KORA, Jeno (Jim) Jozsef
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August 19, 1931 - April 8, 2012
We are sad to report that our husband, our father, our grandfather (Papa), our relative and our friend, died this last weekend. He died as he had lived, with vim, vigour, spunk and humour. We will miss him greatly, but will celebrate often his accomplishments and the footprints he left on this earth. Jeno was born in Budapest, Hungary and as a young boy was to witness many of the horrors of the Second World War. But the need to survive and help feed his family stoked the fires of entrepreneurship and the flames of anger that he would use, to defend freedom and guide his adventures, for the rest of his life. It was told that in 1945, as a thirteen-year-old, he briefly stopped the fighting between the Germans and Russians, in the rail yards of Budapest, while he balanced on the top of a rail tanker between the armies, to liberate some kerosene for his family, apparently waving to both sides as he left, while they waved back before resuming the shooting. He met the love of his life, Eszter, in Pecs following the war, after completing his mandatory army service. His first daughter was born in 1955, less than two years before the start of the Hungarian Revolution. Jeno was very active with the freedom fighters and was imprisoned and tortured for his efforts. Escaping one cold night, he gathered his young bride and daughter and, though weakened by the beatings, he led them through forest and fields and across a frigid, swollen, river to refuge in Yugoslavia. In the refugee camps he honed his entrepreneurial skills, finding ways to improve the lot of his family until they found emigration sanctuary in Australia. Jeno moved to Perth with his growing family; a son and second daughter were born. He worked the rails, learned the language and through determination and grit worked his way up as a Master Mechanic and Shore Engineer within the Public Works Department of the State of Western Australia. In the early 70's the family made the decision to start again by emigrating to Canada. It is not surprising that Jeno obtained a job on the first day that they arrived in Vancouver and over the next 30 years Jeno forged a reputation as a top-notch Engine Fitter with shipyards in BC (many of those vessels, private and governmental, are still in service). At the same time he started and operated his own machine shop in which he produced parts and assemblies for a wide variety of industries and customers (from parts used in the hatches of the West Edmonton Mall submarines to air-tight door mechanisms for the Canadian Atomic Centre) and as a designer and fabricator of equipment and components used in the manufacture of marine enclosures. His expertise, ingenuity, quality of workmanship and work ethic were highly respected. When he and Eszter retired they moved to Oshawa and bought a fine house with a wall long enough to hang the photos of their three children, ten grandchildren and one great- grandchild. Jeno would never agree that he was the perfect man, but his prejudices and beliefs were honest and more often than not were accompanied by a mischievous grin and a twinkle of the eye. Jeno lived a good life, filled with adventure, emotion, failure and success and surrounded through life and at death by people he loved and who loved him.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Apr. 13, 2012