Elizabeth Bartha

  • BY wire.service
  • Friday, June 7, 2013 12:00am
  • Obituaries
Elizabeth Bartha

Elizabeth Bartha

Elizabeth Bartha passed away on May 31 at the age of 84, after a long and hard fought battle with cancer. Elizabeth is survived by her daughter Pamela, son Attila, daughter in-law Sally, and her granddaughter Laura. She was preceded in death by her husband Joseph.

Elizabeth was born in a small town in Hungary in 1929. She started working early in childhood in her fathers’ shop, building sawdust stoves for sale to the community. She was a teenager during World War II and witnessed the battles and horror of death at the doorsteps of her village. Her family survived the war through the German occupation of Hungary and the Russian invasion after the German retreat in 1945. Early in the war, German officers were living in her family home and her family had to cook and clean for them. When the Germans were driven out of Hungary, they were replaced by the Russian occupiers, for whom they had to care for as well.

In 1951 Elizabeth and Joseph were married and their son was born in 1954. In October of 1956 the Hungarian Revolution broke out and Joseph joined the ranks of the Freedom Fighters in an attempt to drive the Russian Communists out of Hungary. The Revolution failed, and Joseph and Elizabeth were forced to flee Hungary with nothing but what they could carry and their toddler son. They walked for days, sleeping in the November weather and slipping in and out of hiding to avoid discovery, barely escaping out of Hungary before the borders were closed. They crossed the Hungarian frontier into Austria among the wave of a quarter of a million Hungarian refugees. The family lived the next year in UN sponsored refugee camps in Austria, England and Ireland. They arrived in Canada in November of 1957 and then the final and ultimate destination, The United States in 1960.

Elizabeth and Joseph built their lives in their new homeland in Detroit and San Diego. Returning to Detroit Joseph worked as a toolmaker and Elizabeth worked as a domestic for the likes of Henry Ford’s family and others.

The Barthas moved to Kent in 1967. Elizabeth loved to cook and bake. These were her passions and joy. She catered specialty Hungarian foods and old world pastries for friends and clients. She loved to garden and sew, and generally work with her hands. She upholstered furniture, did carpentry, plumbed and was still trimming her trees on a ladder at 82. She wasn’t afraid to tackle any repair around the house. As a matter of fact she relished it. At Christmas and her birthdays she was most excited when her presents were tools for cooking and her crafts. Hammers, pliers, saws, and air compressors brought smiles and “well, this is a surprise”, fuel for her imagination and the next project. She enjoyed taking in nature and walks in the woods, picking fruit from local orchards, gardening and having her family around her. Her greatest joy came from her love of God and faith.

She lived her life with courage and suffered through adversity with strength and fortitude. Her family and friends will miss her.

In her memory, please make contributions to Highline Medical Center Hospice Care.


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