by Alexander Veress
Stefánia (Várnai) Veress passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 8, 2022. She was born in Ivan, Hungary on October 30, 1924. As a young adult during World War II, to avoid the initial Russian takeover of Hungary, she crossed into Austria along with her mother and two older siblings where they resided in a refugee camp. After the war, the family returned to Sopron where she worked as a special education teacher. In 1952, she married Sándor Veress. Her daughter, Andrea (Robertson) was born the following year. In 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, the family escaped Hungary along with most of the forestry management faculty and students from the University of Sopron. After crossing at night into Austria, she again entered a refugee camp until they were able to travel with the rest of the faculty to the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver BC. After two years, they immigrated to the United States so that her husband could complete his doctoral studies at the Department of Civil Engineering at Ohio State University. While in Ohio, she gave birth to her son, Alexander. After Sándor’s graduation, they moved to Indiana where Sándor taught at Purdue University prior to settling in Seattle. In 1966, she became a proud US citizen. Stefánia raised her children in the Hawthorne Hills neighborhood while Sándor was a Civil Engineering professor at the University of Washington. Once the children left home, she served the Hungarian Refugee community by working as a medical interpreter at the University of Washington and the Harborview Medical Center. In 1984, she was among the founding members of the Hungarian American Association of Washington where she was an original Board Member of the Association. She truly loved teaching Hungarian language classes for children and was a member of the Hungarian Choir of Seattle. She was also on the editorial committee for the book The First 10 Years of the Hungarian American Association of Washington that was published in 1996. Following her retirement, she lived independently in Bothell, WA near Andrea until her health required her to move in with her daughter three years ago. Her greatest source of happiness in her later years was her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is survived by her son Alexander (Christine) and daughter Andrea (Mark Robertson), grandchildren (Christina Hoffer (Jared), Scott (Dallin), and Kim (Brian) Robertson, and Nathaniel and Evan Veress) and two great-grandchildren (Eleanor and Sam Hoffer). She will be greatly missed.
On behalf of the HAAW we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to her family.
May she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing.