On December 12th, 2005 my dear friend passed away from Cancer. Dr. Al Levinson, my moral compass, my mentor and an individual who made more then a lasting difference in my life.
He was a simple man, however you met him - as a professor, a teacher or a customer. He had an unassuming nature and offered consistently good advice during one of the toughest times in my life. I will always be envious of his amazing ability to sense B.S. and to give those who spewed little of his time or consideration. He supported my goals and my dreams, and always pushed me to make the right decisions.
I met Dr. Levinson while I was a bartender at the University of Calgary. Amongst the many grouchy, rude, and cheap professors that I met, he was an oasis of kindness and gratitude. He always ate at the same table, he frequently ate the same dinner. He always drank his coffee black and always tipped generously. He was never too busy to offer his help or just talk about the worlds affairs. I made a point of making him feel welcome every time he entered the lounge, and although I did not always succeed in being the best waiter, he was always the best customer. It was an honor and a privilege to be amongst his many friends and proteges.
The last time I saw him, at the end of the summer of 2005 he was well and happy, generous as always, remembering even the smallest details of my life that I had ever mentioned to him. I was on my way to beginning the next phase of my life, and he was as excited about it as me. He offered generous praise, but always cautioned me about being flippant or callous. Even into his last days I imagine he never stopped working or offering his time to those who needed him. I cannot say enough about a man whose character I shall judge all others against.
His accomplishments are too many to list, but always impressive to me, was that a mineral had been named after him - Levinsonite, although he always considered this only in passing, and perhaps with a hint of shyness. He was a role model and should be what all university instructors strive to be: friendly, helpful, and discerning. Never would Dr. Levinson be in a bad mood, or surly towards even the lowliest of students, staff or service people. A kinder man God does not make.
So, Dr. Levinson, I seek to make a tribute to you but I find myself unable to do you the justice that your character and your life deserve. So I will simply say that I will lead a life that you would have expected of me, as I was always determined to be as good a person as you expected of all those people that you let into your life. I thank you for your help, I thank you for you instruction and I thank you for allowing me into those last few years of your great life. May you always be remembered and may your spirit be given the rest you deserve. I hope you finished whatever project you were working on, because I know that if you didn't you are working on it as I speak. Rest in peace.