave Levenspiel when I was a typist for the College of Engineering at OSU. It was an honor and a pleasure to have worked for him. His examples and problems, often accompanied with drawings, were so creative that his students surely must have been eager to see what was coming next. One of the papers I remember typing was the earlier version of his "Dinosaur" paper. It was such a pleasant surprise to see it on his web site.
Asad wrote on April 23, 2017:
I had the privilege of having Prof. Levenspiel as my thesis advisor. He was far more than a professor or a thesis supervisor. He was also a good friend, a life coach, and a father figure to me. I learnt something new every time I spoke to him whether it was something about science and engineering or board game strategies or how the US highway system is numbered or which ethnic food is the best value per $! He made you think and question your understanding. He was of course a prolific author, a brilliant educator, and always had great examples to help explain scientific concepts.
He had a great sense of humor and honesty. Once Tavy, Guo Tai and me decided to pick cherries from trees around his house. Some branches of his neighbor’s cherry tree were extending over the road in front of his house so they were deemed to be on city property. As such, he restricted us to pick cherries only from the branches that were extending over the road.
After finishing my Masters, he encouraged me to go to a different university for PhD and while explaining his reasoning he made a comment “….besides, if you don’t travel you may not meet the person that will change your life”. Well, he was definitely among the people who changed my life!
Thank you Tavy and may your soul rest in peace.
Joann Mayfield wrote on April 19, 2017:
I know Tavy through family. My brother Keith married his daughter Bekki and we loved joining the families. My favorite memory of him besides his sense of humor was his interaction with my three kids when they were young. We were visiting with my parents for the first time to the coast. The kids were into rock collecting and Tavy would polish some of the rocks with them. He was so patient and kind with a twinkle in his eye with them. It was a very special time. He has passed on some very good qualities to his children and grandchildren. He is one of a kind.
Spencer S wrote on April 14, 2017:
Dr. Levenspiel was a pioneer in several fields and did a helluva job passing that information on to the next generations.
Alain Gaunand wrote on April 13, 2017:
I had my first contact with Chemical Reaction Engineering in Nancy - France - (1973....), thanks to Prof. Jacques Villermaux. Since this time, I have been teaching CRE at Ecole des Mines in Paris. Most of all, I enjoyed Prof. Levenspiel's simplicity, humour and smile : from Sherlock Holmes investigation on Imbibit disparition in a googliox reactor to the Trafalgar Battle, and to the ugly witch at work in front of her "non-ideal stirred reactor", he obviously knew how to teach our sound stuff (mass, energy, momentum balances) without taking himself seriously, and communicate his enthusiasm and his pleasure to tackle physical and chemical kinetic behaviours, in any field. I am sure that he was found of geology, natural history, and admiring the beauty of nature, and all the knacks life has developed since billion years (so am I).
I am sure also that he was deeply human, both at University and with his love ones. I never met him, I only have a letter from him, but I think that there would have been a real spark between us. If you can hear me, BRAVO et mille MERCIS, Monsieur le Professeur.
Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herren sterben, von nun an. Sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit und ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach.
Ellie Rubenstein wrote on April 9, 2017:
For most of my childhood, the Levenspiels were our next door neighbors. In those days, everyone kept their doors open, and the Rubenstein kids would just walk into the Levenspiels' at any time, looking for one of their kids to play with. I usually walked in through the kitchen door, and often found Tavy puttering around in there. He was always smiling and gave me a grand welcome. The only people we ever celebrated Christmas with were the Levenspiels and the fun, warmth and friendship among our families was special and unique. Tavy and my dad were always goofing around and when I picture them, I only see huge smiles and genuine happiness. One summer day I decided to try riding a bike without training wheels and Tavy held onto the back of the bike seat and ran alongside me. I kept yelling, "Don't let go! Don't let go!" and he said, "I won't, not until you're ready." Halfway down our block, as I focused hard on balancing the bike, I suddenly realized Tavy was no longer at my side. I panicked but then realized I could ride without him holding on. I made it to the end of the block, and turned to see him with that huge smile. And I see now that that was one of Tavy's many gifts, even though I never could have articulated it at that young age. He knew how to challenge people, support them, and also knew when they were ready for him to let go. I was too young to know how brilliant he was, how admired and respected he was. He was "Bekki's dad", the funny guy who could make coins appear out your ear and nose, who called his dog Lolly Lee Lou and chanted mysterious "Jattery Mattery Sickle Yandy" spells. He's fondly and forever woven into memories of my youth.
