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In Memoriam: Bengt Leopold

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Bengt Leopold, retired professor of engineering and director of the Empire State Paper Research Institute (ESPRI) at Syracuse University, was born in Valbo, Sweden, on Dec. 23, 1922. He received his B.S. degree at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1947. He completed his master's degree two years later, culminating with his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1952. With his young family, Dr. Leopold emigrated to the U.S. later that same year.

For the next 10 years, Bengt conducted and directed research for several pulp and paper companies in Akron, Ohio, USA Hawkesbury, Ont., Canada, and Chillicothe, Ohio. 

In 1961, he became director of the Empire State Paper Research Institute and professor of paper and bioprocess engineering, at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, N.Y. He continued in those roles until his retirement in 1987. Under Dr. Leopold's leadership and direction, ESPRI tripled its size and became the foremost institution for pulp and paper research in the U.S.

Bengt was very active in TAPPI. He joined TAPPI in 1956 and served on a number of committees, including chairman of the research and development division. Ten years later he assumed the editorship of TAPPI Journal.

Dr. Leopold was elected a TAPPI fellow in 1971, in honor of his years of service to this worldwide organization. In pursuing his duties and activities with TAPPI, he traveled to Europe, Australia, and Asia. 

A great honor was bestowed on Dr. Leopold in 1981 as he became the only U.S. representative on the selection committee to choose nominees for the Marcus Wallenberg Prize. This is an annual award to reward and promote scientific achievement and technical development in the forest industry. In this capacity, Dr. Leopold extended his travels abroad.

After his retirement in 1987, Bengt and his wife moved to St. Simons Island, Ga., where they built a house. They were members of the Sea Island Golf Club.

Besides his family, Bengt Leopold's greatest love was gardening. Whether in the cold north or the sunny south, he created beautiful landscapes, for his enjoyment and that of his family. His other pursuits included golf and bridge. Since becoming an American citizen in 1967, Bengt became an avid reader of American history.

Dr. Leopold is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and three children, Magnus of San Diego, Calif., Annika and her husband, Wilson Binger, of Whidbey Island, Wash., and David and his wife, Yogita Chudasama, of Bethesda, Md.

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