ZOLNAY, Mattyasovszky (Zsolnay) Tibor - Passed away on October 25, 2018, in Toronto, Ontario.
The love of his life, Eszter Jeszensky, predeceased him on February 23, 2018. Tibor and Eszter led extraordinary lives and were the devoted patriarch and matriarch of their family.
The last of his family’s generation, Tibor lived a long, full life. He attributed his longevity to keeping physically and mentally active, and always maintaining a positive attitude. Born March 8th, 1918 in Pécs, Hungary, Tibor was destined for a career in the family’s prominent ceramics business, after having studied law and political science.
During WWII, he led a Huszár squadron in the Hungarian 25th Infantry Division in the battle for Hungary and was decorated for gallantry. At the end of the war, he spent two years in the Ukraine as a POW, returning to Hungary in October 1947. The Zsolnay factory was nationalized in 1948, so he decided to risk leaving. He crossed the Iron Curtain and Europe to France, where in 1951 he embarked on a ship to Canada.
In Montreal, he worked whatever jobs he could, while earning an accounting designation, and gained Canadian Citizenship in 1959. That same year he joined Dominion Engineering Works Ltd/Canadian General Electric with whom he remained until retirement.
Tibor and Eszter fell in love in Montreal and married in 1958. Eszter was born to a noble Hungarian family in 1923 and spent much of the war with her first husband (Imre Tahy) in Berlin and Bern. After the war, while living in Paris, Eszter worked for Christian Dior and earned a living by designing and making accessories for the brand.
After gaining a diploma in haute couture, they sailed to Montreal in 1951 with their three daughters (Katalin, Erzsébet, Dora) and two adopted children (Zsiga and Berta). There, she established a couture shop and later worked for Eaton’s and Holt Renfrew, retiring as a buyer for Holt’s many years later.
Tibor and Eszter had three sons (Tamás, Gyorgy, István) and moved to Toronto in 1981, where the couple lived independently until Eszter’s passing in February 2018.
They were both proud of their Hungarian heritage and even prouder to call Canada their home.
Eszter and Tibor are greatly missed by their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and extended family, who have Eszter’s many handmade textiles to remember her by. Tibor leaves us with a detailed memoir of his life and a history of his notable family.
A memorial service and burial will take place at the Toronto Necropolis Chapel, 200 Winchester Street, Toronto at 2:00 PM on November 17th, 2018.