In Memory

Leon E Dostert - Class Of 1924

Leon E Dostert

Leon Dostert

May 14, 1904 - Septemer 1, 1971


Dr Leon E Dostert, Professor Emeritus of French and Linguistics and former chairman of the Department of Languages and Linguistics at Occidental College, died suddenly on September 1, in Bucharest, Romania, following his appearance at a professional meeting. Death was attributed to a stroke. He was 67 years old.

Dr Dostert retired from teaching duties in 1969. Born in Longwy, France, he joined the Occidental faculty in 1963. Prior to his arrival at Occidental, he served at Georgetown University as director of the Machine Translation Research Project, sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission, the Research Directorate of EURATOM, and the National Research Council of Canada.

Between 1949 and 1959, Dr Dostert was Georgetown's director of the Institute of Languages and Linguistics, which he founded and chairman of the Department of Foreign Languages at the School of Foreign Service there. He was also instrumental in researching and organizing simultaneous interpretation systems at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials, later at the United Nations, and then at Georgetown in cooperation with the IBM Corporation.

As interpreter to General Eisenhower, Liaison Officer to the French Commander in Chief during World War II, and earlier as Attache to the French Embassy in Washington, Dr Dostert had earned distinguished awards from the governments of the United States, France, Morocco, and Tunisia. He was the recipient of honorary degrees from Occidental and Franklin and Marshall Colleges, and from Georgetown University.

In November 1967 he was presented with a "Festschrift," a congratulatory collection of essays and articles by fellow linguists specially prepared as a tribute to his many and varied achievements in his field. The volume is entitled Papers in Linguistics in Honor of Leon Dostert.

Dr Dostert graduated from South Pasadena High School and attended Occidental in 1928. Dr Dostert, who was orphaned as a youth during World War I had the good fortune to meet Lt Henri St Pierre, a resident of South Pasadena, who was serving with the United States Armed Forces in France, and who was instrumental in bringing the boy to this city, where he made his home with the lieutenant's mother, Mrs Edwidge St Pierre, and his sister, Miss Clara St Pierre, now Mrs J Homer Fike, while attending school.

He is survived by his wife Bozena Henisz-Dostert and three children, Pierre, Washington, DC; Francois, La Puente; and Mrs Anne Winter, Washington, DC. Dr and Mrs Dostert resided at 649 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena.

South Pasadena Review, September 6, 1971