Main | Share Thoughts on Memorializing Dr. Oc at Case »

May 14, 2005

Doc Oc

The Case Western Reserve University campus mourns the passing of Ignacio J. Ocasio, known to everyone as "Doc Oc," who died suddenly Saturday, May 14, 2005, from a heart attack. He was 53 years old. A classically trained pianist and prodigiously talented chemistry professor, Doc Oc came to Case in 1980. Since that time, thousands of students have passed through his chemistry courses and have been infected by his energy, enthusiasm, and dedication. The university has created this blog dedicated to the remembrance of Doc Oc. You are encouraged to express your feelings, share your memories and photos of Doc Oc, and suggest ways for Case to celebrate and memorialize his legacy.

Posted by admin at May 14, 2005 08:00 PM

Other Web Sites Sharing Memories

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://blog.case.edu/dococ/mt-tb.cgi/1303

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Doc Oc:

» Doc Oc from Jeremy Smith's blog
It wasn't that long ago that I was an undergrad here at Case, and while I was a student (like... [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 12:51 PM

» Doc Oc from Blog@Case
We received the news of Dr. Ocasio's passing with heavy hearts. To help memorialize his contributions to all of the lives he has touched, we have setup a blog where anyone that knew him can leave their memories.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 12:56 PM

» Doc Oc's students and friends remember him from The Ziggurat of Doom
Recently, CWRU lost one of its most well known and loved professors, Dr ignacio Ocasio, or better know as Doc Oc. I never had the chance to meet Doc Oc, but he's remembered by his friends and students at this post. I was truly impressed with the way... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 12:49 PM

Memories of Doc Oc

I met Doc during Orientation week of my Freshman year. He told us he was 'hiding out' in the commuter lounge but I know better, it was just a casual visit to really get to know the students.




I remember a few months later he asked how my semester was doing. I told him everything was good but Chemistry (I wasn't in his class). He asked why I hadn't come to see him and he told me that regardless who my professor was - if I had Chemistry problems I could always come to him for help.




The next semester I took Doc's class (which was Chemistry for Chemistry majors) and found out that others of my friends had the same offer and figured if we were going to go to him for help we might as well get the whole experience.

We probably all have a Doc story or two (or three) and as for me - he made my experience at Case a special one (both as a student as a staff member) and he will be greatly missed as both a teacher and a friend.

Posted by: Jared Bendis at May 15, 2005 11:30 AM

Thanks for putting this up, I'd love to see everyone come share something about Doc.

Rather than post my memories here, I'm going to link to the memories I've already posted, since they're getting some discussion there already.

Posted by: Tom Trelvik at May 15, 2005 10:18 PM

i knew doc oc both as a student and as his secretary, and was always impressed by his kindness and compassion and enthusiasm for teaching. i wrote more in tribute to him in my journal, but needless to say, i will miss him.

Posted by: gina hoang at May 16, 2005 10:16 AM

I made the mistake of wearing a Florida Marlins jacket into his office right after the Indians lost to the Marlins in the 1997 World Series. From that day on, every time he saw me he jokingly called me by my nickname..."traitor", and asked me how the Marlins were doing. I only had one class with him, but he still remembered me every time we ran across each other on campus.

Posted by: Matt Heimbach at May 16, 2005 11:18 AM

Doc Oc was the kind of instructor I hope to be some day. He had this love for teaching and an ability to keep even the worst chemist interested. I have a lot of great memories of him, but the thing I am going to miss the most is seeing him almost daily. He was one of these people who is so happy when you see them that you cant help but smile. Whether he was in his office helping students or walking around campus (usually whistling) his happiness was contagious. Thankyou for the smiles Doc! I will miss you.

Posted by: Cindy Harley at May 16, 2005 11:34 AM

Like many students, I had Doc Oc for Chemistry 113, which is the intro lab course. One day, as I locked up my lab supplies, I left my keys on the bench. I walked all the way back to northside without knowing that my keys were still in the chemistry lab. When I got back to my dorm, I opened my bag and noticed my keys were not there--I started to panic. Soon enough I thought to get a temporary key. As I was filling out the paperwork, my cell phone rang-it was Doc Oc! He said he had my keys with him in his office and that I could come get them if I was going to be quick, because it was after 5pm. Excited, I ran all the way back to the 2nd floor of Millis, to his office. I thanked him, and I took my keys. As I ran out the door, I said "Thank you so much, you're an angel!" he said "I know". Now he is an angel watching us from above. I will ALWAYS remember his kindness, generosity and his dedication to teaching. I miss you Doc.

Posted by: Kolie Erokwu at May 16, 2005 12:41 PM

As a colleague of his, what can I say about Ignacio that cannot be said much better by the thousands of students that he touched? He genuinely cared if his students learned and he was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that goal, even if it meant going to elaborate lengths to do such things as learn their names.

As someone who values teaching myself, I can only bow and acknowledge the master. We will all sorely miss him.

Posted by: Mano Singham at May 16, 2005 01:39 PM

Doc was one of a kind. I don't know of any other teacher that could connect with the kids as much as he could. He always had a smile on his face, which put a smile on mine. He was fair, kind, and funny. It won't be the same without him, but Doc you are always in my prayers. Take care.

"Sleep well my friend, and let angels sing the to thy rest."
-Horatio, "Hamlet"

Posted by: Karim Noujaim at May 16, 2005 04:36 PM

i remember the first day i entered doc's office. what impressed me the most was the fact that upon seeing me, he called me by my name. i was so choked that i could not even answer me, then he laughed it off and said that he knew all of his students by name...
he was always caring and understanding, i wish that everyone could like him.
Doc you will always be in my memory and thanks for helping me through a difficult period in my life. may your soul rest in peace
love Jermimah

Posted by: jermimah at May 16, 2005 06:21 PM

I took Doc Oc's chem 111 class the fall of my freshman year. I remember how he came to each freshman dorm to visit all of his students. That semester was my favorite semester largely because of him. I remember there being plenty of times after that semester when I wanted to go see him but I thought "I would just go later." I did see him a few times but I regret all the times I didn't when I could have. As a student I constantly hear about living life to the fullest and working hard to gain opportunities to make a name for yourself in the world. Doc Oc symbolizes this. May he rests in peace.

Posted by: Rajiv Shahani at May 16, 2005 07:08 PM

I remember fall of freshman year I went to Doc Oc's office for some chemistry help, and to my amazement he knew my name. We got into a conversation about piano becuase as everyone knows he is a wonderful pianist, and I play piano also. Since that one office visit and a few brief hello's during the semester I didn't speak to Doc Oc at all for about a year because I was rarely around the chem department. Near the end of fall of sophomore year I was wondering around the chemistry department and Doc Oc came up to me and said hello. I didn't expect him to even remember me, but sure enough the first thing he did was say "Hello Dan!" and to my amazement asked me how my piano playing was going.

Posted by: Dan RIley at May 16, 2005 07:08 PM

Doc Oc was amazing in so many respects. We are all so lucky to have known him. I think my favorite memory of Doc was joining him in the pace car at the 2004 Hudson Relays, cheering on the Class of 2007 (then-freshman) team. Doc was so fired up, energetic, and enthusiastic--and that is exactly how he lived his life.

Posted by: Elyse at May 16, 2005 07:18 PM

Doc is known around campus for instantly learning and remembering the names of all of his students every year. I was told this even before arriving on campus as a freshman this fall. Nonetheless, I can still remember the surprise I felt the first time Doc called on me by name to answer a question in class. Since then, I have always made an effort to stop in his office to ask questions, do a POD, or just chat. I regret not having spent even more time getting to know him. He always had time to help me with whatever I needed. His influence even prompted me to switch my major to chemistry upon returning next fall. In fact, he told me to request him as an advisor. *~* I loved to attend his Monday night review T.V. shows. Doc often offered to drive us back to Northside afterwards so we wouldn't have to walk in the cold. He was such a crazy driver - we laughed so hard at the way he shouted and shook his fist at the other drivers as if they could hear him. *~* The last time I saw Doc was actually in the hospital during finals week this spring. He experienced some vertigo and was taken by ambulance to University Hospitals, where he stayed for the weekend for observation. When we arrived, his room was, of course, packed with students and teachers. Even while ill, Doc still managed to maintain a jovial attitude, and he loved the balloon we bought him at the gift shop, which played music when you touched it. *~* Doc, we will miss your hilarious jokes and "sound effects," your infectious smile and laugh, and most of all, your tremendous passion for chemistry and for teaching. You are certainly a legend on this campus. Thank you for lending us your time and talents. Rest in peace - we love you!

Posted by: Lauren Hassen at May 16, 2005 07:35 PM

I may have only had Doc for one semester, but he will influence my learning forever. All of his sound effects and hand gestures were in my mind with every subsequent chemistry class I took. If I couldn't remember what shape a water molecule formed, all I had to do was remember back to his class. When studying for chemistry exams in other classes, my friends and I would just think about his class.

I may not have known him as well as some of my peers, but I will always remember Doc Oc. What saddens me the most is the fact that there will never be another student who will know the joy, the humor, the love that is Doc Oc. I don’t know if he will ever know just how many lives he touched, but we will. Doc, you will be missed.

Posted by: Jackie Downing at May 16, 2005 07:49 PM

I remember his energy when he was teaching. He'd fly about the room furiously writing on chalkboards, drawing diagrams, and making sense of everything. Sometimes he's do particularly impressive shows and everyone would stop taking notes and just watch him, even giving him applause at the end of class period. Definately a one of a kind prof.
I also remember his review sessions and how he'd do high kicks like the rockettes with his fingers. We'll miss you Doc!

Posted by: Maggie at May 16, 2005 07:51 PM

The most prominent memory of Doc Oc for me was his passion and excitement for chemistry. Even if you disliked chemistry before he was your professor, you left his class enjoying it. Many times during his lecture, he would jump around and scream "I'm excited!" at the top of his lungs. Doc, you will be remembered. Thank you for sharing your energy, your love for chemistry, and most importantly, your love for life.

Posted by: Matthew Iorio at May 16, 2005 07:53 PM

I don't know for certain whether Doc Oc knew my name or not, as I was sort of a class skipper back in those days. But I did go to class enough to be able to experience boring freshman chemistry in the most fun and amusing way possible. Doc Oc was the master at teaching the class that nobody else wanted to teach, and he loved it. And for the ten years since, every time somebody mentions entropy, I shudder a bit in fear at the prospect, however incredibly remote, of every molecule of air going up into the far upper right corner of the room, killing us all.

We have many fine educators on our campus, but none is quite like Doc Oc. You will be missed!

Posted by: Barry at May 16, 2005 07:57 PM

It was many years ago (20) when I crossed paths with Dr. Ocasio. He taught one semester of an undergraduate physical chemistry course I had to take as a graduate student. To this day I have never forgotten that experience and often think back on it. I think I have never had another teacher who was so genuinely passionate about having his students learn. He did what ever it took to engage and educate the individuals in the class including entertaining, tuturing, and nurturing. He was always careful to be fair. His faith in the ability of each of us to grasp and command the material was inspiring. He was a remarkable man. He will be missed by those whose life he touched, and, though they will never know it, by those whose lives he had yet to touch. I extend my condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by: Frank Campbell at May 16, 2005 08:09 PM

I first heard about Doc on a tour, and I'll admit I was skeptical that he would actually learn everyone's name. But, sure enough, he called me by name the first time I saw him. He convinced me not to drop out of chem when I was having problems, telling me that I had worked too hard to give up. He helped me bring my grade up by helping me focus my studies. I work in the admission office, and I always made sure every student who came through there heard about Doc, because he embodies Case. A few weeks ago I took a tour through Millice, and Doc happened to be in class. I let the families look through the window to see the class, and one mother and her son just stood there for several minutes, watching. Then the mother turned to me and said, "What an amazing teacher! He is so excited and you can tell b/c man, he bounces around!" and I just smiled and said "Yah, Doc's great." Chem may not have been my best subject, but I got through it b/c of Doc: he made class interesting and made us really want to be there. He was a friend to all who knew him. I hope that he knows how much he's impacted the campus. I am sorry that the boy from the tour, and all the other students who will come to Case, will not have the chance to get to know Doc. Descanse en paz.

Posted by: Maya at May 16, 2005 08:11 PM

I don't think I need to explain the shock that I feel, and that everyone else feels with the news of Doc. When visiting Case, he was the first teacher you were told about. Whether you had him for a teacher or not, you knew who he was. If you were lucky enough to have Doc as your teacher, you probably talked about all of the jokes, comments and "grunts" that Doc had done that day in class. Doc not only wanted you to learn, and enjoy doing it...he enjoyed TEACHING you. I have never seen or heard of another teacher that put so much effort into the success of his students. Case has suffered a great loss with the passing of Doc Oc, and I for one feel sorrow for the students that never got to experience this wonderful teacher.

Doc, you will be missed but never forgotten

Posted by: Matthew Hire at May 16, 2005 08:21 PM

There is not enough space to write about the influence this man has had on this school. Even as a freshman, I saw how much Doc Oc has touched everyone on this campus. Doc was the first teacher I heard about when arriving at Case. And he is in my opinion the best teached here. I deeply regret not seeing him as much as I could have. You wil be greatly missed Doc, God bless and rest in peace.

Posted by: Yemi Sobowale at May 16, 2005 08:22 PM

I could talk about how Doc Oc made chemistry (a most loathsome subject) worth attending for the first time in my career as a student, but I want to provide him with a little entertainment, wherever he may be right now, in addition to the love.

I will always remember the time he called on Seth in the middle of class and startled him half to death. I've never seen that kid jump so high out of his seat in any of our classes since then, and the look on his face is something I treasure.

Doc Oc was a truly special person, and I think the words of Tommy Chen say it best.