Tom Fitzgerald wrote on April 7, 2017:
I was a senior student in chemical engineering in the Fall of 1958, in the first class Octave gave in reaction engineering at IIT. Octave presented the class with challenging and seemingly simple questions that often led to arguments between students, while all the while he kept the sessions going with examples that included conveyor belts, big stirred tanks, and even multiple cycle washing machines.
At the end of the course I got a B and complained to Professor Levenspiel that I thought I deserved an A, based on the fact that I had argued more in class than other students. He said he would have to give two other students an A to give one to me. He did.
In the ten years that followed I worked on finding residence time distributions in fluidized beds and taught chemical reaction engineering. Meanwhile, Octave had moved to Oregon State University and on a trip to IIT he said he was wondering if any of us would consider moving to Oregon. I jumped at the chance, and for the next decade I took turns with Octave teaching chemical reaction engineering at Oregon State. But when I taught it the students complained that they weren’t getting the real thing.
Octave had many requests to do consulting and sometimes he would hear them out, and then tell them “I have a young colleague…” One of these referrals led to my position at TRW in Los Angeles as a senior scientist. It was exciting work. I stayed there for 20 years but never again found as good a friend as Octave.
Basavaraj Mahipat Kulkarni wrote on March 31, 2017:
I know him as my mentor at IIT Bombay during 78-79 where he immensely influenced me by his simplistic approach to complex situations.Really God gifted teacher and a mentor. May his soul rest in peace.
Rada and Neda wrote on March 30, 2017:
Neda and I are very saddened to hear of Professor’s Tavy’s passing. We first met Tavy and Mary Jo in 1995, when they took us into their home to live while studying at OSU. We are eternally grateful for the kindness and warmth of both Tavy and Mary Jo during this time who both had a strong influence on Neda and me becoming young women and world citizens.
During the years at Crest Place, Tavy was like a grandfather to us. He would often stop by to chat and give us puzzles or problems to solve, lend us classical music, even occasionally drive us to OSU in his Volkswagens or take us to Young’s kitchen for a lunch discussion.
Tavy was a great story teller, and he left us often puzzled about where the reality stops and the imagination begins (especially when it comes to his life story and the adventures). The mysteries were solved years later, in the book by Bekki (“Octave Levenspiel”), when it was revealed that the stories were indeed true! Thank you, Bekki.
Besides the well written books, in which the complex concept were presented with fun cartoons, we had a pleasure of experiencing the first hand teaching due to the absence of Prof Levien that lasted for about a month, when Tavy substituted the classes.
Tavy was a fantastic teacher, carrying individual, who made us laugh many times. Knowing Tavy was an amazing life lesson. It contributed to teaching us more about personal openness, while setting the hierarchy aside and treating us as equal. We are very saddened by his passing and very grateful to have known him. Our thought and prayers are with Mary Jo, Bekki & Keith, Morris, Kyle, Cody and Quincy.
Denise wrote on March 28, 2017:
I knew Tavi through his daughter, Bekki, who used to bring him to lunch with "the girls." Tavi would keep us entertained as we ate spring rolls and egg noodle soup at Kim Hoa's. He was a charming and inventive conversationalist and always a welcome lunch companion. I also remember the time he tried to teach us how to play bridge. We never really caught on - I think because we spent too much time talking and laughing - but we had a wonderful time. I am glad I got to know Tavi - however briefly. His warmth, intelligence and love of life live on in his incredible family.
Guotai Zhang wrote on March 22, 2017:
I knew Professor Levenspiel by reading his famous book “Chemical Reaction Engineering) (CRE) in 1970’s in Shanghai.
The first Chinese chess we played together was in March, 1981 at pizza party in Professor Tom Fitzgerald’s home. That was the first day when I flew from Shanghai to USA for further study and research and Octave picked me up at Eugene airport. Last time we had played Chinese chess together was I visit him and Mary Levenspiel at Willamette View in Portland 2014.
I had been working and studying with him from 1981 to 1983 and 1988 to 1991. I have learned a lot from lab research, attend class, and daily lunch discussion in his office. We have published and presented eight papers around the world in the field of Chemical Kinetics, Reactor Design, Heat Transfer in Fluidized Bed etc. I had translated his solution book to the problems in the Chemical Reaction Engineering book and published in Shanghai in 1982. I had also prepared 386 Solutions to the Odd-Numbered Problems in the Chemical Reactor Omnibook in 1989.
