1942 Edith 2013

Edith Ilona Gessler

September 26, 1942 — January 2, 2013

Edith Ilona Debreczeni Gessler, 69, died January 2, 2013, at her home in Seaview. She was born in Budapest, Hungary on September 26, 1942 during World War II. Life in was very difficult in Budapest during this time. Edith was too young to take to the bomb shelters, so her mother, Margit Somogyi Debreczeni and father Janos Debreczeni, sent her to the country where there was no bombing to stay with relatives. When the Soviet army finally invaded and bombed Budapest in 1945, Edith's family were forced to flee the country, leaving her in the care of her great aunt Julia Bikadi, her grandmother's sister, who raised Edith in rural Hungary behind the Iron Curtain for the next 14 years. She would learn Russian as a second language in school during the Soviet occupation of Hungary. In 1958 at age 16, Edith was finally able to join her family where they were now living in Germany. She quickly learned German, a third language. Eventually, all members of her family, except for her father who by this time was divorced from her mother, would immigrate to the United States. She absorbed English and embraced American culture with gusto. As a young woman, Edith would meet the love of her life, Joseph M. Gessler Jr., but fate would take him from her at a young age in a terrible car accident. Edith would never marry again. She became a "rolling stone," moving from one place to another, including Vancouver, WA, and Palm Springs, CA, not always keeping in touch yet never more than a letter or phone call away from her mother, sisters and brother. She moved to Seaview over 10 years ago, becoming the housemate of her good friend Cynthia (Cindy) Baker, until her passing. Edith was preceded in death by her father Janos Debreczeni; her beloved husband Joe Gessler; her sister Delinke Debreczeni Banks; her mother Margit Somogyi Debreczeni; and her oldest sister Margit Debreczeni Hunter who passed away in early November 2012. She is survived by her sister Piroska (Penny) Munz, niece Monica Munz Ward and nephew Gene Munz; her brother Attila Debreczeni, and niece Felicia Debreczeni; niece Della Setser, nephew Omar (Sonny) Jenkins and nephew Robert (Bob) Jenkins; nieces Susie and Lisa Banks, and several great nieces, great nephews, cousins and good friends. Nephew Gene Munz remembers his "Aunt Edie" for her kindness, generosity, love of animals and patriotism: "Mom would say something about me being so patriotic and Aunt Edie would say, 'Well, you know that I am, too!' Like it was a contest. That always made me laugh. Like Mom and Aunt Margit, Aunt Edie loved this country and was always proud to be an American." Per her wishes, she will be buried beside her beloved husband at the Junior Mechanics Cemetery in Burlington, New Jersey. Her guestbook is available at www.penttilaschapel.com

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