"Such friends cannot be bought. They are made solely from the beating of juvenile thugs. I swell with pride to the bursting."

Team up Bell Grande, Doc, you will be missed.

Posted by: Joe D'Abarno at May 16, 2005 08:31 PM

Doc Oc was more than a person who came to work everyday to help his students learn his matierial; he was a leader, a mentor and most importantly a friend. I've known Doc Oc for 5 years now and there were so many things about him that everybody loved and couldnt see themselves ever forgeting. He will forever be in all of our prayers, as well as his family. Doc, you will be missed!!!

Posted by: Michael C Sivik at May 16, 2005 08:41 PM

Doc Oc was a wonderful person. He always had his door open for anyone who asked for his help. I remember freshman year before finals week I asked him some questions and he left the room for a moment, and I fell asleep b/c of exhaustion. He covered me with his Indians blanket and continued to do work until I woke up. He always wished the best for everyone, and will be dearly missed.

Posted by: Bishoy Gad at May 16, 2005 09:00 PM

doc was a teacher that i will remember for the rest of my life. his way of teaching is the exact way that i hope to teach in the future, and if i could be even half as good as he was, that would be great

Posted by: steve at May 16, 2005 09:13 PM

I will never forget my first interaction with Doc Oc. It was the Monday after Class Elections and walking across Euclid Ave congradulated me. I had never met him before, yet he knew who I was and toke the time out of his day to make mine. It was the little things like giving hints on Hudson Relay line ups or cheering us on even as the senior class passes us by during the last leg.

I didn't even have a class with Doc yet he profundly afftected my life and acted as an eternal cheerleader for our class and Case. I am not sure how it will seem without Doc next year, but I know he will never leave my memory or all those who he so positively afftected at the University.

Posted by: Adam Rupe at May 16, 2005 09:16 PM

Some of my fondest memories of Doc Oc (and I have many) are of watching and listening to him play the piano. He was extraordinarily gifted, with fast fingers and a marvellously musical touch. On a few occasions, I had the honor of turning pages for him, and sitting next to him as he played was electrifying and unforgettable. He played with the same energy and brilliance that he brought to the classroom.
I have never known anyone who lived with more verve and joy than Doc Oc, and he was a profound influence on me both as a teacher and as a musician.

Descanse en paz, Doc. Gracias y adios.

Posted by: Rachel Martin Gamin at May 16, 2005 09:19 PM

I met Doc Oc first through his unforgettable virtual presence. We recorded him for MediaVision Courseware, a sophisticated system that delivers to Case students not just a videotape of Doc Oc lecturing to riveted freshmen, but a streaming video web presentation, meta-tagged so that any Case student at any time can call up Doc Oc's riff on balancing equations, s-p-d-f orbitals, probability density functions, you name it. If it's introductory chemistry, Doc Oc is a click away. Students who never met Doc Oc can still call on him.

Posted by: Mark Turner at May 16, 2005 09:23 PM

Doc was an amazing teacher. He loved Chemistry, he loved teaching, he loved Case, and he loved his students. No matter how busy, tired, and grouchy you were, you couldn't leave his office or his classroom without a smile on your face even if he assigned what then seemed like a ridiculous amount of homework or readings. He expected the best from his students and gave us the tools to reach our goals. I remember watching his TV shows religiously every Tuesday for an entire academic year, dropping by his office over the years to say hello, and seeing him around campus with a smile on his face. It is rare to find people in this world who have such a passion for their work. He will be remembered and missed by all those who have been fortunate enough to cross paths with him and my condolences go out to his many loved ones.

Posted by: Audrey at May 16, 2005 09:35 PM

Doc Oc was the greatest professor that I have ever had. He had so much energy for teaching and for helping people he will be missed incredibly. I remember being in a group of about 20 students that he took to an Indians game while in CHEM 111. He entertained everyone all night shouting at the players and acting hilarious. It was that type of attitude that he brought to the classroom that made learning chemistry very interesting and entertaining. Doc thanks for being such a great professor and person and all of your students will miss you, I know you are at peace now.

Posted by: Jack Visoky at May 16, 2005 09:36 PM

Nacho, little Nachos, that was his nickname when he was little. What I remember most about Doc was that he gave me my own special nickname- Dorita. It means little dear one. He told me that in Puerto Rico he had a friend called Dora so I was his "little dear one" and he always called me by that name. He always had a glow in his eyes everytime I saw him. I still remember his enthusiasm during his lectures... his "wha-cha-chas, and his whooosh's". And how can I forget his blessing he gave us before each of his exams "Benedictus Dominus Vobiscum". Dr. Ignacio Ocasio, you were my favorite professor at Case and may your soul indeed rest in the most perfect peace.

Posted by: Dora Boateng at May 16, 2005 09:36 PM

Doc was not only a wonderful teacher, but he was an amazing asset to Case's community. I has class with Doc (freshman year chenistry), however, I interacted with him more than just in class - as a Class Officer, and as a student in general. He truly cares about the students at Case, and tried his best to make each student's time here the best that it could be. There is not one person on campus who does not know who Doc is, even if they didn't have class with him. I am not sure how this campus is going to hold up without him next year, or any year after that. I am deeply saddened by this news, and send my deepest sympathy to his family in Peurto Rico. Rest in Peace Doc, we miss you already.

Posted by: Kimmy Deininger at May 16, 2005 09:52 PM

Every year he helped us crown a new king, but we always knew our beloved Doc Oc was the real Mr.CWRU. I know I can speak for my sisters that you will be deeply missed, Doc. May God bless you and give you eternal peace.

Posted by: Ana at May 16, 2005 10:11 PM

Chicky, chicky! vvvwWOP!Famous words used by Doc. When I first walked into Chemistry 105 back in 1988, I realized that Chemistry was going to be one of my best classes. I walked out of class many times with tears in my eyes - tears from laughing so hard because Doc would use his entire body as a molecule, slam it against the chalkboard and describe molecular interactions just so we could visualize chemistry. After all these years, we would bump into each other in the parking garage on our way to work. Doc would look at me, smile, and say, "Spencerkoff, how good it is to see you!" (My last name is Spencer). Now I walk by Millis where he taught Chemistry with tears in my eyes, but not from laughter this time. An amazing human, teacher, and friend has fulfilled his tenure here on earth. We will miss you, Doc.

Posted by: David Spencer at May 16, 2005 10:16 PM

I can easily say that Doc Oc is one of the greatest teachers and one of the greatest overall people I have ever met. My only regret is not stopping by to visit him more during the second semester after the announcement was made. All he cared about was his students. I can't even imagine trying to learn the names of every student in 111 and 105, but he did it in a matter of weeks. Some may feel bad for Doc because he never had children of his own, but the truth is, he has thousands. I am only one of these children.

Rest in Peace Doc: You will be missed by all.

Posted by: Bob Niccoli at May 16, 2005 10:22 PM

Doc Oc is absolutly the best teacher I have ever had and one of the best people I have ever had the chance to meet. Thank you for making my freshman year one of the best of my life. Case will never be the same without you. Rest in peace and know you will never be forgotten.

Posted by: Dan at May 16, 2005 10:47 PM

Doc was a great man. He helped me through some rough times during my freshman year. We chatted in his office for long stretches of time and he was always very open with me. We discussed life, death, baseball, my time at Case, etc. The most wonderful memory I have of him is the last email I received regarding my final grade in Chem 111. I was worried I was about to get a very bad grade but he reassured me that I had done alright and the last sentence was "but one grade doesn't make a life, you and I know what's important". For such a man to give me such an honorable compliment...it could only come from a man such as Doc. I'll miss him, as all of the Case community will. I suggest everyone performs a toast in his memory when you are with friends next.

Posted by: Steve at May 16, 2005 11:06 PM

Plug! Chug! Done!.... Doc Oc really made chemistry and all of its tedious information a joy to learn. he will sincerely be missed.

Posted by: Maneesh Anand at May 16, 2005 11:14 PM

I regret never having a class with Doc Oc. I was lucky enough to have known him through Hudson Relays and this year I taped his chem review sessions. All I can think of is how friendly he always was and how he took the time to get to know everyone. I wish I could have better said goodbye to him. This feels so unfair, but I guess I was lucky just to have known him for the short time that I did.

Posted by: Jared Jamesson at May 16, 2005 11:21 PM

Like most, I only had Doc for one semester, but I feel like I was closer to him than I've ever been with any professor. High school chemistry left a very bitter taste in my mouth and I was worried that it would prevent me from the career path I wanted to pursue. Doc turned around my entire attitude toward chemistry and I can say without any hesitation that he was by far the most engaging and caring teacher I have ever had. After a single semester with him he turned my lack of confidence into feeling like a chem star. I went to visit him after being accepted to a professional program and he was so happy for me he insisted on taking me out to dinner. I can not quantify the amount of impact he has had on my life, and I will never forget him. He was an inspiration to all he met and would make you feel important whenever he saw you. Doc, you left a huge dent in Case that will take a long time to fill.

Posted by: Bowser at May 16, 2005 11:25 PM

Freshmen year, my orientation team won some kind of event, scavenger hunt I think, and our prize was dinner at Mama Santa's with Doc. Of course we all had a great time. I may have only had one class with him way back during that first semester, but I never forgot him and, needless to say, he never forgot me. I'll miss you Doc.

Posted by: Tim at May 16, 2005 11:26 PM

I have been away from CWRU for 2 years, but the sense of shock and loss I felt when I heard about Doc Oc's passing was profound. In a lot of ways, Doc Oc embodied everything that is great about CWRU. His dedication and commitment were an inspiration to everyone. Yes, his classes were challenging, but he taught in a way that made you believe you could learn and have fun while doing it. This attitude is Case at its very best.

Doc had such a passion for teaching and genuinely cared about all his students, whether they were aceing his class or failing. What I remember most about Doc was his boundless enthusiasm for chemistry. I don't think I'll ever forget him acting out reaction mechanisms with his hands, like a crazy chemistry puppet show. What an amazing man. If the world had more teachers like Doc, American education would not be in the state it is today.

Doc Oc: your greatest legacy is the lives you touched. Rest in peace. You will be greatly missed.

Posted by: Nicole Grieselhuber at May 16, 2005 11:57 PM

I took Doc Oc's Chem 111 fall of my freshman year. During that time, my Grandmother was very sick, and at one point, I had been told to make preparations to leave for her funeral. So, I sent emails to my teachers letting them know about the possible upcoming absense and asking what I should do regarding their classes. All my teachers responded with the typical "I'm very sorry," and then instructions about how to make up missed work...except for Doc. He sent me a very touching response, telling me about the loss of his grandmother, and saying to take as much time as I needed--not to worry about any work. It meant a lot to me.

Posted by: Amy Orsborn at May 16, 2005 11:58 PM

I cannot believe that he is gone, just like that. His dedication, loyalty and utter love for us is something to be not only admired but cherished. Whenever I would walk into his office, no matter what he was doing, he would just stop, greet me with a smile and call me his little "hija" regardless of how embarrased I got. He would label countless others that passed through his door "sons". If only they or even I had nearly the same affection as he did for us
He had the charisma to make anyone and everyone feel like they were of real worth. That's what I loved about him the most. One time I came to his office crying over something personal and even then...even then in that moment of utter vulnerability, he made me laugh. He made me feel that at that moment I was important, that I was of real value. And I never stopped thanking him after that. He is an inspiration to all.

Doc would have been so happy to see how much you all cared. He was so utterly delighted with just the poster, imagine how happy he is right now in seeing all this. If his family is reading this right now, you alone meant the world to him. He once told me that you are everything to him. I hope you will take good care of yourselves for the sake of him. He wouldn't want to see you depressed.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 12:12 AM

I hope all your sadness and fear has turned into Joy. I hope your passed loved ones are throwing you a party. I hope heaven looks like Puerto Rico. I hope the love on Earth everyone has for you rises up to Heaven. Thank you for sharing yourself.

Posted by: Anon at May 17, 2005 01:14 AM

The wonderful thing about a memory is the smile that it can bring to your face even years after the experience. Just thinking of how excited Doc would get about an M problem during lecture, or working with him on a POD in his office, or seeing him walking down Adelbert and he making a point to say hello and ask how your day was all bring a smile to my face. Doc was so special that he made each moment you were with him special. He was the epitomy of a friend. I love and miss you Doc, but glad to know you are finally home.

Posted by: Megan at May 17, 2005 01:14 AM

The first week of my freshman year, I came down with a case of the chicken pox. Thinking that I'd better let my professors know that I'd need help getting my assignments, I called each professor. I'd met Doc Oc for the first time only a day or two before I called, and only for a few seconds... but after a brief moment of disbelief (in his words, "You're kidding, right? Who gets to college without having chicken pox first?") he quickly offered to drive over to my dorm with my assignments. He did come to the dorm, but wouldn't hand over the homework right away. Why? "I'm not giving you this stuff unless you promise not to look at it until you're better. Your health comes first."

Eventually I decided to major in chemistry, and in the course of dealing with a myriad of professors who didn't come close to Doc Oc in professionalism or teaching ability, I paid many visits to Doc's office. Doc was always willing to provide advice, answer questions, or just let me vent. (Sometimes he'd even join in on the venting; he was just as exasperated with some of his colleagues as I was!)

Rest in peace, Doc. If ANYONE at Case has earned it, you have.

Posted by: David Zinkin at May 17, 2005 01:36 AM

Doc was much more than a teacher...he was a true friend. I had the opportunity to learn from Doc during all four of my years at Case. Whether in the classroom or out of it, Doc was a mentor, a counselor, a brother, and a father. Even out of college, I routinely received IMs and emails...and even birthday cards from Doc! It is rare in one's lifetime to meet a person who made everyone feel like they were the most important person in the world. These memories are a tribute to the phenomenal way Doc has affected us all. I will miss him very much.