Tave, you are my life time teacher and friend, I am very lucky and happy to have worked with you. My wife, my daughter and I will remember you forever.
Akshay Modi wrote on March 22, 2017:
My interest in Chemical Engineering started when I first read your book on CRE in 5th semester of my undergrad education. Then only I decided to pursue higher studies in ChE resulting in landing up a PhD admit at IIT Bombay. I am grateful to you for inciting an interest in ChE.
RIP Prof. Levenspiel!
Pedro Castaño wrote on March 22, 2017:
Dear Prof. Levenspiel, your books and legacy will always be a source of great inspiration and motivation, to study and comprehend reactor design and chemical engineering. Thank you very much for sharing with us your vision!
Ashutosh Namdeo wrote on March 22, 2017:
Thank you for your valuable contribution to the Chemical Engineering. Reaction engineering is the subject which identify us as a Chemical Engineer. He will be remembered as a great teacher of all Chemical engineer's across the countries.
Ellen Barrar Dagan wrote on March 20, 2017:
Dr. Levenspiel was my favorite professor ever! I graduated in Chemical Engineering in 1979. Shortly thereafter, I went to Israel and talked about Dr. Levenspiel to my Aunt, who lived in Israel. She had met him in Shanghai during the war! What a small world, and one made much better by having had the pleasure of meeting and learning from Dr. Levenspiel. Ellen Dagan
Alirio Rodrigues wrote on March 20, 2017:
I was a doctoral student in Nancy when Levenspiel gave a Seminar at LSGC on September 17, 1973. He mixed English and French in his beautiful and pedagogical presentation . I still have my notes of that Seminar. I tell my students: if you read and understand Levenspiel's book on CRE is more than enough : the original is better than photocopies...Levenspiel's contribution to CRE remains alive!
Colette Kock wrote on March 20, 2017:
My condolences to Prof Levenspiel's family. His Chemical Reaction Engineering textbook remains one of the few that I still refer to, 22 years since graduating. Thank you for for helping me to understand - and nowadays, for helping me to explain.
pradeep mangesh pednekar wrote on March 19, 2017:
RIP
Natan Padoin wrote on March 19, 2017:
Dear Prof. Levenspiel, thank you for your huge contribution to Chemical Engineering.
Abdi Shirazi wrote on March 18, 2017:
I have been an admirer of Tavy and am deeply saddened by his pass,
I was fortunate to be a student in his Chemical Reaction Kinetics course at OSU in 1969. We formed a friendship that lasted many decades. He used to say, "mastery of a technical subject is when you can explain it to layman so they understand"..
He loved to play backgammon with me and would not quit until he won. Once while visiting Corvallis, we played for hours until I missed my flight.
He will never be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to have known him.
RIP my teacher, mentor and friend.
David Lindsay wrote on March 17, 2017:
I always looked forward to my classes with Professor Levenspiel. His passion about the subject as well as his joy sharing what he knew made learning fun. Even his test problems were fun to work on! His classes were the main reason I tried to specialize in reaction engineering throughout my career. He was a rare talent and a great person.
Milind Kulkarni wrote on March 17, 2017:
I am deeply saddened to know that Professor Levenspiel passed away. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I am personally mourning. This is a terrible loss, not just for the field of chemical engineering, but also for humanity. His ability to simplify complexity was unique. His sense of humor was unparalleled. His kindness was exemplary. His warmth as a person was extremely comforting. I still remember the day when I showed his book on Chemical Reaction Engineering in the US Consulate General in Mumbai to get my student visa to attend Oregon State University. I also remember directly showing up at his office with my luggage on my first day as a clueless foreign student in the University. Without showing any surprise at my outlandish behavior and blissful ignorance, he ensured that I completed my registration as a student and joined Weatherford student dormitory, on the same day! He taught me more than I could ever learn in my life. He taught us in many ways, but he enjoyed making us learn by asking questions we could not answer! He stumped us at will by his questions. I will always cherish the importance of understanding complexity before reducing it to simplicity, which I learnt from him. Professor Levenspiel was one of the greatest human beings I knew. He positively changed and influenced my life. He did the same for many others. His memories will remain with me and countless people. He was remarkable.
