1939 - 2017
Grace Szakacs (nee Bakos), beloved wife of the late Gabor Szakacs, passed away in Swan River, Manitoba on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at the age of 78 years.
The Funeral Service was held at Swan Valley Funeral Services, 363 Kelsey Trail, Swan River, Manitoba on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 10:00 A.M.
The Burial Service was held at Taber Memorial Garden, one kilometer north of 64 Avenue on 50 Street, Taber on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 2:00 P.M.
Grace is survived by her daughter Susan, and her husband Rob Cowan, of Swan River; nephew Charles of Vancouver; nieces Gizike and Marianna and their families of Hungary, and goddaughter Betty-Jo of Lethbridge.
Grace was predeceased by husband Gabor; parents Joszef and Margit Bakos; stepfather Gyorgy “George”; sister Marika; nephew Bela; in-laws Gabor Sr. and Zsuzsann; sisters-in-law Magda, Klarika; brothers-in-law Bela Sr, Lajos “Louis” and Lazlo “Lesley”.
Gizella “Grace” Bakos, was born July 3, 1939 in Kunagota, Hungary (Budapest) to Joszef Bakos and Margit Jakab. Typical of Hungarian schooling system, after her formative school years, she carried on with vocational training as a lens technician, making lenses for glasses, cameras and even windows for planes. She, in fact, worked alongside Gabor Szakacs Sr., her future father-in-law. She later met Gabor Jr. at a swimming pool in Budapest.
As the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 caused turmoil in the country, she and Gabe made the decision to escape and were even caught once by the military police and brought back to Budapest. They tried again, with Gabe travelling ahead. Grace travelled to Salzburg, Austria and later to Bremerhaven, Germany to board the Greek ship, Columbia, bound for Halifax. She landed in Canada on March 23, 1957 and on June 26, continued her journey by train to Calgary. Grace made her way to Barnwell, where Gabe had landed months earlier.
Later, Grace worked in the Banff Springs Hospital, while Gabor, a heavy duty mechanic by trade in Hungary, managed to get on with the CNR as a labourer in Canmore and Banff.
The bustling and prosperous agricultural area and the Hungarian community of Taber drew the new Canadian couple back to work in the area.
Gabe and Grace were married on July 3, 1960 in Lethbridge. Grace cooked for her own wedding, had the ceremony and luncheon, and was back out in the field hoeing sugar beets in the afternoon for the local farmers, because making a living was always a priority for Grace. She could run circles around most men when it came to working out in the field. Grace worked for Taber Dry Cleaners, and after taking her training for practical nurses’ aide, worked at the Taber General Hospital.
In addition to their jobs, Gabe and Grace bought a small acreage on the edge of Taber, where they had a few cows, two horses and a small bee-keeping operation. In 1969, Susan came along and in 1974 they bought a quarter section of irrigated farm land north of Vauxhall. They grew wheat and hay, eventually growing into a large cattle operation, along with sheep, goats and chickens. They both worked the farm, with Grace growing a large garden and helping with all aspects of the farm. In 1980, Gabe’s health required them to make some significant changes in their life. They decided to sell the farm, “retire”, and move to Lethbridge.
In 1983, restlessness and opportunity attracted them to the Swan River Valley to try farming once again, growing grain and raising livestock. To provide an off-farm income, Grace retrained as a nurses’ aide and re-entered the workforce, first with Home Care and later with the Swan Valley Personal Care Home.
With daughter Susan becoming a teacher in 1993 and marrying Rob Cowan in March 1994, this was a happy time for Gabe and Grace. They made a trip to Hungary in October of 1994.
Unfortunately, Gabe passed away in December of that year. Grace carried on working at the PCH and lived on the farm for two more years before moving to town in 1997.
Grace’s many years of manual labour started to take their toll, as arthritis began to restrict her ability to work. She took an early retirement to simplify her life and manage her illness. Grace lived in her own home in Swan River for nineteen years, until needing much more help for daily living. During a brief stay at the hospital she learned of her life’s next battle, lung cancer. Not wanting or able to endure treatment, she chose instead to enjoy her remaining time. Her next move was into the very place she once cared for so many others, the Swan Valley Personal Care Home, where she resided for almost two years until the time of her passing.
Grace enjoyed needle and petite point, cooking, baking, music of all kinds (from opera to rock), gardening, playing cards, doing crossword puzzles in English and Hungarian, reading novels and magazines, travelling and watching old movies. The Sound of Music was one of her favourites. Her favourite actress was Debbie Reynolds and she was quite saddened by her passing.
If friends so desire, memorial tributes in Grace’s name may be made directly to Swan Valley Health Facilities Foundation Inc., Box 1450, Swan River, Manitoba R0L 1Z0.