Posted by: Yair at May 17, 2005 01:48 AM

I'll never forget the time me and a couple friends went with Doc to see "The Ring" when it first came out. He was calling out "OOHH NOO!!" and his famous "OH GOD" in the theater, and it became impossible for me to take the movie seriously. Before the movie, he insisted upon buying us dinner. After that, I became good friends with him. He offered to give me piano lessons and to accompany me on a trombone solo (for free) this summer.
Doc never let his lonely life stop him from brightening everyone's day. Teaching was not only his job; it was his life, and he lived every second of it. He certainly lived a great life that we all can learn from. Bless you, Doc. I'll miss you.

Posted by: Jaimin Shah at May 17, 2005 01:55 AM

When I think about academics from my first semester, I basically think of Doc Oc...his book which basically had a conversation with the reader, his weekly TV show, Doc guessing people's voices who called in, Doc in Raymond playing requests on the piano in the interlude while we tried to solve a Final review problem that he had given us, a classmate dressing up as Doc and sitting in the front row for the TV show on Halloween, and his ability to engage students with "whoosh," "roof," and pretending that he was a molecule. Doc was always a vital part of the tours that I gave for 3 years; I remember a tour that coincided with Chem 105/106, and the people on my tour were so impressed. I think he initiated the creation of the Freshman Photo Directory starting my freshman year (2000). I introduced my brother to him at a Homecoming football game (I think 2 years ago). Doc, rest in peace.

Posted by: Elyse Heyman at May 17, 2005 02:04 AM

I am reading all of these posts right now, and all I can say is that I regret not getting to know Doc better. Everyone here is talking about their great memories of Doc and how he really had an impact on them. I wish that I had gotten to know this amazing guy better when I had the chance. I had him for CHEM 105 and 106, and I almost never went to class. I never once attended a review session or one of the Monday night TV shows. But the thing is, I went to his office one day to ask him a question, and from then on, he knew my name! I think it is really amazing that he knew the hundreds of students that were in all of his classes. I took his classes as a freshman, and I ran into him a few weeks ago (almost the end of sophomore year), and he still remembered me, even though I had barely had any interactions with him freshman year. This in itself shows just how much he cared about all of his students. He was so enthusiastic in his teaching, too! I watched the lectures online, and they left me feeling guilty about not going to class, which no teacher has ever been able to do before. I think this is because he is so energetic and into the material, and it seems pretty bad when we as students do not show him the same dedication. I got As in freshman chemistry, but I did not get the full benefit of going to class and experiencing Doc Oc the way that everyone else got to, and that I will probably always regret.

I saw him for the last time a few weeks before class ended. I was finishing up o-chem homework last minute before class, and he just saw me, saw what I was doing, chuckled, and offered a friendly greeting, calling me by name. If I had known that that would be the last time I would ever see him, I would have gone in to his office and talked with him. I would have told him that I wished that I had gone to his class when I had had him as a teacher. I would have told him that I had HATED chemistry before his class, but watching VIDEOS of his lectures was enough to turn me into a chemistry major.

I didn't know Doc very well, but even from a distance I know that he was probably the most amazing professor I ever had or ever will. Some professors get annoyed when their students keep asking them questions, but Doc just laughed and was always happy to help. Some professors don't understand that we have other problems and things to deal with outside of their class, but Doc truly appreciated all of us as individuals rather than merely his students. Some professors don't care about us at all and don't care about the stress they cause us that makes our lives harder, but Doc only wanted us to have fun learning the material.

This man taught me to love chemistry, and he taught me what it is to love to learn and to have true passion for what you do. And again, it is amazing what an impact he had on me from a distance! I can only hope that one day I will have a fraction of the passion for whatever I am doing that he did for teaching and for his students.

His death came too soon, but when you think about it, he is not really gone at all. His memory lives on in everyone who was impacted by him, and in this way, he will go on forever. Besides, think about it. He's probably up there right now looking down at all of his students, friends, and family. To his family, there are no words I can use to express how I feel about your loss. However, know that he wouldn't want you to be saddened by this. He would want you to go on with your lives and just cherish the good times you had together.

Rest in peace, Doc. We love you, and you will live on forever in our hearts.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 02:07 AM

Doc Oc made chemistry understandable to me even though I did not enjoy chemistry as I subject, I enjoyed having Doc for a professor. He had a great ability to make difficult concepts clear. He continued assisting me with chemistry even when I had finished freshmen year and had to take organic. I'll never forget his use of "Caca" and the blessing "Santus benedictos" prior to big exams.

Doc's office door was open most of the time if he wasn't in Schmitt lecture hall or in lab teaching 113. He was always glad to see current and former students. He had a big smile and was genuinely happy to see you.

Doc had a great memory and he would have the pictures of incoming students flash on his computer screen to help him learn the names of all his students. I was one of the students that did not have a picture and can remember him referring to it and often requesting to get a picture. I don't know if I ever relented as I have always hated having my picture taken.

When Doc asked you how you were he wanted to know the real answer. I can remember during my senior year when he asked me shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer and I told him "I've been better as I've just received some bad news." Doc didn't pry but offered support and I told him about my illness. Doc offered his support and prayers. He would ask after my health and remind me that he was praying for me even after I had graduated and continued on in nursing in the ND program at Case. He was a reason why I would wonder over to the quad occassionally.

While he started of my professor, Doc became a friend and I will dearly miss my friend.

Posted by: Robin Bandi at May 17, 2005 03:13 AM

I was one of the few "undecided" students that was assigned Doc as my advisor freshman year. Looking back on it, I was extremely blessed to have chosen chemistry as one of my courses, or I might not have even met Doc. It was through Doc that I made one of my greatest friends at Case. And no, he never forgot my name. "Accordino!" he'd always shout when he saw me, and attempt to converse with me in Italian.

Doc, I can't believe how much I smiled when I first met you, and every time I saw you after that. You were the one teacher that I knew about before coming to Case, and probably one of the only ones I'll ever remember after leaving. The fact that you're gone is almost too cruel for words. I'm so sorry that I never got a chance to say goodbye. You were my brother, my teacher, my mentor, and most importantly my friend. I pray that one day I might be anywhere near as blessed to teach with all of the warmth, kindness, and love that you showed to us each and every day. Watch down on us from Heaven my friend, I promise we'll make you proud.

Posted by: Nicolo Accordino at May 17, 2005 03:42 AM

Hi,

I love many of the posted ideas especially the one's that reach the greatest number of people (as he did) however, I believe this is not all about us in the Case Community but about Doc Oc's 'Family.' How does his 'family' feel that the Case Community can best serve his legacy. I belive it is important to reach out to him, his family and his strong heritage.
Let's best celebrate his individuality and let his death be a platform for outreach and remembrance amongst the case community. -Peace

Posted by: kathy lanese at May 17, 2005 06:41 AM

Hi,

I love many of the posted ideas especially the one's that reach the greatest number of people (as he did) however, I believe this is not all about us in the Case Community but about Doc Oc's 'Family.' How does his 'family' feel that the Case Community can best serve his legacy. I belive it is important to reach out to him, his family and his strong heritage.
Let's best celebrate his individuality and let his death be a platform for outreach and remembrance amongst the case community. -Peace

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 06:44 AM

I could never pass the Schmitt Lecture Hall when Doc Oc was teaching and not stop just to watch him teach for a few minutes. He was a terrific teacher.

Posted by: Stephen E. Haynesworth at May 17, 2005 07:41 AM

"Bread, turkey turkey, bread, turkey turkey, bread..."

For a man who dedicated his life to his students instead of research, who was refused promotions and raises for years and years in hopes that he would become more 'productive' than to 'just teach'... What can be said about a man who cared so much?

From trying to beat each other at high scores in 'Snood' to being mesmerized by his abilities as a pianist, I have more good memories of that man than I can believe during what was overall a hard time in life. There are enough lessons from him for all of us to take a different one.


Rest in peace, dear friend and mentor. And when I get up there, you'd better have a turkey sandwich waiting for me.

Posted by: Brett at May 17, 2005 08:53 AM

Having been all caught up in the things I needed to do before I left for school freshman year, I forgot to send in a picture of myself. The first day I went to do a P.O.D. in Doc's office he made me stay to have my picture taken and learn my name. He was very apologetic that he did not already know my name when it wasn't even his fault; it was my own. Doc was an amazing teacher and person. Even my roommate who did not have him for class would stop to watch him a little when I was watching parts of his class in our room because he was so entertaining. I will always cherish his class and the time I spent in his office.

God Bless.

Posted by: Alyssa George at May 17, 2005 08:59 AM

It's hard to imagine Case without Doc. The very thought seems absurd, but it's a thought we're all going to have to get used to.

The thing I'll remember most about Doc is that I look back at his chemistry classes with a sense of nostalgia which isn't something I can say about any other class I've ever taken. When I came back to Case for law school five years after I graduated I found myself watching Doc's review sessions on the Case channel. Mostly for their entertainment value, but also to remember what is was like to be a stranger in a strange place and knowing that at least one person cared enough to learn your name.

Posted by: Mark Starr at May 17, 2005 09:09 AM

As a staff member of the Chemistry Dept. I knew Doc
Oc for quite some time...He was a wonderful,kind
person and an extraordinary teacher..the students
loved him. He made his courses eventful and fun.
My one outstanding memory of him was a few years ago
he gave a piano concert for the Chemistry Dept.
and he literally made that piano talk..He was awesome...He will be missed but, I know that he is
at peace with His maker.

Posted by: Dee D'Angelo at May 17, 2005 09:12 AM

I remember going into Doc's office a couple days before fall break and learning about his obsession with the bread turkey turkey bread turkey turkey bread sandwich, which showed me that Doc was no inconsiderate professor who thinks that he is better than everyone because he has a master's degree. No Doc was a excellent professor and an even better friend. Even nice enough to give my friend and I a ride back to the dorms after a review session even though he barely knew me. It's difficult to put into words how nice Doc was to everyone and how much he cared about all of us, like his birthday cards that he sends, my birthday was on monday and I got a card from him, I know its automated but it was amazing that he would take that time to do that for me and everyone else that went through his class. But now God has taken this great man from us because he has done his work here on earth and all we can do now is cherish the memories we have of him and pray that we will get to see him again.

Posted by: Brad Antczak at May 17, 2005 09:15 AM

I had Doc for my chem 111 class of course and I remember him being such an awesome, down to earth, and welcoming professor. I will never forget his pod's every week, his Spanish-speaking during class, and his remembrance of students. He welcomed anyone into his office and offered advice if they needed it. He truly cared. God bless his soul.

Posted by: Cathy Ruczko at May 17, 2005 09:25 AM

As the academic advisor in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, I can honestly say that throughout this entire 6 year period that I've been at Case Western Reserve University, I have not ceased to hear heart felt grateful remarks from students regarding Doc Oc and his passion for teaching and helping. Doc Oc embraced diversity and sincerely made sure that all students felt welcome and supported no matter who they were.

Truly Doc Oc’s life is to be celebrated! He will receive a great heavenly reward for his love and compassion in which he poured out to others. May God Bless his family, our student body, faculty, staff and all who loved him.

Sincerely,
Tina

Posted by: Tina at May 17, 2005 09:29 AM

Doc Oc was my first teacher at CASE that left great memories as a great lecturer and fun one. English is my second language and that first semester was very tough for me. Doc Oc made it easy to understand him and chemistry that he taught. It has been 8 years since and recent news made me very sad. No other professor left such great memories. Very sad news for everyone who enjoyed him carisma and laughter

Posted by: Ilya Bederman at May 17, 2005 09:38 AM

What if we named one of the new buildings after him? Since he was so close to the students, and since they are just named House 4 (etc).

I also like the idea of a scholarship. Or could we start some sort of grant for undergraduate research in chemistry?

Posted by: Heather Furman at May 17, 2005 10:01 AM

Doc was the quintessential teacher, who loved to unlock the mystery of chemistry for his students. I will remember most his love of students and his desire to contribute to their growth. In fact, Doc wrote one of my recommendations to graduate school. He also checked on me from time-to-time to ensure that I was making progress.

Doc will be missed sorely. He is the best example of the positive impact a caring faculty member can have on a student.

Posted by: Jackie Chisholm at May 17, 2005 10:02 AM

Like many of his students, I was touched by Doc Oc. His energy, his humor, and his love for Case made me excited to go to chem everyday. I was amazed when he first called me by name, and was even more amazed to learn that he knew each and every one of his students' names. He always called me "Poof"enbarger, and gave me a little smile whenever he said that, that made me feel like that smile was just for me. I know everyone can say that about him. We'll Miss you Doc. Case won't be the same without you.

Posted by: Melissa Puffenbarger at May 17, 2005 10:07 AM

I will miss him calling me the day before his semester exams and reminding me to open the balcony in Strosacker. When he would drop off his Final Grades, he would stop and say good-bye before he was flying home to Puerto Rico and always asked me to say a prayer for him because he was afraid to fly. He had that special smile for everyone and was truly devoted to his students and teaching. We will miss you Doc.

Posted by: Linda Hansen at May 17, 2005 10:46 AM

I quite regret never having had a class with Doc Oc, especially as he was one of the professors that I heard about when I visited campus as a pre-frosh. Still, it was impossible not to know Doc Oc. Most of my friends had him for at least one semester, so I heard all the stories about his lecture style, overheard bits and pieces of the TV show, recognized him in his many appearances around campus. I always considered Doc to be one of the defining aspects of the undergraduate experience at Case, and I, though never close to him, am extraordinarily sad to know that he's gone.