Euler Jimenez G. wrote on March 17, 2017:
Professor Levenspiel´s Chemical Reaction Engineering is the one most worn out book I still keep from my early lecturing days at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela (1978-1982). My condolences to his family.
John Medamana wrote on March 17, 2017:
I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Prof Levenspiel in 1976 or 77 in Chennai (then called Madras), India. Professor Levenspiel was visiting Guindy Engineering College, which was across the road from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) where I was a student then. We had used his text book, Chemical Reaction Engineering, during undergraduate. I was so impressed with the book that I walked about two miles from IIT to Guindy to attend the talk. I am so glad I did. He was such a great speaker that I vividly remember that event, after several decades. I must mention the amazing problems at the end of his book chapters. One problem that remains in my memory after many decades is a Sherlock Holmes puzzle about a chemical plant operator who disappeared. The only clue was that the operator was a large man and looked about 18 Stone. The key was to know this obscure unit of measure called Stone!
Professor Levenspiel, RIP.
Ravikiran mandapaka wrote on March 17, 2017:
Dear Prof. Levenspiel,
Thanks a ton, for making Chemical Reaction Engineering as interesting as reading a graphic novel for many Chemical Engineers like me.
Chippla Vandu wrote on March 16, 2017:
I never met Professor Octave Levenspiel in person but his seminal textbook ‘Chemical Reaction Engineering’ was the key reaction engineering textbook at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. I sent Octave Levenspiel an email in 2002 to thank him for writing such a great book and got a lovely reply from him. Rest in peace and thanks for your immense contribution to the Chemical Engineering community.
Joaquin Pinto Espinoza wrote on March 16, 2017:
I had the opportunity to meet professor Octave at the earliest 90 in Celaya Gto. Mex. At that time, we took a picture with him. Five years later, I wrote a letter to him asking for an opportunity to do research work during a sabbatical year at OSU (of course I included the famous picture). Immediately he answered to me, he was retired but recommended me with Professor Goran Jovanovic. Finally, in 1997 I arrived to Corvallis and I saw him again (we were office partners) and it was amazing the way in how he treated my family during the time that we spent at Corvallis getting our degree, my kids loved him (they call him Grampa!). He was a person that shared everything, I remember that he invited us to his New Port house where we spent a full weekend (he gave us instructions and the keys). In 2003 back to Durango, Mex., I invited him to dictate a chemical engineering course at Instituto Tecnologico de Durango, immediately he said yes! During the closing ceremony, after teaching a full week, he danced and sang with us! This man was amazing and irreplaceable!
I´ll always say thank you for giving us your friendship, God bless him!…My condolences to his family!
David Eckelman wrote on March 15, 2017:
I had the opportunity to take Dr. Levenspiel's Chemical Reaction Engineering class at OSU back in 1975. His method of teaching was unique in that he integrated his special humor into his lectures, homework and tests. It was one of the few chemical engineering classes I earned an A in because his approach to teaching made me want to learn.
I recall a time in class where Dr. Levenspiel had fun with those of us who had scientific calculators by challenging us to see if we could multiply numbers faster on our calculators than he could on his abacus. Needless to say, he beat us every time!
I'll always remember Octave. My condolences to his family. He was an inspiration to me.
Bruno wrote on March 15, 2017:
Dear Professor Levenspiel,
I have never had the opportunity of meeting you face to face, unfortunately, given our geographical distance and time. However, having gone through all of your books thoroughly in the past decade or so, I feel like I know you somehow, and I feel deeply grateful for your life and your dedication. You have been my best teacher, and your work has helped me all the way from undergrad to post-doctoral research. In fact, it was thanks to your brilliant work and your unique teaching style that I decided to pursue a career in Chemical Reaction Engineering.
Rest in Peace, professor. Rest in peace knowing that you, through your works and through us your students, will live forever.
Condolences from the Brazilian ChE community.
Richard Turton wrote on March 15, 2017:
I was very saddened to hear about Octave’s passing. But then I thought back on my days as a graduate student with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s with friends like Manuk Colakyan, Goran Jovanovic, Nick Catipovic, Joe Danko, Ty Daniel, Con Kambitsis, and so many others and I just smiled. What a profound and lasting impression Octave left on all of us. We had so many lunchtime discussions and stimulating research conversations with Octave (and Tom Fitzgerald and Ferhan Kayihan). These were truly the most stimulating and intellectually challenging times of my life. In looking back, I could not have asked for a better mentor (nor did one exist) and a stronger supporter. He truly was a “one of a kind” and all the clichés regarding “breaking the mold”, etc., are true for no one if they are not true for Octave. I hope that over the years I have been able to stimulate and motivate my graduate students in some small fraction of the way that Octave did for me. Everything that I am as an academic I owe to Octave. I am ever grateful for having known him and considering him a friend
Nilesh Choudhary wrote on March 15, 2017:
Love you Octave
RIP!
