Imre "James" Gaal
SHEFFIED LAKE – Imre "James" Gaal, age 75, of Sheffield Lake, passed away on the afternoon of June 17, 2014 at the New Life Hospice Center of St. Joseph following a brief illness. Born in Koronco, Hungary on October 18, 1938, he escaped from Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 at the age of 18. Along with four friends, Imre came to Ellis Island. Eventually, he was able to join family members residing in South Amherst. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1969 and Americanized his name to James.
In his early days in the United States he was employed by the Cleveland Quarry Company in South Amherst and subsequently as a tow motor operator for the Concrete Masonry Corporation in Elyria. Mr. Gaal later worked as a drywall finisher; in 1965 he opened his own drywall business and continued the trade for more than a half century until his health began to decline in 2008. In 1975 he joined the Ford Motor Company and balanced his career at the drywall company with his duties as a block sander at the Ohio Truck Plant. A member of United Autoworker's Local 2000, Imre retired from the automaker in 2001 following twenty-six years of service.
A parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Sheffield Lake, James had been a member of St. Lad's Club in Lorain for fifty-seven years and also served as a member and trustee for the St. Lad's Sick Benefit Society.
In his free time he enjoyed bowling, golf, fishing, and hunting. Additional interests included travel, (especially to his native Hungary), and spending time with his Hungarian friends. He also enjoyed spending time with his family and loved to have the grandchildren that he was so proud of come for visits.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-three years Linda J. (nee Hutchinson), by daughters Marianne Richardson of Caldwell, Texas, Jennifer L. Fitzer of Sheffield Lake, and by his sons John J. Gaal of Sheffield Lake, and James A. Gaal of Navarre, Ohio. Additional survivors include grandchildren John, Michael, Christina, Benjamin, Brennan, Tyler, Ryan, Haily, Anthony, Bo, and Ben, great grandchildren Alexis, Addison, and Parker, siblings Miklos Gaal, Irene Szaloki, Erzsebet Ramm, and Peter Gaal all of Gyor, Hungary along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins residing in both Ohio and Hungary.
Imre was preceded in death by his parents Imre and Maria (nee Prohaszka) Gaal.
Visitation will be Thursday June 19th from 4 until 8 p.m. in the Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel, 3224 Broadway Avenue, Lorain. Funeral services will be Friday at 11:00 a.m. in the funeral chapel with the Reverend Stephen Shields, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church presiding. Burial will follow in Ridge Hill memorial park, Amherst Township.
Donations may be made in his memory to The
55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60601.
To share your memories and condolences with Imre's family, please visit www.gluvna.net.