The last time that I saw Doc, he was helping a student with a problem in Hovorka atrium as I passed by. Even just the sight of him brought a smile to my face, an amazing feat considering I'd never had him and he probably didn't know who I was. My goal one day, though, is to teach, and I rest assured that Doc will always remain a role model for me in that respect.

Doc, it's beautiful to see already the legacy that you have left among us. The number of lives that you have touched can hardly be counted, and I pray that Case never forgets you. Rest in peace, sir; I'm certain that the angels met you with your wings the moment you reached heaven's gates.

Posted by: Nicole Sharp at May 17, 2005 11:25 AM

Doc's unique zeal for teaching, as well as the amount of energy, dedication, and most of all, time, he dedicated is unsurpassed by any teacher I have had or ever heard of. On a personal note, I took Chem 111 with him, but saw him regularly afterwards and he even helped me one summer with ochem EVERYDAY for at least 10 minutes. He made time for students in a way that is unlike even the most "open" of teachers. Almost never was there a time students were not sitting on his couches. He would give ochem reviews in the summers - for a class he wasn't even teaching. This type of dedication is truly special and I hope many of the great ideas in regards to a memorial will become a reality.


For Doc, we were his family, we were in many ways, what we he loved. He never made this explicit (to me anyways), but actions speak louder than words. Exactly a month ago I came home for a short while I had the chance to see him. He seemed as cheerful as always, but after several conversations, I believe he was prepared for this. He asked for my prayers, which he will receive, but he would always give students a short blessing/benediction, so I will return the favor here. We miss you Doc, you are in our thoughts, and your legacy will not be forgotten. Until we meet again...


O Saving Victim opening wide

The gate of heaven to all below.

Our foes press on from every side;

Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.


To Thy great name be endless praise

Immortal Godhead, One in Three;

Oh, grant us endless length of days,

In our true native land with Thee.

Amen

Posted by: Nima Malakooti at May 17, 2005 12:15 PM

Never, ever did I think I would meet a chemist whose charisma ran so deep that everyone in his class felt compelled to mimic his accent when returning his greeting of "good afternoon!", which kicked off every lecture. Gone but never forgotten, Doc Oc will always be one of Case's leading lights.

Posted by: Eric Jones at May 17, 2005 12:34 PM

I was so sad to hear about Doc Oc's passing. I remember meeting him during freshman orientation, and he already knew my name. And everyone else's name for that matter. After four years at CWRU I didn't even know the names of everyone in my class. That was amazing, and made you feel instantly like at CWRU the faculty cared about you personally. I was a science/music performance double major, and Doc Oc was my accompianist for all of my jury perfomances. As I've continued on in my career as a scientist, I remain impressed that he continued to keep up with the music. It is so easy to close off one side of yourself to devote time to the other, and he clearly did not do that. In that way he was really inspiring. Also, totally hilarious.

Posted by: Lisa at May 17, 2005 12:48 PM

I'm not totally sure if i have a favorite memory of doc oc because almost everything he did had an impact on me. I met him when he wrote me a permit so i could take chem 111--I was so nervous about asking some scary prof for something since i was this nervous dorky freshman, but i went into doc's office and he wrote me the permit without thinking about it and told me that it was the smart thing to do for undecideds. I felt a lot better about the whole thing and when i went to meet doc later on that night he already knew my name and remembered me from before. I was also really impressed that he knew the names of the fifth-years i was with. I had doc for 3 classes that year and i knew that if i was having trouble with anything he would write up a review problem or two for me. He's the reason I became a chem major. He also helped me out in my job hunt by writing me two recommendations. I was worried about asking him because i knew he was so busy but he said he would gladly do it. I could go on for a while about how nice it was to have doc as our hudson relay coach (we wanted to win for him) or how he sent everyone a birthday card or how his door was always open to people who wanted to talk. But i'll cut it short here and say that I am sure Doc is in heaven as I am as sure of anything in my entire life. His impact on all his students and on the university as a whole was huge, the class of '09 is sorely deprived by not having doc as their prof, friend, and mentor.

Posted by: jess kingsberg at May 17, 2005 12:52 PM

There are some things I never wanted to write about in my lifetime, and these words fall in that category. I don’t want to see them or think about what they imply or have anything to do with them: Doc just simply can’t be dead. He’s the professor who knew who I was in college when I wasn’t sure I’d ever find myself there. He’s the advisor who was willing to reexamine labs and tests for extra points and force you to look at things positively. He’s the friend who called me “Yvettecita� and loved my webzine, taking the time to tell me what he thought and say he was proud of me when most people never acknowledge my writings at all. He’s the man who I knew would be one of the most incredible I would ever come across in my lifetime because he was like this to everyone around him and took genuine joy in doing so. Some professors act as if teaching a necessary evil, but not Doc, not in a million years.


But he is gone and just thinking about that means I have tears in my eyes for at least the tenth time tonight. I’ll never be able to take him up on his invitation that sounded more like a commandment to visit him in the fall, and the mere thought that someone else will surely take his office soon is unthinkable. But when I fall asleep tonight and wake up tomorrow the fact will still be the same and I’m going to have to live with that. I’m going to have to live the rest of my life missing him like I do already, taking solace only in the fact that I was lucky enough to meet him and had the privilege of being his student and friend.


One of the oddest justifications I have heard for religion is when people wish there is a God because some people are so evil there needs to be a hell. But tonight as I sit here I am wishing the opposite: I wish there was a heaven just so Doc could be there. Even if it ends up I’m wrong and I wake up in a land of brimstone it could never be truly horrible because I’d know Doc got to go to heaven.


Requiescat in pace, my dear teacher and friend. I will miss you.


Posted by: Yvette Cendes at May 17, 2005 12:55 PM

Doc Oc was one of the kindest souls I have ever met. He inspired his students to learn, was there for them in and out of the classroom and was the only person who could make chem 105 enjoyable! He will truly be missed.

Posted by: Ayesha Ahmed at May 17, 2005 01:52 PM

When the Biology Building was being remodeled, our lab was moved to Morely and it turned out that Doc's office was among ours. At that time my big goofy golden retriever Henry came to work with us and played with Marty Rosenberg's dogs also in Morely. We had a gate up to keep Henry from going to far, but whenever we put it down, he would go right to Doc's office. Henry knew a soft touch when he saw one. There he would invariably be met with a pat and a "cookie". Within a month, Doc had a years supply of dog biscuits in his office to feed to his canine friends. I hope he took some with him, because I am sure Henry is looking for him now.

I never met any teacher who enjoyed teaching and being with students as much as he did. He was an inspiration to all of us.

Posted by: Roy Ritzmann at May 17, 2005 02:42 PM

My favorite memories of Doc come from the annual super bowl party which Phi Tau held at his apartment. I was always impressed by how even at home, he was just like he was in class. His funny little phrases, his excited actions where no act, that is how Doc was, and it always impressed me that anyone could be that fun and joyous all the time.

I feel so sorry for those incoming freshmen who will never know the ball of energy that was Doc.
I will miss you Doc.

Posted by: kaveh at May 17, 2005 02:59 PM

Everytime I think of the fact that Doc Oc is no longer hear, I get chills. It's hard to imagine what Case life would be without him, because I've only known it with him. He was always happy and cheerful--always welcomming students into his office. The second I came out of the stairwell to enter the 2nd floor of Millis, I always heard his loud, energetic voice in his office, having a good time with students. I'll never forget leaving chemistry class and walking back with friends repeating and mimicing the actions and sound effects he made, such as: "caca" or "woosh". During the first week of classes, he came to all of the first year dorms on northside to meet everyone! This really impressed me and it showed how much he really wanted to get to know all of his students. Even though his classes were hundreds of students, it felt much more intimate because he could easily call on anyone by name to answer a question. With Doc, everyone was an individual, not just a number. When I used to watch his lectures that he posted on mediavision, I would laugh out loud or answer questions that he asked because he was just THAT engaging and entertaining. Doc really wanted all of his students to do well, and I loved all of the extra credit he gave and his "quizzes" that everyone was guarenteed to get right! A few times in class, when he called on someone at random, he would say "It's okay, we're all family here. I'm the dad and you all are my children". I know he REALLY felt this way and it showed in every lecture, every interaction with a student...in EVERYTHING he did. This is too unreal...Just a few weeks ago I saw his smiling face at the chem fiesta walking around offering everyone pizza rolls. Over fall break he invited some students who were staying on campus out to lunch. It was in his nature to be involved with every aspect of student life at Case--this I greatly admired about him. With Doc, teaching just did not occur in the lecture hall--it was everywhere. All of the words here can not even begin to describe a person as great as Doc.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Doc, even though you're with God now, you'll always be a part of Case Western Reserve University and a part of all of the lives you touched. I am very grateful to God that I had the opportunity to be one of your students, and I will never forget all of the lessons I learned from you: in chemistry and otherwise. You were much more than a professor to me, you were also a friend- someone who I felt very comfortable around. I miss you a lot. God Bless You always.*
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 03:00 PM

When I heard of Doc Oc's sudden passing, I felt my blood instantaneously turn to ice. The shock was something unexpected for me, as I have never felt that way about a teacher before, and probably never will.


I first met him in a summer program before my freshman year and thought "this guy is way too excited about Chemistry." His smile and laugh were infectious and when one looked at him, one couldn't help but forget everything else and feel wonderful. It never ceased to amaze me how he could memorize faces and names so quickly and recall them years later.


Even a decade later I can still remember Doc Oc's lectures in Chem 105/106 and how some of his vernacular has found its way into near everyday use. It's almost like a secret code among CWRU alumni for when one says "Call it 'X'" or "Plug, chug, done" the other automatically knows it's a Doc Oc-ism. One thing he would say was "Ask God when you die." I know he was a strong man of faith and now he has the chance to ask God everything his heart desires.


Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord
And may perpetual light shine upon him.

Posted by: Brigitte at May 17, 2005 03:30 PM

Doc was hilarious. I remember we had some review for a test where doc would put a question up on the overhead, everybody would have time to answer, and then he'd discuss the answer. Since it was football season, and doc was a big sports fan, apparantly he had gotten the background music that they play while they are showing the weekends games highlights on "sunday night countdown" stuck in his head. During the time that we had to answer the question, he would sing the tune to the song just as loud and agressivelly as it was played during the tv show. Hilarious. He would do some little thing like that would just crack me up at least once a week. What a great, funny guy. Not a bad teacher either. I'm sure the university will miss him.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 03:57 PM

Since joining the Case staff 3 years ago I had the pleasure to work with Doc every Monday night on his TV review Show. He thought it would be fun to have an opening video play before each review session started and asked me to produce one for him. He loved watching the opening video over and over again. He was very proud of the entertaining value it brought to his TV Show. It was an honor to work with him. MediaVision will greatly miss our Monday night shows with Doc. Here are one of his opening videos
mms://mv-helix1.cwru.edu/a/mv/doc_oc_video.wmv

Posted by: Peter at May 17, 2005 04:12 PM

Dear Doc, I will miss you dearly. May your soul rest in peace. The sweet memories that you have left behind will linger upon me always.
Love you doc.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 04:12 PM

I had Doc Oc for Chemistry Lab freshman year. I was an engineering student who hated Chemistry. During the first Chem Lab...some titration garbage, I totally messed up the experiment. Knowing what the results should have been prior to the lab, I fudged my results to get the "right" answer. At the end of class, feeling like I beat the system, I found out that I had to actually use my solution for the next 3 weeks' labs. A terrible feeling came over me b/c I knew if I took that solution into the next lab, I would surely fail!

I went to Doc Oc and told him what I did. He smiled, cracked a joke, and said we'll tell the T.A. you "spilled" your solution, and he let me do the lab again, without taking off any points.

As a M.E. student, I didn't have much interaction with Doc Oc, but I will never forget how graciously he handled that incident my freshman year.

Posted by: Todd at May 17, 2005 04:50 PM

I never had the chance to meet Doc, but what I've read here has brought tears to my eyes. We all should hope that the lives we lead, lead others to write such wonderful things about us when we're gone. These comments also should serve as a reminder to us to let others know how much we appreciate them while they are here.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 06:22 PM


What amazed me most about Doc Oc was that he always took time to help me with chemistry, even though he was involved in so many things, and extremely involved in the chemistry class he taught. On top of that, he was always ready to talk with students about literally anything that was happening in their lives or just any subject. I remember one Saturday afternoon I was in my dorm room working on homework for one of my classes. All of a sudden I hear a knock on my door and Doc’s familiar voice yelling “Antenucci� like he always did when he saw me. Sure enough when I opened my door there Doc was, standing there like it was perfectly normal for a chemistry professor at Case to visit his students at their dorms. But that’s how Doc was, so open with everybody that there were no limitations to what he might do to get to know a student or help them with chemistry. I know I’ll never forget Doc because he made my learning experience a truly memorable one, but more than that he was sincerely interested in me as a person, not just as a student. More than just about anyone I’ve ever met before, he really tried his best to help me reach my full potential, not just in chemistry, but in life. Every time he saw me, Doc would ask me how I was doing and ask if I was keeping up with the chemistry reading. On my birthday he not only wished me happy birthday when I visited his office and before class, he also sent me an online birthday card with an animation wishing me happy birthday. Now it would be a little surprising if Doc Oc did all this for just me and a few other students, but the fact that he did all the things I have mentioned for every single student he knew is amazing and inspiring. I will miss you Doc, but I will never forget you because your love of life was so strong that it stays with us even at your death. Thank you Doc for being such a great example to me and all your students. May God grant you mercy and peace.