From B grade reaction engineering student
Sanjeev wrote on March 15, 2017:
RIP, Prof. Levenspiel.

In addition to his many contributions to Chemical Reaction Engineering, his engaging style, his generosity, and his vast knowledge and ability to simplify complex subjects in simple terms will make him forever one of the great teachers that I've known of. I never really learned under him but always at conferences saw him surrounded by students. That generosity of spirit and desire to teach (no high-brow "I'm the famous professor; you are a student" attitude for him!) separated him from many other great teachers and professors in the universities of America. He was truly a great man and it is a tribute to him that this morning, trying to remember some basic chemical engineering concept, I've reached out to his Chemical Reaction Engineering book (which I bought in India in 1989-90).
Martin and Beryl Leigh wrote on March 13, 2017:
Thank you Tavy, for my oldest, happiest memory. And all the happy encounters since Monday 13th August 2012.
This is what Martin wrote nearly 5 years ago, after the Olympic Games in London:
"The 2012 Olympic Games finished last night in Stratford. The last time the Olympics came to London was in 1948--from 28th July to 14th August. The last time they came to London my American cousin came to see them and stayed with us in Amersham, UK. I think he got tickets for my Dad and brothers, but I was five on July 31st 1948, and was too little to go to the games. But Tavy, who was always up to something, wasn’t going to let that prevent me from taking part.
Our house at the time, backed on to a playing field --the King George V Recreation Ground. You could easily get over the low fence to play in the “Rec”. Tavy said I had to enter a race, but although I was the only entrant, I was not allowed a walk over the fence. Today there is much talk of non-competitive sport; Tavy’s thinking was clearly well ahead of its time. The race: I had to climb over the fence, run right across the Rec and back home again over the fence. I was then told to stand on an “orange box” by the back door. (An orange box was a wooden crate in which oranges were imported and they were often used as kindling for coal fires). Once atop the box, I was formally presented with a small Olympic pennant. I don’t think they played the National Anthem. I flew my ‘Lympic pennant proudly from the end of my bed for some time, but I don’t know what happened to it in the end. But I do remember it well and I’ve always had a picture in my mind of its 5 rings whenever the Limpi-ics are mentioned.
This year, 2012, as the games of the 30th Olympiad are in London, the British Library (where Beryl used to work and now volunteers) has a commemorative exhibition of past Olympic Games. The exhibits mostly come from the Olympic committee itself, and there are lots of stamps and things like that from all over the world at all the different games.
In 1948 Britain had rationing and was still in economic difficulties after the war, and as I have already said this was the time of coal fires, and orange boxes.
There wasn’t much merchandising of the 1948 “Austerity Games”, but in the exhibition there was a small showcase of non-stamp memorabilia. And amongst the old tickets and programmes was my little felt triangular pennant.
From the 2012 Games, I have an Olympic t-shirt. It was awarded to me, by my wife and daughter, for achieving the 69th anniversary of my birth (and the 64th anniversary of my historic marathon run). There are many different designs of t-shirt available, but I chose the one that has the five rings most prominently. This year on Saturday 11th August from 11am – 7pm the King George V Playing Field, King George V Road (there wasn’t such a road in ’48) was the venue for a “Big Screen event” showing live action from the Olympic Games, combined with a local festival offering ‘taster sports’ for everyone to try - and a great programme of entertainment with bands, dancers, street artists and film-makers helping to celebrate the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’!"
If only they knew. Martin.
Bob Yeats wrote on March 13, 2017:
He was my best friend. We had great discussions in our daily seminar walking our dogs. I didn't know anything about comical engineering, but our exchanges were on geology, about which he had a truly independent view. The one I mention here is about dinosaurs, frequently shown with heads held high munching from treetops, which Tavy showed was impossible unless they had several hearts. I thought this merited a paper in Science.
We were both busy writing books, although I was a lot slower than Tavy. I would take a break from my computer for our dog walks, and I didn't understand how he did it: completing two books while I struggled with only one. Role model? You bet.
