Monday October 15, 2012
Ex-SXI director dies at 85
By ROYCE TAN
GEORGE TOWN: Even on his deathbed, Datuk Brother Charles Levin was still thinking about his students.
His final wish was to have a television set placed behind the baby grand piano at St Xavier's Institution (SXI) so that students could watch videos of great musicians.
“He wanted to inspire them. He wanted to revive music in the school,” said SXI guidance and counselling unit head James Koay.
Brother Charles, the former director of SXI, died of sepsis yesterday. He was 85.
He conveyed his wish about the TV, donated by former students, to Koay on Saturday.
Brother Charles, whose real name was Karl Wolff, was the longest serving principal of SXI, from 1966 to 1979.
Born in Germany on May 21, 1927, he left for Ireland during World War II to escape the Nazi regime.
He joined the La Sallian Brothers and adopted the name Charles Levin when he took his final vows.
Among his qualifications were a degree in literature from University College Dublin and a degree in education from the University of Manchester.
He also went to Fu Jen University in Taiwan to study Mandarin.
Besides Mandarin, Brother Charles also spoke Latin, French, English, German, Gaelic and Bahasa Malaysia.
He started teaching at the St Joseph's Novitiate and SXI in 1951 before he was made the principal and director in 1979.
Principal Loh Kea Yu said Brother Charles had worked very hard for the school.
Teacher Emmanuel Dorai said Brother Charles had complained of body pains on Friday.
School security guard Bashir Ali Abdul Kader, 53, said he was doing his rounds at 4.40am on Saturday when he was told that Brother Charles had fallen down in the toilet.
“I ran up to the brothers' quarters to carry him out. He was clutching my hand tightly.
“I told him that he was going to be all right and he would be brought back to the school as soon as possible. I never thought those words would be my last to him,” he said, holding back his tears.
For blogger and activist Anil Netto, Brother Charles' dedication was one which went beyond the call of duty.
“Under his tenure as a school principal and then as brother director, he made every student felt like they were part of the school. Nobody ever felt like they were left out.”