Posted by: Chris Antenucci at May 17, 2005 08:05 PM

Doc Oc will be missed. He was the one who made chem 105/106 bearable for those bound to go into management careers. His in class grunts and jokes kept us awake during the worst of classes. His understanding and kindness made a world of difference to thousands of students. And finally he was the only teacher whom i have ever met who took the initiative to learn everyone’s name. His efforts made me feel at home in Cleveland.
Now, in hindsight, i regret not spending more time and effort in learning his birthday and his life in general. In a sense, i feel like i was selfish to such a great man. Just a few short weeks ago, i ran into doc and he told me that he had recently been diagnosed to cancer. shocked i sat there with nothing to say, i wanted to tell him everything would be alright...but that seemed so clichéd. He spoke first saying, "god has a greater plan than you or i know." I now hope that he is in peace and looking over each and every one of his case children.
I Miss you doc.

I hope that case will acknowledge his importance at case and create an award in his honor or name a building after this great man.

Posted by: Alexander DiCaprio at May 17, 2005 09:25 PM

Doc Oc was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He was so committed to teaching and was truly a blessing to any freshman who ever took chemistry with him. He made a difficult class during our first year at Case not only learnable but actually fun. He was completely dedicated to his students and I will never forget the review sessions he held for a bunch of us in the lobby of Raymond, for which we would make him dinner. He was always energetic, charismatic, and kind-hearted. There will never be another professor like him, and his death is truly a loss to the entire Case community. Rest in peace Doc, we will all miss you!

Posted by: Tracy Fuller at May 17, 2005 10:56 PM

As a biochemistry major in the class of 2004, I was encouraged to take a different section of CHEM 105/106, taught by Prof. Simpson. Despite that fact that I never took Doc’s course, as fate would have it I met up with him on my birthday (February 1) in spring 2001.


I vividly remember meeting him; I was in CHEM 113 having an absolutely miserable time with the “Determination of Soda Ash Unknown� experiment and he happened to be our substituting professor that day. I remember thinking, “this is certainly no way to impress the chemistry faculty... I should be able to carry out a titration, I’m a biochemistry major.� After a few failed attempts, I consulted Doc. I remember him acknowledging my frustration and me mentioning that it was my birthday. Considerately, he paused, wished me a happy birthday, and gave me pointers on how to finish the experiment.


It wasn’t until my senior year that I really interacted with Doc Oc again. He asked me to help him revise his textbook--I was more than happy to help. As I continued to aid in the revisions, Doc would ask me to assist in grading exams or with other such tasks.


Through both my interaction with Doc and those of others that I witnessed while helping him, I noticed one of his qualities in particular: Doc Oc cared about people. To many, that may sound trivial at first, but in a society where so much pressure is put on results, performance, and money, Doc managed to stay true to what really matters.


It was a pleasure, Professor Ocasio.

Posted by: Jonathan Ipsaro at May 18, 2005 01:03 AM

I know I will be echoing so many of the comments posted before me but, of course, I need to add my two cents.

Doc Oc was probably the most recognizable face at Case. He was the first impression that Case made on incoming freshman. I remember vividly how reassured I felt, sitting in a class of 300 students and realizing two things: that I was not just a number (because Doc knew everyone's names) and that with professors like Doctor Ocasio, learning tough subjects could be easy. (If only every other professor cared about his/her students a tenth as much as Doc cared for his!)

I remember Doc's hilarious sound effects and his seemingly endless energy in the classroom. But I remember also the way he loved to give people Spanish nicknames - I was Jeremias. I can still hear his voice saying it! I remember being awestruck that someone as talented in the classroom as he was, and who devoted as much of his time to his students as he did, still had time to keep up his skills as a concert pianist. Watching and listening to him play the piano was one of my favorite parts of his dorm-lobby review sessions. I remember he had an uncanny ability to hear a piece of glass break in Chem 113 lab, and to know instantly what had broken by its sound - announcing out loud how much it was going to cost to replace, to the horror of the student unfortunate enough to break a flask or pipette. And I remember the lines of students (of which I was occasionally a part) who would follow him from his office, down the stairs, and into Shmidt Auditorium - I called them "Doclings" because they reminded me of ducklings following their mother.

Doc, Case will be a different place without you there. But throughout the world, your memory lives in the hearts of every student lucky enough to have had the infamous Doc Oc as their professor. God Bless, Doc.

Posted by: Jeremy at May 18, 2005 10:35 AM

There is not much that I can say here that has not been said already. Dr. Ocasio was a truly gifted individual. He was kind, caring, loving, and simply adored his students and loved teaching. We will never have another individual like him. He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. When I needed a pick-me-up I could always count on him. It's very difficult walking by his office and knowing he's never coming back. Doc Oc I love you and you'll forever be in my heart. Peace.

Posted by: Pat Eland at May 18, 2005 11:28 AM

Looking back on my freshman year in 1989, few classes and professors remain as bright in my memory as Chem 105/106 and Doc Oc. He was special. He made you feel as if you were the only one in his freshman chemistry class of over 300. He knew us all by name. He made Chemistry fun.

I spent 10 years on Case's campus and encountered only a few educators who truly had the gift for teaching and ability to make any subject interesting and enjoyable. When I think of the hundreds of new faces arriving on campus this fall to begin their journey through higher education, I am saddened to think that Doc won't be there at the beginning to greet them.

My dearest memory of Doc was when news of my 18th birthday made his pile of announcements in the front of the lecture hall. He led the class of 300 in a round of "happy birthday" before starting lecture. That was Doc's style. He made everything personal.

Case's campus will never be the same.

Posted by: Annie at May 18, 2005 11:51 AM

Simply put, Doc made Case a better place. He showed all of us everyday that one person can make a huge difference.

Posted by: Joe Pieri at May 18, 2005 03:23 PM

Doc was a wonderful friend and the best teacher and employer I ever had. I will always remember looking forward to his class, even the second time around, and especially the times spent in his office. Doc's office was the perfect place to hang out between classes, and I know I was there at least 3 times a week. At least Doc now finally knows why only water can form 4 hydrogen bonds! I'll miss you always...

Posted by: Mark Sgambellone at May 18, 2005 04:12 PM

When I came to visit campus and my sister the fall of my senior year of high school, all I heard about was my sister's favorite teacher, Doc Oc. I went to his class on a visit with Christine, who was an SI at the time, and he already knew my name before I was introduced. From that point on, he always welcomed me and encouraged me in whatever I did. Recently, I switched majors because of a joy I found in Chemistry that was fostered by this amazing man. Voy a echarte de menos, Profe. Descansa en Paz.

Posted by: Tracy Gosen at May 18, 2005 06:10 PM

In my 12 years as a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Case I have come to have great respect and admiration for my fellow colleague Ignacio Ocasio (Doc Oc). I shall always remember seeing first hand his command of the Schmitt lecture hall audience not long after arriving when Doc invited me to give some guest lectures on metal ions for one of his courses. Needless to say, I had never lectured to so many students before and was a bit “apprehensive�, to say the least. Doc was encouraging to this younger lecturer and told me “it would be fun�. He was right. But I did feel like “one of his students� as he sat in the back of the room and watched. And I also appreciated (and was amazed) that the freshman were extremely well behaved and such an attentive audience. This fact impressed me greatly, considering there were perhaps 5-10 ten times as many students as I normally see in one classroom. I also later discovered Doc to be welcoming to other ways for me to participate in his class. On several occasions Dr. Simpson and I imposed on him and his class to have some talented graduate students run a “Who wants to be a ChemMillionare?� chemistry game show. Our interactions with Doc taught me a lot. And then Doc encouraged me to be a faculty lead-off runner for the Freshman Hudson Relays a couple of times. I would have never done such crazy thing on my own-I am a terrible runner. But again I had fun and loved the interactions with the students. Doc later also got me to pledge the Chemistry fraternity AXE (did I actually drive to U of M and go through initiation??). Again, this activity was extremely worthwhile and rewarding-something I might never have done without his encouragement. I later took over for while as a faculty AXE advisor to give Doc a “break�. More recently, I have found it very rewarding to be able to connect with him by having some students in common through my participation in teaching SAGES First Seminar courses. What a joy to often chance upon your students in and about Doc’s office-I could hang out and see Doc and some of my advisees at the same time. I do not know how he does it, but whenever I am talking with or thinking of Doc I smile. His enthusiasm is highly infectious. His students wanted to be with him.

Doc was not only a great teacher and mentor of students, but he had much to teach faculty as well.

Two weeks before Doc passed away, I was lucky enough to chat with him for an hour or so while he was being checked out of the hospital for his bout of vertigo, and be there to drive back to his home. One thing was very clear. Doc had his eyes set for the future and his total commitment to teaching was so strong that his upcoming planned surgery and recovery was designed and scheduled so that he would be well enough to greet the next class of entering freshman. And you know what-I am sure he will be there. I do not think anything could stop him being there, if only in spirit.

Last night and all day today I had the extraordinary opportunity to meet Doc’s family in Puerto Rico for his wake and funeral. I was overwhelmed at the warmth and love expressed for the people who traveled so far for this event-they made us family for this event. Readers of this blog will appreciate knowing that his family is finding comfort by the responses of everyone-your messages are important. After meeting Doc’s family, it is no mystery where he got his “gift�.


Let us not forget that we owe his family much for sharing him with Case, and let our thoughts be with them.

Posted by: John Protasiewicz (aka Dr. P.) at May 18, 2005 09:42 PM

Case is probably the only school in the world where its students can associate Chemistry with happy memories. I mean, think of how fortunate we were to have such a shining star usher us into this school.

I remember always looking forward to walking past his office, his chair set up perfectly in line so he could see who was passing by, and smile and say hello. He ALWAYS knew your name, and you always had to smile around him.

Doc, you will be sorely missed.

Posted by: Mike James at May 18, 2005 10:04 PM

I'd heard about the famous Doc Oc in college ranking books. I always wanted to meet him and be in his class. I sat in on one of his classes this spring as I toured the campus. He was truly inspirational.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 18, 2005 11:34 PM

I was inspired by Doc Oc as a student at Case and his abilities continue to amaze me three years after graduation. Doc Oc had an unrivaled love for both the students and the science of chemistry. He will live on in the minds of students and teachers alike every time they enter a classroom.

Posted by: Ben Sherry at May 19, 2005 12:53 AM

How could anyone engage hundreds of Chem111 students in a subject most of them have no intention pursuing beyond core requirements?

It was almost surreal, as was the fact that he put on a tv show for his students, visited dorm frequently, and was unparalleled in his involvement in student activities.

On top of all that, and in a class of hundreds, you could still go to his frequent office hours, and get help and personal attention. How could anyone possibly have the energy for all that?

His overflowing energy was drawn from two sources: an unmatched love of teaching, and an unmatched love for his students. What a terrible, terrible shame to loose him! There are many great professors, but he was the heart and soul of CWRU.

Posted by: Ben Yogman at May 19, 2005 02:29 PM

Doc was my freshman advisor back in '98 and continued to be my advisor until the day he died. After I graduated, I kept in touch and visited with Doc when I could because of his wisdom and his faith in me and my goals; no matter how unrealistic they actually are. He exceeded far beyond the role of educator and friend for thousands of his students as well with the faculty and staff. His presence and vigor during freshman orientation activities every year makes the transition to Case pleasant and inviting. He mad Case one of a kind because of that, and now incoming freshman will never know what it is like to be welcome in such a way. Doc can never be replaced. The university needs to memorialize this man in multiple ways. Scholarships need to be formed; memorial statues need to be created; buildings need to be constructed in his name. Doc deserves this and more, more, more. Like many of you, I wish I spent more time with this extraordinary man, but I will always cherish the memories I do have. I saw Doc a few weeks before his passing as he was leaving campus for the day. He asked me if I was still a dreamer. I told him no I was not, I am a persuer now. He smiled and nodded and went on his way. Whatever I achieve, I owe in part to this man. May he rest well and rest for us all, because I do not plan on resting until my goals are accomplished.

This is a quote I thought proper to remember Ignacio J. Ocasio aka Doc Oc:

Everything science has taught me - and continues to teach me - strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace. ~Wernher von Braun

Posted by: JB at May 19, 2005 04:51 PM

I have been reading the many rememberances already posted for Doc Oc. Mine are similar. I was an unremarkable student in his large lecture class, but he always called me by name. He cheered loudly as I pounded my chubby body around the quad in a hopelessly inadequate Hudson relay tryout and was sincere in his pleasure when I got to the finish line.
Nearly 14 years after I first sat in Doc's class, I was able to look from my computer on Saturday evening to the binder that contains "Packet 19 - CHEM 105". The notes that he so carefully constructed continue to be resources that I reference. Rarely does a teacher so truly love both his subject and his students.
A young man I know will begin attending CWRU in the fall. I regret that he will not be able to experience Doctor Ocasio's style and energy first hand. Fortunately, Doc has left such a profound mark on so many that I doubt that his influence will be lost for many years to come.

Posted by: Sally Pfeiffer at May 19, 2005 06:25 PM

Without Doc's encouragement, I wouldn't have gotten through Chem 105/106 and I never would have gone to medical school. He took a lot of extra time to help me with organic chemistry and even physics. He came to my house for Thanksgiving. He always remembered my birthday. We went to Browns' games. He was at my wedding. There are too many special memories to count. I am truly thankful that he was a part of my life.

Posted by: Barbara C. Lohn, MD at May 19, 2005 09:20 PM

When I first came to Case I was pretty much like everyone else. A nerdy freshman who studied a lot. My first class was Math 121 with Chris Butler, and it was pretty typical. Get syllabus, go over syllabus. It was what I expected. Then Butler said watch out for small Puerto Ricans, and I had no idea what he was talking about. Then, this small guy walked in while everyone was talking and began playing with his stuff. I didn't think it was Doc Oc because he didn't start right away. I thought it was like an assistant (I was pretty brain dead back then). Then, he starting yelling out directions and words of wisdom and I was blown away by his voice and command. There must have been 250 kids in the room and you couldn't hear anything but him. We were that focused. It was more than a class. It was like a journey. Throughout the rest of the year, Chem 111 became one of the most fun, interesting and fulfilling classes I ever took. He was that good.