Takio Yamada wrote on March 13, 2017:
I first met Tavy as Barney’s dad. Then, I was attracted by Tavy’s marvelous, charming personality. He was warm, kind, friendly
manner of person and also, he had unique sense of humor, scholastic intelligences. No wonder he drew attentions among students, teachers, scientists, even many people.
I still remember one of his questions he asked me about “dinosaurs”. Dinosaurs were so big they must have appropriate heartbeat in order to make blood flow all over their body. Here is one of hypothesis, he says, "At the age of Dinosaurs, Earth atmospheric pressure must have had higher barometers than ours otherwise blood flow is sluggish?!" This kind of questions brought me Scientific curiosities!
He was a real educator, Scientist, human being. I am enriched in my life knowing him. He brought people closer together crossing barriers of race, cultures, languages through his works.
I am going to miss this great man. Thank you Tavy. Shalom
Miguel Menendez wrote on March 12, 2017:
His textbook in Chemical Reaction Engineering was THE reference for most Chemical Engineering students and practicioners. He left a profound impresion during his visit to Zaragoza, showing that the most smart persons can join a deep understanding of technical problems with a warm sense of humour.
Their many scienfic contributions will live for ever.
Paul Ege wrote on March 12, 2017:
I am saddened to hear the news but know that professor Levenspiel will always be among us with his countless contributions and the lives he touched. I was fortunate enough to meet him in person when we arranged a chemical engineering seminar with Norsk Hydro in Norway in 1997. His insight and his person will forever be part of the fond memories in my life.
Paul Ege
Ravichandra Palaparthi wrote on March 11, 2017:
First as a chemical engineering student during early 90's in India, and as a practising chemical engineer for the last ~ 20 years, I am amazed and blown off by Prof. Levenspiel's book on chemical reaction engineering. My only encounter with Prof. Levenspiel in person was when he visited the Chemical Engineering department at the City College of New York around 1996-97 (Prof. Weinstein hosted him) and talked to the graduate students. The one hour or so that he spent talking to all of us is very memorable for me. His humility, down to earth attitude and sense of humor are amazing. I treasure the 'Chemical Reaction Engineering ' book that he personally autographed for me.
David Leigh (formerly Levenspiel) wrote on March 10, 2017:
I was 11years old when I first met my cousin Tavy. It was 1948; just three years after the end of the Second World War. Life was difficult in England, rationing was in force. Following peace in 1945, Tavy had sent us several food parcels packed with food and sweets, then unobtainable in the UK. By distributing strips of gum to my pals, I became the most popular boy in class. Chewing gum during lessons was strictly forbidden and after several miscreants had been caught, an edict was issued that further offenders would be caned. The sentence was firmly carried out on my backside when I was the next offender caught. I have Tavy to thank for this lesson in poetic justice.
Tavy was a young man when he had come to England for the 1948 Olympic Games. You may imagine my excitement when he took me to Wembley Stadium to see GB play India in the men’s final. Imagine my embarrassment when he persisted in shouting ‘farmer’ whenever one of our players missed the ball and dislodged a divot of turf, a rather frequent occurrence as the Indians were by far the better side.
For a young boy like me, Tavy had an almost magical presence reinforced when one morning, having failed to return home on the previous day before the house had been locked for the night, Tavy emerged from our sitting room. It transpired that he had climbed in through the kitchen window, a feat which greatly impressed us all because the window was small and, as we thought, too high to reach without a ladder.
In later years, from letters between our fathers, we learned a little of Tavy’s academic progress and then sometime in the late 1960s I think (I do not remember exactly when) he came to Cambridge (the original one) on sabbatical with MaryJo, Barney, Becky and Morris. It was then that we got to know our American cousin and his happy- go-lucky personality. In 1982 I went with my family to Otter Rock for a most exciting holiday. As well as providing wonderful hospitality, Tavy and MaryJo lent us their camper van and equipment and we toured the West Coast down to LA and back; a never to be forgotten experience.
The Levenspiels were never a family for staying at home and through MaryJo’s genealogical endeavours we came to learn how the clan had spread across the globe. Together with my brothers, Jeffery and Martin, and our wives we attended Tavy and MaryJo’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. It was a joyful occasion at which we met for the first time some members of the wider family. It was also to be the last time that I saw our American cousins. It is much to my regret that time and distance kept us apart.
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)