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Memorial Service for Dr. Leon Markowicz Dec. 1
11.20.13 |
This obituary was written by Dr. Leon Markowicz before his death.

Leon Markowicz traveled into The Great Beyond on Friday, Nov. 15 at his home after a lengthy dance with Multiple Myeloma. [A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1 in Zimmerman Hall.]

Born on Nov. 9, 1940 in Detroit to Steve Markowicz and Stella Bukowski, he attended Our Lady Gate of Heaven Elementary, Holy Ghost Fathers Missions Seminary, Ann Arbor, then joined the Holy Ghost Fathers after professing vows at their novitiate in Ridgefield, CN. As a seminarian, he was graduated from Duquesne University, then studied theology at St. Mary’s Seminary, Norwalk, CN.

After being voted down for ordination, he was assigned to St. Joseph’s Home for Homeless and Industrious Boys in Philadelphia, where he obtained a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1971 he joined the English Department at Lebanon Valley College until he retired in 2008. He taught courses including freshman composition, Shakespeare, organizational communications, leadership, and executive communications. He also team taught accounting, chemistry, and strategic management in an attempt to integrate written and oral communications into all business administration, economics, and accounting courses.

Not wanting to bore students and himself, he called his courses “experiences,” which included small group work and oral presentations, which were taped and reviewed by the entire class.

He served on College committees by election, by volunteering, and at the request of faculty, deans, and presidents. He was the first director of the Honors Program and the first coordinator of the Academic Support Program, as well as the first recipient of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Leon became a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Writing Project at West Chester, PA, and completed the Faculty Development Workshop in Military Leadership in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy.

He presented papers on writing and communications at state, regional, and national professional conferences. As a stringer for The Daily News of Lebanon, he covered school board and township meetings and sports. He also consulted for local business for communication and leadership.

A member of the executive board of the Northeastern Association of Business, Economics, and Technology, he served as associate editor and co-editor of the group’s journal. A founding member of the Lancaster-Lebanon Writing Council, he held several offices.

As a volunteer, he started the Lebanon Valley College blood bank and was instrumental in LVC’s participation in the Free Noon Meals program. He also served on the Annville Township Planning Commission and tutored at the Lebanon County Prison.

Later, he obtained a master’s degree in creative writing from Antioch University, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and acted as a presenter and judge for the International Society of Poetry in Owings Mills, Md.

A horrible singles tennis player, he and his doubles partner, Bob Kopp, competed in local tournaments and in USTA 4.0 leagues in sectional, regional, and national play. He was a founding member and secretary of the Lebanon County Tennis Association.

He traveled to Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and attended Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He also traveled in the United States, preferring his two favorite cities, New Orleans and Seattle.

He is survived by Constance B. Traub, his loyal and patient lifetime partner; his daughter, Leah Rhodes, of Ringgold, Ga., and husband Geoff and sons, Simon and Micah; his daughter, Eve Markowicz, and son Avery, also of Ringgold, Ga. He is also survived by his sister, Joan Smith, of Atoka, Tenn.

A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held on Sunday, Dec. 1 at Zimmerman Recital Hall of the Suzanne H. Arnold Gallery. The service will begin at 3 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Lebanon Valley College. Please send and mark your gift as follows: “A gift to Lebanon Valley College in memory of Leon Markowicz,” 101 North College Ave., Annville, Pa., 17003. Memorial contributions may also be made to the Hematology/Oncology Department of the Good Samaritan Hospital.

Ave atque Vale.

Remembrances from Colleagues, Friends, and Alumni

“Leon was legendary among the students for being a ferocious teacher who pushed them toward excellence,” said Dr. James Scott, professor emeritus of German and a professional colleague for more than 30 years. “He was equally legendary among these same students once they became alumni and started their careers. It was then that they were particularly able to appreciate how much they had learned from Leon.”

“Leon taught a very influential course in management communications and was instrumental in helping President Peterson [Arthur, 1984–1987] launch the College’s Leadership Program,” noted Dr. Phil Billings, LVC professor of English. “He was also a competitive tennis player and a member of our faculty basketball team, which competed against the students in intramurals for many years.”

His influence on generations of Lebanon Valley College graduates is evident from postings on the College’s Facebook page. “Dr. Markowicz was a great professor and is certainly a big factor in the success of many LVC graduates. He will be missed.” “He was by far the best professor I have ever had. The skills I learned in his classes are the ones that have benefited me most in the real world. I feel privileged to have learned from him.” “Dr. M. was a great teacher and advisor… Thanks for everything you taught us. R.I.P.”

“Leon joined our department at a most critical time,” said Robert Leonard, professor of business administration and chair of the department when Dr. Markowicz moved over from English. “The Business Department’s current prestige and reputation is due, in large part, to Leon’s ideas, expectations, and concern for the success of all his students. More than any of my colleagues, I frequently hear from graduates reflecting on the immense impact Dr. Markowicz had on their lives.”

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