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Arto Szabó


1935 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Arto Szabó Obituary
Arto Olavi Szabó
July 23, 1935 – July 23, 2018
Arto Olavi Szabó, long-time resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, and current resident of Sarasota, Florida, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 23 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital surrounded in love by family and special friends.
Son of Aladár Szabó and Aino Hakulinen-Szabó, he was predeceased by his wife Ella Kovács Szabó and his younger brother Miklós Tamás Szabó. He is survived by his beloved daughter Eve Aino Rosa Wirth, his son-in-law Russell Double Lee Wirth III, and his two adoring grandsons Russell Alden Szabó Wirth and Spencer Adams Kovács Wirth, all of Mill Valley, California. He also leaves his nephew Robert Tamás Szabó of Cranberry, Pennsylvania, and is survived by his devoted companion Dee Andress Lewis.
Arto was born on July 23, 1935 in Pécs, Hungary. He attended the Hungarian Film Studios, Budapest from 1954 – 1955 before attending the Applied Arts College from 1955 – 1956. In 1956, with the Russian army occupying his mother country and viciously suppressing the Revolution for freedom, he bravely decided to flee Communism leaving behind his family. He first landed in London, and was able to emigrate to Canada, before ultimately being welcomed by his adoptive country, the United States. He finished his schooling by attending the Parsons School of Design in NYC, graduating with honors in Interior Design in 1960. He met his future wife, Ella Kovács, in NYC at the Hungarian Reformed Church, where they married in 1962. Soon thereafter, they moved to Greenwich, Connecticut. He founded Arto Szabó Associates and worked as a furniture and interior designer until retirement in 2007. In 2009 his loving wife Ella passed away. He was a member of American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a founding member of the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD), helping lay ASFD's groundwork, infrastructure and constitution. From 1983 – 1985, he served as chairman of the North Atlantic Chapter. From 1983 – 1994 he was the publisher and editor of the Chapter Forum, the ASFD's quarterly publication. He served on ASFD's national board of directors several times, as well as ASFD's President from 1994 – 1995. In 1996, he helped establish the Pinnacle Awards, recognizing contributions in the home furnishings industry, of which he was later honored with a Pinnacle design achievement award. He served as Treasurer of ASFD from 1996 – 2013. On October 17, 2006, he was honored by the ASFD with the "Outstanding Member Service Award" for his invaluable contributions, continuous loyalty and leadership to the organization since its inception in 1981.
Arto had a life-long love for tennis, skiing and travel, as well as a keen appreciation for classical music. He was an avid photographer and painter. Les Beaux Arts Gallery, in Greenwich, held several solo exhibits of his work. He was a gardener, lover of food and wine, a historian, and proud Hungarian and American.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in Arto's honor be made to The Greenwich Symphony via check/mail. Please include your name, address, email and "In Honor of Arto Szabó" in the memo line, made out to Greenwich Symphony, P.O. Box 35, Greenwich, CT, 06836, or online at www.greenwichsymphony.org.
A service to "Celebrate Arto's Life" will be held at 1:00 p.m., on Saturday, September 15, 2018, at the Round Hill Community Church, 395 Round Hill Road in Greenwich, Connecticut. Reception and Fellowship immediately following.
Published in GreenwichTime on Aug. 12, 2018
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