Edith Kapka June 30, 1913 – July 28, 2018

August 2018 Posted in Obituary

KapkaEdith Kapka, age 105, of Mount Angel, died peacefully of natural causes on July 28 with her family by her side. Her husband John, to whom she was married for 44 years, preceded her in death, as did three of her 10 children, daughter Georgette Marie, and sons Ladis Joseph and Emeric William.

Edith was born to Antonia Majer and Lajos Vértes, M.D. on June 30, 1913, in Budapest, Hungary. Educated in Budapest and Antwerp, Belgium, Edith had an inquisitive scholarly mind and was an avid reader, especially of books about history and science. She was fluent in five languages: Hungarian, French, German, Flemish and English. Upon graduating from the gymnasium, Edith took classes in child development at a college in Antwerp. This led to employment as a governess to three children of a Belgian family.

During one of her Christmas visits home in Budapest, Edith met her future husband, John Kapka, at the party of a mutual friend. They immediately hit it off, and became engaged soon after.

John and Edith married on June 20, 1938 at St. Emeric’s Catholic Church in Kelenföld, Budapest. Edith gave birth to their first child, Edith, in 1939, and four children followed in the next five years, Georgette, Mary, John and Alice.

As for many, the war years were difficult for John and Edith. The Soviet occupation of Budapest after World War II was instrumental in their decision to relocate, and with their five children and Edith’s mother, the couple left Hungary for Belgium. In the two years they lived there, Edith gave birth to their sixth child, Steven. Fearing the spread of Stalin’s power, John and Edith said goodbye to Europe, and found passage on a Liberty Ship bound for New York. They arrived in early November 1947, and later in the month, their seventh child, Margaret, was born.

After two years in New York, John was offered a position in Cleveland, Ohio, where the family moved in 1949, and where another daughter, Elizabeth, was born. Four years later, John and Edith bought a home that would accommodate the family in rural northeastern Ohio. Two more sons were born in Ohio, Emeric and Ladis.

Edith busied herself with running the household while John worked to provide for the large family. In 1967 John and Edith became American citizens – a proud and
happy event in their lives.

John suddenly passed away in 1982 while he and Edith lived in Willow Springs, Missouri.

After moving around the West Coast to be closer to her children and grandchildren, Edith settled into Orchard House in Mount Angel in November 2012. The family that John and Edith started has grown to include 23 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

Edith was a gifted storyteller, drawing on her long and richly textured life. Her experiences living in Budapest during World War II became the basis for a book of fiction entitled Roots and Branches, coauthored with her daughter Marga. On Edith’s 104th birthday, she was presented with a special edition of the book by her granddaughter Ruby, who created the cover design.

A mass was held in Edith’s honor on Aug. 11 in the chapel of Orchard House.

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