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Robert S. Leventhal

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Robert S. Leventhal Obituary

Mr. Leventhal was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1927. His parents, Tillye and Harold Leventhal, instilled in him a strong foundation of integrity, duty, and honor which he maintained throughout his life, in every venue and was the benchmark for his friendships. Always willing to teach, encourage, and mentor throughout his life, a kind word or deed, was as natural for him as breathing. Over his lifetime, he raised two sons, had a distinguished career in the United

States Navy, directed five NYSE listed companies and served numerous organizations. Most recently he served as Dean of the Business Administration of the University of Washington. During his tenure at the University of Washington, from 1989 to 1994, Bob led the Business School to the forefront of management education, developing new curricula stressing international business, teamwork, communications skills, ethics and cross discipline approaches. Students under his leadership remember his commitment to excellence and integrity, his humor, the wisdom he imparted on them, and his always open door policy.

Robert Leventhal was a turnaround expert leading numerous companies. He served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union (1984-1989). He was CEO of Communications Products Corporation (1981-1984) and CEO of Publicker Industries (1977-1981). He was an early champion of biofuels and lead the construction of two ethanol/gasohol plants. In 1970 to 1977 he served as Executive Vice President at Engelhard Industries turning around the division's manufacturing, marketing and sales operations globally, including the development and commercialization of the catalyst converter used in all automobiles sold in the USA. As the Director of Supply and Distribution for Amerada Hess Corporation (1968-1970) he was responsible for transportation and logistics of crude and refined oil products.

He served in the U S Navy as a Supply Corps Officer, retiring with the rank of Commander and was appointed to the US Navy Supply Corps School's Distinguished Alumni. He served in a variety of assignments including Destroyers, Guided Missile Cruisers and management of transportation programs. During the Vietnam conflict, he was responsible for the operation, under combat conditions, of all ports, depots and the total logistic support of more than 100,000 US allies' military personnel. Fond memories and a mutually respected relationship with the US Marines were cherished to his death.

Mr. Leventhal was twice awarded the Legion of Merit by the President of the United States, for his meritorious duty during the Vietnam conflict (August 1965-1966) and for his service as Southeast Asia liaison for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He spent the last years in the Pentagon, retiring in 1968. In late 1992, Robert was asked to be Under Secretary of Defense to Les Aspin. An offer he declined.

In 1968 he was appointed by President Reagan to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, replacing Ross Perot. He was appointed Chairman of the State of Washington's Air Transportation Commission by then Governor Booth Gardner.

After attending Prep School at Hotchkiss in Lakeville, Ct., he attended Harvard College graduating cum laude in 1948 with a A.B. degree in Economics. He received his MBA Degree with high distinction as a Baker Scholar from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1956. He was selected to attend the US Naval War College from which he graduated in 1960.

Mr. Leventhal has served numerous organizations in the position of Trustee or as a member of the Board of Directors including Engelhard Minerals and Chemicals, Western Union Corporation, Todd Shipyards, Pacific First Bank, and Mosaix Inc. He also served on the Board of the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

He is survived by his wife Jean Baur Viereck; sons Jeffrey of Los Angeles, CA and Daniel of Medford, MA., niece Janet Horwitz (Murray) of Fairfax, VA and cousin Robert Gross (Cynthia) of West Hartford, CT. and many friends. He and his wife resided in Seattle with a Winter Residence in Rancho, Mirage, CA. His service was private. Memorials are suggested to Swedish Cancer Institute, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA. 98122. The family is grateful to Swedish and Park Shore and physicians, Dr. Henry Kaplan and Dr. Garrison Bliss.
Published in The Seattle Times from Oct. 26 to Oct. 31, 2012
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