I began to go to his office almost daily, like many kids, just to hang out. I had taken AP Chemistry so the material itself wasn't too terrible. I just went to hang out with him. I would watch kids come and go, many of them scared to death, or worried about something. Every single one of them left with a smile and a sense of satisfaction. Every one of them got the same Doc Oc. The only Doc Oc. The Doc Oc who handled every situation with complete ease, complete joy and complete satisfaction. I never once saw a problem he couldn't handle, Chemistry or otherwise. Every person who left his office left with an understanding that was complete and satisfactory. He was that good.

All the while why doing this his office was packed with at least 5 students at a time. Some sitting on his gorgeous leather couch. Others shooting hoops with his little basketball net. One or two were sitting next to him doing problems, practicing, with him guiding them. Never in my life have I met a man who handled every situation with complete ease, who never seemed to have a bad day (even when he lost his voice), who never lost his charm or smile, who never even forgot someone's name (which is damn impressive). He was that good.

The best memory I have of Doc Oc was one day in class. I had been up all night the night before doing something and I was dead tired in class (I forced myself to go). I somehow got through Math, then it was Chemistry. Somewhere during Chem 111 I lost consciousness. My head was grotesquely backwards so it must have been really obvious. The next thing I remember was someone nudging me. I lifted my head to see Doc Oc looking right at me from the front of the room. He smiled and said hello as only he can and then went back to the board. I felt terrible because not only did I disrespect him by falling asleep in his class, he knew me very well by that point. I went to his office later that afternoon to apologize. I expected him to be mad (I knew him, but I really didn't KNOW him, as you all know:)). Of course he wasn't. He said it's ok son, put his hand on my hand and said I remember what it was like. Then smiled. It was amazing. How many other professors would do that. Remember what it was like. Amazing.

One other incredible memory I have is Thanksgiving my freshman year. I was in his office and we had mentioned that he would be by himself for Thanksgiving. I think this started while talking about football and thanksgiving football. Jokingly, I said i would be by myself too, in the dorm. I didn't have the money to fly home and I didn't know someone close enough to me in Cleveland I could spend the holiday with. It wasn't a big deal. I've spent holidays by myself before, but Doc would have none of it. He asked if I would like to go to a Thanksgiving lunch early dinner. I said yes. He picked me up that day in his car, drove to the buffet and we had thanksgiving dinner. There were two other students with us in the same predicament as me. It was one of the best thanksgivings I had ever had.

Doc Oc was one of a kind to me. When I grow up and go forward with my life, I'll of course owe much of my success to my parents to my parents. But Doc Oc will have a special place in my heart. He taught me so much, inside and outside the classroom. I became a better person because of him. I wish there were a thousand doc ocs. A million. I wouldn't mind it if every person was like him. He was perfect in every way I can think of. I will miss him dearly, but I'll never forget him.

Posted by: Raymond Gallagher at May 19, 2005 10:18 PM

Family, Friends, Students, and Colleagues;


We are fortunate enough to be able to be with Doc Oc and his family in Puerto Rico during this tragic time. We would like to share the experience with those who could not be present.


On Tuesday May 17th, 2005 Doc’s wake was attended by his entire family including his mother, sister, nieces, and nephew who were his closest and most beloved kin. Also there to offer condolences and support were numerous friends, students, colleagues, and others he has touched throughout his life. In Puerto Rican tradition, people attended from eight o’clock in the morning to midnight.


Doc was surrounded by flowers sent from all over the world from people who had the privilege to know and love him. The family was impressed by the representation from Puerto Rico and “The States�, and was greatly appreciative and comforted by the support and thoughtfulness. Doc was presented in a handsome suit with the same gold crucifix around his neck that was so familiarly seen when he wore his signature button-down shirts. Doc looked as we all remember him, and he looked as if he were sleeping.


One the most touching moments was when Doc’s best friend and long time colleague, Chris Butler, arrived. He brought with him a box of photographs of Doc over the years and more recent photographs of the powerful and heartfelt messages left for Doc by his students outside of the North Side Residential Village and Strosacker Auditorium. Also, a letter transcribed into Spanish by President Hundert was personally presented to Doc’s mother. The sincerity and power of these gestures quickly put into context just how influential their “Nachito� was, and the incredible number of people he affected. The family was overwhelmed at the idea that he was going to be missed not only in Puerto Rico, but a world away in Cleveland and countless other places in the world. There was a tremendous show of emotion by all who were there.


On Wednesday, Doc was joined by an even greater number of family and friends, and his life was celebrated with a beautiful memorial mass in an intimate chapel. The service concluded with a ritual conducted by three friends representing his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, (Davorin Skender, Lou Wagner, and Adam Cash) in which he was an active member and advisor for much of his life.


Doc Oc was laid to rest beside his father at Cemetario Porta Coeli in Bayamon, Puerto Rico after the burial rights were delivered and Doc was commemorated by his brother-in law Enrique and fraternity brother, Davorin. Once again, family and friends were taken with emotion over the display of affection, admiration, and love for their lost Ignacio. Over the course of there few days, Doc’s family came to comprehend his influence on the world. Today, they can fully realize how much he meant to so many. His absence will leave a tremendous hole in the heart of his family and in the heart of his family at Case, and only memories can soften and sometimes brighten our sad time.


His family shared with us that they find so much comfort in the appreciation of his life by others. They encourage all who knew him to continue to give him life by talking about him, sharing photographs with each other, and telling the special stories that have him still so vivid in our memories.


The family would like a personal collection of as many photographs, stories, videos of his life away from home that are attainable. I will be serving as a liaison to Doc Oc’s family for this and many other purposes. Please email me if there is something you would like to share with them personally (adam.cash@case.edu).


Also, there will be a memorial service at Hovorka Atrium in the Pytte Science Center at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, and another in the Fall of 2005. In addition, many are discussing commemorating Doc Oc’s life in more concrete ways. Please continue to collect your ideas and submit them to the weblog.


The family of Ignacio Jose Ocasio Lomba; “Nachito�; Doc Oc would like to send their sincerest thanks to all of those who offer their love and support. Further, we would like to thank you all for the incredible display of genuine respect, affection, and unending admiration for Doc Oc so we could share and embody the emotions of our University intimately during this time when Doc’s family needs it the most.


Adam D. Cash, Louis J. Wagner, Davorin “Cro� Skender

Posted by: Anonymous at May 20, 2005 03:23 AM

Family, Friends, Students, and Colleagues;


We are fortunate enough to be able to be with Doc Oc and his family in Puerto Rico during this tragic time. We would like to share the experience with those who could not be present.


On Tuesday May 17th, 2005 Doc’s wake was attended by his entire family including his mother, sister, nieces, and nephew who were his closest and most beloved kin. Also there to offer condolences and support were numerous friends, students, colleagues, and others he has touched throughout his life. In Puerto Rican tradition, people attended from eight o’clock in the morning to midnight.


Doc was surrounded by flowers sent from all over the world from people who had the privilege to know and love him. The family was impressed by the representation from Puerto Rico and “The States�, and was greatly appreciative and comforted by the support and thoughtfulness. Doc was presented in a handsome suit with the same gold crucifix around his neck that was so familiarly seen when he wore his signature button-down shirts. Doc looked as we all remember him, and many remark were made that he looked as if he were sleeping.


One the most touching moments was when Doc’s best friend and long time colleague, Chris Butler, arrived. He brought with him a box of photographs of Doc over the years and more recent photographs of the powerful and heartfelt messages left for Doc by his students outside of the North Side Residential Village and Strosacker Auditorium. Also, a letter transcribed into Spanish by President Hundert was personally presented to Doc’s mother. The sincerity and power of these gestures quickly put into context just how influential their “Nachito� was, and the incredible number of people he affected. The family was overwhelmed at the idea that he was going to be missed not only in Puerto Rico, but a world away in Cleveland and countless other places in the world. There was a tremendous show of emotion by all who were there.


On Wednesday, Doc was joined by an even greater number of family and friends, and his life was celebrated with a beautiful memorial mass in an intimate chapel. The service concluded with a ritual conducted by three representatives of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, (Davorin Skender, Lou Wagner, and Adam Cash) in which he was an active member and advisor for much of his life.


Doc Oc was laid to rest beside his father at Cemetario Porta Coeli in Bayamon, Puerto Rico after the burial rights were delivered and Doc was commemorated by his brother-in law Enrique and fraternity brother, Davorin. Once again, family and friends were taken with emotion over the display of affection, admiration, and love for their lost Ignacio. Over the course of there few days, Doc’s family came to comprehend his influence on the world. Today, they can fully realize how much he meant to so many. His absence will leave a tremendous hole in the heart of his family and in the heart of his family at Case, and only memories can soften and sometimes brighten our sad time.


His family shared with us that they find so much comfort in the appreciation of his life by others. They encourage all who knew him to continue to give him life by talking about him, sharing photographs with each other, and telling the special stories that have him still so vivid in our memories.


The family would like a personal collection of as many photographs, stories, videos of his life away from home that are attainable. I will be serving as a liaison to Doc Oc’s family for this and many other purposes. Please email me if there is something you would like to share with them personally (adam.cash@case.edu).


Also, there will be a memorial service at Hovorka Atrium in the Pytte Science Center at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, and another in the Fall of 2005. In addition, many are discussing commemorating Doc Oc’s life in more concrete ways. Please continue to collect your ideas and submit them to the weblog.


The family of Ignacio Jose Ocasio Lomba; “Nachito�; Doc Oc would like to send their sincerest thanks to all of those who offer their love and support. Further, we would like to thank you all for the incredible display of genuine respect, affection, and unending admiration for Doc Oc so we could share and embody the emotions of our University intimately during this time when Doc’s family needs it the most.


Adam D. Cash, Louis J. Wagner, Davorin “Cro� Skender

Posted by: Adam D. Cash at May 20, 2005 03:27 AM

I never took 105/106 with Doc, but that doesn't mean I didn't know him. The summer after my freshman year, I took organic chemistry. I was struggling with my homework in the atrium when, over my shoulder, Doc called me by name and suggested a way to draw the mechanism for the reaction. Every day after that, I would go to Doc's office and he would help me with my homework. He would never accept anything in exchange for his assistance, save the occasional can of Diet Coke.

That summer, we had organic chemistry tests every Friday. Every Thursday night for that entire summer Doc devoted hours to helping us learn organic. He didn't have to help us, it wasn't his class, technically we weren't even his students anymore, but every Thursday night when we got out of lab, Doc would be there waiting for us, ready to help us understand chemistry.

Doc, your absence leaves a void that can never be filled. Rest in Peace and know that you will always be loved and sorely missed.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 20, 2005 08:30 AM

I never saw the face of Doc Oc utnil I visited this webpage, and yet in my three years of teaching at Case, I feel I got to know him. That is because students in my classes are ALWAYS talking about what Doc Oc has been doing. He was a tremendous influence on the lives of many of our students, that much is clear. My prayers go out to those who knew him and loved him.

Posted by: Paul Zachlin at May 20, 2005 09:25 AM

He was a great person and a great teacher. He was an asset for undergraduate recruitment of chemistry students. It is dificult passing by his closed office door, that normally was packed full of students.

Posted by: Michael Zagorski at May 20, 2005 12:25 PM

I feel weird in my heart --- there is a void --- I hope Doc that I can be half as grateful and a third as helpful as you were to absolute strangers --- you will live beyond the sands of time --- atleast in my book you will my friend --- adios senor!

Posted by: Saurabh Shukla at May 20, 2005 02:38 PM

Dr. Oc's office was always packed with students, candies, life and at times, music. I'll sure miss all of these and the most of all, Doc's smile and his voice.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 20, 2005 09:12 PM

I was a member of Doc's first CHEM 111 class - the one with 30 or so students. I can still hear him say one day - "you guys are the pioneers, or ginuea pigs, whatever you like, for the rest of the engineers around here for quite a long time." Whether it was learning basic organic chem (I hated O-chem), or playing into one particular student's stunts, Doc made my freshmen year so much fun.


After I graduated, I tried to make it a point to visit Doc every year at the end of May - just remind him that I couldn't be where I am now without his expertise.


Doc, I'll miss the May visit this year, but I'll never forget you.

Posted by: Sue Schreiner at May 22, 2005 11:17 AM

I think Doc Oc was the first person I knew here. I'd sent him an email in the summer before my freshman year to ask a question about when to take chem 113. It was simply luck that I picked Doc. I later changed my mind, and I remember going in to register once I got here. Doc Oc had to ok it as the department representative. I didn't even know who he was, but before I even introduced myself, he was asking why I'd changed my mind.


Doc offered to see if he could be assigned my freshman advisor, but since I was a prospective biology major at the time the biology department wouldn't agree. Not too soon after, I changed my mind about disliking chemistry - I'm a biochemistry major now. In the end, he made his usual offer - be sure to come by and say hello, let him know if there was anything he could do. I never really took him up on it, but would still stop by his office once in a while to say hello or ask a question. Now I wish I had known him better, instead of going by knowing he’d somehow be able to help me.


Many times if was Doc who would calm me down before a particularly bad test - always giving a blessing, and sometimes his characteristic "Oh, God!" Like so many others, I was proud of my doc-given name - Teresita.


It seems hard to imagine how things will change without Doc Oc. Stories about Doc Oc aren't hard to think of, and I think everyone has their fair share! He’ll be missed – but quite certainly never forgotten!

