January 25, 1911 (McKeesport, PA) – July 10, 1944; 33 years old; married to Margaret Fekete Pirigyi (1914-2007) on January 11, 1936
Last local address: 7 Lubrano Place, South Norwalk
Enlisted on September 3, 1943
Service number: 31405616
157TH INFANTRY, 90TH DIVISION
Killed on patrol in Beaucoudray, France.
From The Bridgeport Telegram November 2, 1947
WAR WIDOW’S OWN HEARTACHES PROVIDE THEME FOR HER FIRST NOVEL
There perhaps is no quicker balm to soothe one’s troubled mind than to hear of the next person’s heartaches and sufferings. It turns on into an extrovert; it makes on learn about life next door; it is a lesson which cannot be learned from a book.
It is an exposition of the cause and effect which bring climaxes to the lives of little humans and answers the question so often asked: “Why are things thus and so,” in the panorama of life. What is more important it ofttimes offers the solution to one’s own problems.
Which all leads to Margaret Fekete Pirigyi, one of the countless war widows throughout the country, and why she wrote a novel, “Widow Julia,” which is to be published in December by the Paebar company of New York City.
Margie was born in Bridgeport and is the daughter of Mrs. Julia Fekete, of Old Stratfield Road, Bridgeport. Eleven years ago, she married Adolph Pirigyi, and because he worked as a general hatter in the Palco Hats Inc., in South Norwalk, they moved into a little three-room flat on Lubrano Place, a country lane in the Springwood section of that town.
Their life together was a happy one. In fact, so happy that many times they had the presentment that something would happen to one or the other.
They were inseparable. And Margie went so far as to get a job in the same place her husband worked, and eventually became the head of the printing department of the Palco factory. Each year on their wedding anniversary they had their photographs taken, and Margie pasted them in a special scrap book labeled, “The Wedding Anniversaries of Adolph and Margaret Pirigyi.”
“I always had a premonition that something would happen,” she reminisced. Many mornings across the breakfast table I would say to John, ‘Good morning’, and I would reach out and touch his arm and say, ‘Are you really here?’”
Came the war, and Adolph was called into service, September 3, 1943. While he was in training Margie visited him, and when their eighth wedding anniversary rolled around in January 1944, they remembered to have their pictures taken, and this time Adolph was in uniform.
Then in June 1944, he was shipped with the 90th Division, 157th Infantry to the European Theater of War.
Margie recalls the day she said good-bye to him. It was in Providence, and they had gone to a gay place to dine and dance. The words she spoke to him midst the gayety were hard of coming, but she felt she must say them.
“Adolph,” she said, “if you should lose your arms or legs or eyes, remember I will be waiting for you because I love you. But if God sees fit to take you, I make a solemn promise. I will go to Hungary where live your mother and father and I will take care of them.”
The months which followed were dark and lonely. To occupy herself, Margie wrote poetry. Poetry writing was not a new thing for her. She had written it during her days at Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, and her verses had appeared many times on The Bridgeport Post’s “Through the Looking Glass” page.
With time heavy on her hands at night, she resorted to her old hobby. Most of the poems she wrote dealt with Adolph.
Then came the fateful day – July 10, 1944. Adolph was one of a six-man patrol in Beau Coudray in Normandy. All were machine-gunned by a Jerry before the platoon caught up with them.
When Margie heard the news, she collapsed. She became ill, then later listless. For more than six months, she refused to leave the three-room apartment on Lubrano Place. Folks tried to coax her out of her lethargy, but Margie heeded no one, and did not even go to work.
At last, one day, she remembered the promise she made to her husband – that she would go to Hungary and take care of his mother and father. The promise preyed upon her mind. She aroused herself, and upon advice of her doctor, returned to her printing work at Palco’s.
January 11, 1945 – another wedding anniversary rolled around. Margaret Fekete posted another picture in her scrap book. It was a portrait of herself – alone.
Meanwhile she got an idea. Why not have the poems she wrote, published in a book dedicated to her husband. Not yet 30, and an unknown, she had difficulty trying to sell them. So, she went to the Paebar company, and paid to have them compiled into a book. She titled the collection “My Verse Book,” and on one of the introductory pages she had printed, “I humbly dedicate this book to the inspiration of my work, and the greatest hero in my life, my beloved husband, Private Adolph A. Pirigyi, United States Army.”
It appeared in book stores in January 1946, and since those days she has received royalties which have paid for the cost of publishing.
Meanwhile she tried to arrange for a passport to Zemplan, Megye, Hungary, but was turned down. She appealed, and her latest information is that she may be able to enter that country some time in 1948.
Until that time, she is keeping herself busy. Seeing her poetry in book form was an incentive to keep writing. For the last year and a half, she worked on “Widow Julia.” In 200 pages, she unfolds the life of a young woman, who became a widow at an early age and tells of the struggles she had to rear her family of six children and what she accomplished. It will be published also by the Paebar company.
Recently, she gave up her job at the Palco company to devote her full time to writing.
“I want to be started on something else before ‘Widow Julia’ comes out. So, I am giving myself until the first of the year to produce. If I turn out to be a failure, I’ll go back to work again,” she said.
Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies and this year one will be dramatized on “Poetry on the Air,” and will be included in “Poets of New England.”
Mrs. Pirigyi, blue-eyed and fair, and just turned thirty, is a sister of Mrs. Ida Lopez Ceparo, a designer who teaches sewing in the General Evening school. Her brother is Louis Fekete, a Fairfield policeman, and she has another sister, Mrs. Gabrial Lazar, wife of a Norwalk councilman, who came in on the Socialist ticket in the recent election.
Other members of the family include Rudolph F. Black (a transition of Fekete from the Hungarian to English is Black) and Mrs. Arthur J. Wood Jr., of Mami, Florida.
Mrs. Pirigyi is a member of the Senior choir of the Hungarian reformed church of South Norwalk, and a member of the Federation of Chaparral Writers.
AUTHOR’S ADDENDUM: Margaret Julia Fekete Pirigyi made the journey to Europe. It is unknown when she departed but records show she returned to the United States on the Queen Mary on August 12, 1948. She returned to Europe again on the Queen Elizabeth September 7, 1948 from New York to Cherbourg, France. She married Laszlo Csovanyos of Budapest, in Budapest, on October 11, 1948. They moved to the United States and Laszlo took a job at Norwalk Hospital as an intern and eventually a doctor. She spoke at the dedication ceremony of the plaque for Hungary when it was placed on Heritage Wall in Norwalk. She died on May 17, 2007 in Norwalk at 92 years old. Laszlo passed on November 28, 2008.
Repatriated and interred on April 23,1948 Long Island National Cemetery, Section H, Grave 8311.