Posted by: Teresa at May 22, 2005 08:06 PM

Dr. Ocasio was one of the funniest, gentle and kindest men I have had the pleasure to meet. He was not only a teacher, but a friend who cherished the lives of his students. I remember one night during fall break, a few of us had nowhere to go while our classmates all went home or on vacation. He came on his own time to hold a chemistry review for us and then took us all out to dinner at the pizza restaurant in Little Italy. I will always remember his laughter and humor.

Posted by: Ayan Sanyal at May 22, 2005 08:52 PM

I am sitting here alternately laughing and crying over the heartfelt as well as funny anecdotes that have been posted. I have realized that this is the very best of ways to remember Doc Oc. To share memories of him with the people who remember him as well as those people who will never know him. So here is my contribution to remembering this great man:

I went to Doc Oc's office to ask about an exam question one day. I was scared because, while I had passed by Doc's office many times and heard his voice laughing, shouting, or explaining something, I had never once went in and talked to him. On this particular day I caught him right before he left for a meeting. He put down the stuff he was carrying out the door and let me ask my question. I did so nerviously and then because I knew he had to go and I was nervous, I stopped asking my questions and started towards the door. I got out into the hallway and the next thing I new Doc was beside me walking down the hallway with me. He took my hand in both of his (probably to stop me from walking away again, but it also got my attention) and I don't remember what he said in reference to my question about the exam or otherwise, but I do remember that after our meeting I felt better. He had an innate ability to make people feel comfortable around him. He was always personable and friendly and when you were around him you knew that he really cared about you.

Posted by: Kristen at May 23, 2005 01:38 AM

I am deeply saddened by the loss of my talented compatriot, Dr. Ocasio. Ignacio and I shared a love of teaching and a love of music, and I know our community has lost a great beacon of inspiration and excellence. Our best tribute to him will be the continuation of our work with the same passion and dedication he practiced on a daily basis.

Posted by: Gerardo Teissonnière at May 23, 2005 10:27 AM

At most universities, teaching freshman chemistry ranks right around the bottom rung for professors. Little do they know this is the building block for many other courses and career paths. I was glad and honored to have this man as a teacher of freshman chemistry and lab in 1995 (has it really been that long?). Always there to answer questions (even from the pre-meds who constantly were around him to make sure their GPA didn't slip...), he had the patience of a saint.

Fall semester of my freshman year I was going through some family troubles at home and titrations were really getting me down. I just couldn't do the technique right and was rapidly falling behind. This professor opened up the lab one day and worked with me to get the process down and we did it several times over. Without him, I would have been sunk. Little did he know how much that meant to me at the time.

Being one of the many students who lived in the Cleveland area, I stopped by after Spring finals to see my posted grade. He was out there posting them at the same time I was there. Of course, he knew me and looked for my grade, shook my hand and said, "You got the highest grade on the exam". We talked about Organic Chemistry and my concerns for next year, he said "Forget about it, you will be fine". Of course, he was right.

So here is to Doc Oc, a man who spent way more time with his student than anyone else at Case. This message does not do the man justice, but I hope this will be read by other professors at Case to see what a true "legacy" is and how they can make a difference in their students' lives.
God bless Dr. Ocasio.

Posted by: Stephen Novak at May 23, 2005 11:24 AM

I was a student of his at Ohio University in 1979-1980. It is impossible to overstate the profound effect Ignacio had on my life. I entered college as an unremarkable underachiever. He took me under his wing and transformed me.

My life is a testament to his brilliance. When I entered college I had the dubious record of having less then a 2.00 grade point average and not a single A in any course. With his help I understood my abilities better; I understood how to master a subject; I understood how to focus, how to "love" what I am doing; I understood how to bring out the best in myself. Years later my success was great enough that I received an NSF Fellowship to pursue a PhD at the University of Delaware. There is no doubt that my life would be something entirely different and far less rewarding without his presence.

It is indeed a most sorrowful feeling to consider a world without him.

Posted by: Phil Hall at May 23, 2005 11:44 AM

As I am sitting here reading all of these postings about Doc Oc, I can't help but get tears in my eyes. Everybody has such warm feelings and wonderful memories to share about one of the most incredibly beautiful people to have lived on this Earth.

Like so many students, I only had Doc for one semester in Chem 111, now 5 years past, but I still remember those days like they were yesterday. I will never forget "Whoosh!" "Erf!" and "All of the oxygen molecules in the room are not going to go to one corner of the room and laugh while you all suffocate!" He was so unique and enthusiastic, it was impossible not to love him immediately.

Doc was truly a role model for everybody, and it saddens me deeply to think that, in a world where sincerely good people are so hard to find, there will now be one less. I feel blessed to have been touched by his presence as were countless others throughout his lifetime, and I grieve most for those who will never have the privilege of meeting him and having their lives influenced by him.

To his family and closest friends, I cannot express a deep enough sorrow for your loss, but I am sure you know that he would want you to find joy in remembering the life that he was able to live and to take comfort in the fact that there are so many of us here who loved him.

Doc, the world will miss you! May your soul rest in peace for all eternity. Thanks to your kindness and generosity, your spirit will live on in the souls of each and every student whose path you have crossed. I know you will always be in mine.

Posted by: Kelly Haley at May 23, 2005 05:02 PM

I just found out about Doc Oc's death yesterday, and I was utterly shocked and saddened. It has been over 6 years since I took freshman chemistry, but I can still remember that class like it was yesterday. He was one of the best professors I have ever had, and I am sorry for the future Case classes who will not have the fortune of learning from him. I remember in class that he would sometimes say that we didn't know why a particular scientific phenomenon occurred, but "when you die you ask God." Well, I suppose that Doc Oc has all the answers now!

I am so blessed to have had Doc Oc as a professor.

Posted by: Kelley Pozza-Adams at May 23, 2005 07:40 PM

Doc was one of my first friends when I got to CWRU in August 2000 as a new graduate student. I got to work with him second semester, and became one of the many who stopped by his office to chat, hang out, or sometimes nap on his couch. Doc was never too busy for anyone; his door was always open and even if he was in the middle of something, he would stop and chat for a moment. He knew everyone's name, too, which says a lot for the man: he took the time with people. I'm going to miss you, Doc. You're one of the greats; I'm grateful to have known you, and will never forget you. Adios, mi amigo.

Posted by: Jim Laird at May 23, 2005 11:37 PM

Doc Oc's teaching methods embraced me in a way I will never forget. I believe he allowed me to understand chemistry in a way I never thought possible. I remember one lesson in particular a few years ago. He was talking about the probability that an electron has of being in a specific orbital. He used the analogy that all the oxygen molecules could all go to the corner of the room just like the electron could go way out of its orbital, but it won't, but it could. Just one of the many great lessons he taught.
A couple of years after that class when he showed up at denison, I heard him play the piano. He was amazing!
He has touched my life and I was looking forward to taking his chem lab this summer. I will miss you soooooo much..... Words cannot explain how you have touched my life.

Posted by: Mary Rafferty at May 24, 2005 09:57 AM

Doc Oc's teaching methods embraced me in a way I will never forget. I believe he allowed me to understand chemistry in a way I never thought possible. I remember one lesson in particular a few years ago. He was talking about the probability that an electron has of being in a specific orbital. He used the analogy that all the oxygen molecules could all go to the corner of the room just like the electron could go way out of its orbital, but it won't, but it could. Just one of the many great lessons he taught.
A couple of years after that class when he showed up at denison, I heard him play the piano. He was amazing!
He has touched my life and I was looking forward to taking his chem lab this summer. I will miss you soooooo much..... Words cannot explain how you have touched my life. He is the only teacher who could make chem lab bearable.

Posted by: Mary Rafferty at May 24, 2005 09:59 AM

Hi. My name is Veronica. I’m “Doc Oc’s� niece from Puerto Rico. On behalf of my whole family, I would like to thank all of you for the love that you’ve showed for my uncle.


Tio Nacho (as I used to call him) was a great man. He was an inspiration to our whole family and he transmitted his energy and happiness to everyone who met him. He was a wonderful son who would do anything to make his mother happy and he was also a wonderful brother. He cared about my brothers and me, his nephews, as the sons he never had.


I had a special bond with him. He was someone I looked up to and whom I always wanted to be like. My bachelor degree was in biology. During my first two years, when I took chemistry and organic chemistry, he was my teacher abroad. I called him every day and consulted him every doubt I had. He explained to me step by step, on the phone or through the internet, no matter how long it took me to understand. He made chemistry easier for me and I learned lots of things because of him. There was one summer, while he was in PR, that he helped me study for pre-calculus. I remember him using the same funny phrases that I’ve heard he used in his classes at Case, such as “whoosh� and “plug-chug-done�. He was one of a kind and I truly admired him.


One of our plans for the future was for me to continue graduate studies in Cleveland. That way, I would be near him and we would take care of each other. I tried when I graduated from college but I was not admitted at the time and we had to reschedule it for a few more years. I never thought I would receive such terrible news a few years later.


I will miss him forever. He was the kind of man that makes a difference in the world. If there were more people in the world like him, definitely it would be a better place. He definitely touched my life the same way he touched yours. He showed me that family always come first and that I have to love them and cherish them as they are the ones who will always be there for me. He also showed me to work hard to reach my goals, to believe in myself, to respect myself and the people around me, to have faith, and to always remember that when one door closes another one will open.


Our lives will never be the same. Something that comforts us is that we have realized that we were not the only ones that he touched. We have learned about the people who loved him and that will miss him and remember him.


Thank you all for being there for my family during these difficult times. We will all try to go Cleveland during the fall and wish to meet as many of you as possible in order to share our memories of him together. Tio Nacho’s life was all about his family, his students and his friends. To share our memories together will somehow be like sharing them with him.


Thank you,


Veronica Martin Ocasio

Posted by: Veronica Martin Ocasio at May 24, 2005 02:44 PM

Hi,

My name is Veronica. I’m “Doc Oc’s� niece from Puerto Rico. On behalf of my whole family, I would like to thank all of you for the love that you’ve showed for my uncle.

Tio Nacho (as I used to call him) was a great man. He was an inspiration to our whole family and he transmitted his energy and happiness to everyone who met him. He was a wonderful son who would do anything to make his mother happy and he was also a wonderful brother. He cared about my brothers and me, his nephews, as the sons he never had.

I had a special bond with him. He was someone I looked up to and whom I always wanted to be like. My bachelor degree was in biology. During my first two years, when I took chemistry and organic chemistry, he was my teacher abroad. I called him every day and consulted him every doubt I had. He explained to me step by step, on the phone or through the internet, no matter how long it took me to understand. He made chemistry easier for me and I learned lots of things because of him. There was one summer, while he was in PR, that he helped me study for pre-calculus. I remember him using the same funny phrases that I’ve heard he used in his classes at Case, such as “whoosh� and “plug-chug-done�. He was one of a kind and I truly admired him.

One of our plans for the future was for me to continue graduate studies in Cleveland. That way, I would be near him and we would take care of each other. I tried when I graduated from college but I was not admitted at the time and we had to reschedule it for a few more years. I never thought I would receive such terrible news a few years later.

I will miss him forever. He was the kind of man that makes a difference in the world. If there were more people in the world like him, definitely it would be a better place. He definitely touched my life the same way he touched yours. He showed me that family always come first and that I have to love them and cherish them as they are the ones who will always be there for me. He also showed me to work hard to reach my goals, to believe in myself, to respect myself and the people around me, to have faith, and to always remember that when one door closes another one will open.

Our lives will never be the same. Something that comforts us is that we have realized that we were not the only ones that he touched. We have learned about the people who loved him and that will miss him and remember him.

Thank you all for being there for my family during these difficult times. We will all try to go Cleveland during the fall and wish to meet as many of you as possible in order to share our memories of him together. Tio Nacho’s life was all about his family, his students and his friends. To share our memories together will somehow be like sharing them with him.

Thanks for everything,

Veronica Martin Ocasio

Posted by: Veronica Martin Ocasio at May 24, 2005 02:58 PM

Doc you will be remembered forever-Anonymus

Posted by: Anonymous at May 24, 2005 04:32 PM

Doc You will be remembered forever

Posted by: Mahesha at May 24, 2005 04:34 PM

Prayer From Doc Oc's Funeral Service Appearing On His Prayer Card and Reading From the Cemetary By His Cousin Rosarito


A tear evaporates. A flower on my tombstone wilts, but a prayer for my soul is gathered by God.


Do not cry, my beloved. I am united with God and I wait for you in heaven. I die, but my love does not die. I will love you in heaven as I have loved you on earth. To those of you who have loved me, I ask that you pray for me. This is the greatest proof of love


Cemetario Porta Coeli- May 18, 2005


Ignacio J. Ocasio Lomba


Ignacio, for those who love you, it is not easy to accept that you have left.
We will miss your love, your enthusiasm, your spark.

Your professional life filled you with happiness, and we shared your successes with pride.

You were always an exemplary son and grandson, brother and uncle.

The love you gave will help us overcome your absence.

Aunt Sarito cries but knows that you now play the piano with the celestial choirs.

Your friends and colleagues will remember you with love because you were always a friend to your friends.

And finally, the land where you were born extends its arms to welcome your remains.

Rest in peace, dear Ignacio, we will always miss you


Tu Prima, Rosarito

Posted by: Adam D. Cash at May 25, 2005 07:54 PM

Doc Oc was a wonderful professor. Doc Oc went to all possible measures to help his students. He was a remarkable professor, who tired very hard to reach out to his students. He would try almost anything to help a student and to see that the student left with a smile. His office always filled with students, quite an enjoyable sight it was. He was a great person, and he will surely be missed.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 31, 2005 07:41 PM

It was quite a shock to learn of Doc Oc's passing. He was such a vibrant and enthusiastic individual. I hope his soul rests in peace.

Posted by: Anonymous at June 2, 2005 12:33 PM

Doc was, without question, the BEST professor I have every had. Throughout 2 undergraduate degrees and 2 masters degrees, I have not encounter a professor as caring and dedicated. His love of students and teaching was truly amazing.

I had Doc for Chem 105/106/113 and Organic Chem study sessions in 1997 and 1998. I can still remember it like it was yesterday...it was the day after my fall semester Chem final, Doc and I both had a flight to Miami the next day. I was going to Aruba with my family, he was going to Puerto Rico. The plane was not full and we ended up sitting next to each other. Weeks earlier, Doc told me how terrified he was to fly. He told me the story of being on a plane that was hit by lightening and lost power. While sitting on the plane, he kept saying how nervous he was, so I just kept telling him that it would be fine..."the weather is nice today". As we were taking off, he gripped my hand so tightly for about 5 minutes that I thought it would fall off! I didn't say a word, as I think it comforted him. Once he relaxed, he turned to me, smiled, and said, "I'm so glad to have a friend on the plane!"

After we were in the air, he showed me pictures of his family and told me all about Puerto Rico. Sitting next to Doc, the 2 1/2 hour flight felt like minutes!

I'll also never forget going into Doc's office before EVERY exam. I'd say, "Wish me luck!" and he'd say a little "prayer" in Latin and make the sign of the cross. I always ended up doing well!

I am so fortunate to have had Doc as a professor and friend. Doc will be missed by so many. I wish that there were more individuals like him!


Posted by: Michelle Montpetite at June 3, 2005 09:24 AM

I was shocked to learn of Doc Oc's passing. While it has been 10 years since I was in his class, I will always remember how he made chemistry fun and exciting. I meet Doc Oc during a summer program before my freshman year and he already knew my name. Although I had AP Chem in high school, Doc Oc made learning chemistry an experience. He was able to help you learn in a way that you could understand the material, not just memorize it.

My favorite memory of Doc Oc is from my freshman chemistry class. He was notorious for calling people by name when they fell asleep in class. That booming voice would reverberate off the walls of Schmitt. Of course one day I was the one who fell asleep. Instead calling my name, he walked up the aisle and placed his hand on my shoulder, then proceeded back down. The whole time continuing his lecture. This was just enough to wake me up. After class I went to apologize and thank him. He simply smiled and said don’t let it happen again.

He will be greatly missed. I feel sorry for the future classes that they will not have the 'Doc Oc' experience.

Posted by: Stephanie at June 6, 2005 10:19 AM

What an incalculable loss this is to the University and to those who'll never know him.

I've read all the words written so far in the blog and understand viscerally their sentiments. Not only was he the most gifted teacher of chemistry (or any subject for that matter) I've ever had, he taught me about seeking virtuosity in all areas of life, in my work, my dreams, and most of all, in the relationships of those closest to me.

I was a student of his at Ohio University in 1979-1980, and I am one of his success stories who will forever laud his memory and try to live up to his energy and love...

Our meeting, over 25 years ago, remains a vivid memory. I walked from my typically vacant and seemingly anonymous back row seat, down the palatial steps of one of Morton Hall's rotund lecture halls and turned in my final exam. He greeted me by name. It was a shock. It hadn't yet been his practice to memorize all the students’ names, but he'd somehow known mine. I had incrementally improved my exam scores all term, from 70 to 80 to 98% and was hoping for a good result on the final and in the class. I told him I was leaving town that day and wondered, with the considerable naiveté of a first term freshman, if he'd have my grade by 3pm. He said "Yes." Another shock.

So I visited his office in Clippinger Hall and found that he'd given me an A. It's hard to describe how this felt. After finishing 480th out of a class of nearly 1000 in high school, never having received an A grade in anything (except P.E.), I had just confirmed an A. My father is a retired professor of the Medical School. My mother's family was similarly steeped in academia. Academics is the foundation and the architecture of my family and to suddenly make a chump out of my guidance counselor who said "I should work with my hands" and to bring home academic success, this was one of the most profound moments in my life. His teaching worked, even with the boy who dwelt in the shadows...


In our meeting at Clippinger, he encouraged me to continue in Chemistry. I told him I'd decided to be an English major. However, during the winter break, I changed my mind and returned for the second term of freshman chemistry. This term is when we became very close. In most respects he was the same at Ohio University as at CWRU, giving his time freely and with incomparable devotion to his students. Help sessions, open office, regular parties at the house he lived in, which was nestled in the most beautiful pine forested hilltop on the outskirts of Athens.

Among my treasured memories is when he taught me to play the melody of one of my favorite Chopin piano concertos on his acoustic guitar. In return I introduced him to some music that I thought he'd like, such as Billy Joel, Barbara Streisand, John Denver, and Cat Stevens. The winter and spring terms at Ohio University were, for me, a time of discovery and laughter and success like I'd never known, and nearly all these memories are intimately tied with his presence.


Clearly (I can hear him saying that word) one of the most important things he taught me was how to study and prepare myself for class. This included how to identify what needs focus, how to get the information needed, and how to know when I should be confident that I am ready. But outside the classroom he also taught me, not by his words, but by his actions, which showed how to hold a certain kind of respect and acceptance of people.


These teachings were something quite new to me. I matured, learned, achieved, and began to live life in a very different way. One measure of this success is that I was eventually awarded an NSF fellowship to study for a PhD in computer science.

I can hear myself speaking like him in his animated and lilting voice, about this indescribable quality of his to so profoundly influence the lives of those around him, "call it X..."

My last two terms at Ohio U. were extremely successful, with nearly perfect grades in all my courses. During the final term of my freshman year at OU I decided to transfer to CWRU, which, incidentally, did not even answer my initial application when I was in high school. I told "Iggy" as we sometimes called him (Doc Oc is entirely a CWRU invention) that I was transferring. For both of us it was a sad parting, but I wanted to parlay my success to a higher level.

Then, during that summer break, I had a conversation with him in which he told me he had taken a job at CWRU...

How fortunate for 25 years of freshman chem. students at Case...

And to you, Ignacio, I sincerely wish I could have said goodbye, but I know what you are thinking, and, yes, I will always try to do my best...

Phil

Posted by: Phil Hall at June 8, 2005 11:37 AM

Hello to all you other lucky people who had Doc in your life. I was one of the "nontraditionals" who were taking loads of pre-med requirements, trying to qualify for med school. Hundreds of brilliant young students surrounded me and my bent arrow colleagues. I felt terrified about even passing the coursework and we knew we had to get A's. When Doc identified us in his 105 class and asked our names, he made us feel as special as the other younger students. When we expressed mind-numbing terror at keeping up with the impressive minds of the young engineers, and science-gifted around us, he said in his usual manner, leaning into 4 inches from your face with arms spread and eyebrows raised toward the ceiling, "What, are you kidding me????" An he nudged us into one of his many lunchtime tutoring sessions. When asked how much we owed him for tutoring, again, with measurable disbelief, "WHAAAAT? Are you kidding me?"
Many of our group dropped out between '92 - '95, but a couple of us got in to Case: Lynn, Jean, Alan,Annie and me. We know none of us would have made it without the enthusiastic support of Doc. He took pride in all his students as you have all testified to.
I visited Doc at least once a year,every yr after I graduated the SOM in "99,
since I only live 5 min from campus. When I saw him in 2004, he wanted to know everything about my new medical practice. I lavished gratitude on him once again for being the rock that I built my knowledge base on at Case. I finally admitted to him that I wasn't sure during all those years that I was going to make it but that his confidence in me (and others) always kept me going. Right before that last visit we both just turned 52 and were still complimenting each other, "Hey not so bad for a couple more years packed in." He admitted the medications his docs had him taking and that he still got short of breath the days he walked home "up the (Ambleside) hill." He had promised to join me workng out, but cancelled every scheduled workout, even tho it was right around the corner from his apt. , because he'd promised a student
to help study,or something like that. I never saw him again. I was planning my visit the day I got the news. The bad news.
You're all right. We are lucky to have known him. Do you think he knew what an influence he was? What a legend he will be for decades to come?
I believe every one of us learned more that math
from Doc. He taught us how to approach and solve all kinds of problems, chemical equations and others.Life's lessons were always integrated into
the experience. During non-airconditioned packed classes, we rememberred how to treat one another with respect and good nature, no matter how stressed or anxious we were.
In his memory, we will all be the best that he knew we could be. He was like our brother, our
uncle, and in some cases, like a Father. Today is Father's Day and I feel like we have all been one of his many foster children over the years.
Overall he was truly our FRIEND. I hope he always knew,and his spirit knows,that he was one in a million.
With unending admiration and gratitude,
Gaylee McCracken, M.D.

Posted by: Gaylee McCracken, M.D. at June 19, 2005 08:42 AM

Some friends and fellow students back in 89-90 talked about taking a tape recorder to Doc's classes and creating the "Doc Oc Rock" with his lecture sound effects. I wonder if they ever did.

Doc, Case is a lesser place without you.

-Elizabeth Knight
BS chemistry, 1993

Posted by: Elizabeth Knight at June 29, 2005 10:16 PM

Doc Oc,

What more can be said than the heart felt messages that have posted before me. Doc was a tremendous person and a powerful educator, who transcended the gap of science and entertainment. Doc could make an English major love Chemistry. He could make a TA love their teaching assignments and most of all, he could bring absolute sunshine to any cloudy day!

Doc, I loved every minute that I was privledged to spend with you. The multiple TA assignments, the numerous nights spent grading CHEM exams in his office eating pizza that Doc of course purchased for all. The Halloween party's at his condo, the gatherings around the piano to belt out any Billy Joel song. The weekly football, basketball, and tournament pools that Lou Martino seemed to always win. And of course the many many hours spent in his office just "chewing the fat," talking chemistry, or just joking around.

Doc you made my 4+ years at Case a memorable time, and I will always remember you and Dr. Ritchey as the best human beings that I have ever met in my years in chemsitry.

Love, Humility, and Science are the message you taught and the message that you delivered. For that, I thank you!

I will always remember you Doc, and I will always love you!

Posted by: Wayne R. Likavec, Ph.D. at June 30, 2005 08:40 PM

I was in Doc's freshman chemistry class that spanned over 2 semesters. It was an incredible experience. I never before thought that learning could be so fun. He had an amazing energy and imparted inspiration to all of his students to achieve more. He truly was a tremendous educator and believed strongly in student advocacy. He was the one professor during my time at CWRU that I grew fondest for and rememeber the best.
Doc Oc, all of your students have flourished immensely because of your teachings and your guidance. Thank you for the opportunity to have known you as a professor and a friend. Your inspiration helped me achieve what I am today. You will forever be sorely missed!

Posted by: Ronak Desai at July 1, 2005 06:32 PM

Doc Oc was simply the best teacher, the best mentor, the best of men

He will be dearly missed

Posted by: Anne Kenned at July 14, 2005 07:47 PM

I was a freshman at Case in '84 and of course had Doc Oc for Freshman Chemistry, as did my roommate Tom. In the spring of '85 Tom was in a pretty bad car accident and had his spleen removed. He was out for about a month or so. When Tom came back, he was of course behind in everything. Doc Oc came to our dorm room on weekends to tutor Tom and get him caught up in Chemistry.

It was the type of thing that would never be seen outside of our room and there were no points for tenure to be made, but Doc Oc came over as soon as Tom was back.

Doc Oc had 600+ students in freshman that year and he knew every one of them. Even in my supersenior year he remembered me. Case was very lucky to have him. So was I.

Dean

Posted by: Dean Kennedy at July 14, 2005 07:51 PM

I was a freshman at Case in '84 and of course had Doc Oc for Freshman Chemistry, as did my roommate Tom. In the spring of '85 Tom was in a pretty bad car accident and had his spleen removed. He was out for about a month or so. When Tom came back, he was of course behind in everything. Doc Oc came to our dorm room on weekends to tutor Tom and get him caught up in Chemistry.

It was the type of thing that would never be seen outside of our room and there were no points for tenure to be made, but Doc Oc came over as soon as Tom was back.

Doc Oc had 600+ students in freshman that year and he knew every one of them. Even in my supersenior year he remembered me. Case was very lucky to have him. So was I.

Dean

Posted by: Dean Kennedy at July 15, 2005 12:27 PM

I was a freshman at Case in '84 and of course had Doc Oc for Freshman Chemistry, as did my roommate Tom. In the spring of '85 Tom was in a pretty bad car accident and had his spleen removed. He was out for about a month or so. When Tom came back, he was of course behind in everything. Doc Oc came to our dorm room on weekends to tutor Tom and get him caught up in Chemistry.

It was the type of thing that would never be seen outside of our room and there were no points for tenure to be made, but Doc Oc came over as soon as Tom was back.

Doc Oc had 600+ students in freshman that year and he knew every one of them. Even in my supersenior year he remembered me. Case was very lucky to have him. So was I.

Dean

Posted by: Dean Kennedy at July 15, 2005 08:08 PM

I'm entering my senior year in high school, and am in the process of deciding which schools to apply. As I was browsing the Case Western website, since it is one of the schools I am really intrested in, I happened to stumbled on Dr. Ignacio Ocasio's "In Memory of" page. Out of curiosity I wanted to see it. I ended up reading most of the written memories, and I was moved at how many students Dr. Ocasio touched in a positive manner. After reading Dr. Ocasio's memory page I realized that Case Western was the school for me. I hope that some day I will be able to attend Case Western. I also realized that I am so sorry that I will not have the chance to be part of Dr. Ocasio's legacy. I would like to extend to Case Western, to his students, and to his friends my deepest sympathy. He seemed to have been a really trully good guy.

Posted by: Suyapa Rodriguez at August 2, 2005 11:36 PM

Leave a Memory




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)