On Tuesday, May 11, our beloved Father, Grandfather, and Dédi, passed away peacefully yet unexpectedly at the age of 87
Joseph is survived and lovingly remembered by his children Tom (Patty), Leslie (Zsoka), Kati (Laci); his grandchildren Michelle, Christopher, Robert (Cassidy), Sara, Rebeka; and great-grandchildren Ethan, Joseph, and Oszkar; his brother Istvan; sisters Ilona and Terez and their families in Hungary, as well as former wife and good friend Gabriella Jonas.
He was predeceased by his parents Joseph in 1976 and Terez in 2010 as well as his best friend and former wife Eva Sefel in 2002
Joseph was born in January 1934 in Magyarkeszi, a small village in Hungary. He was proud of his heritage and his humble beginnings and would go back to visit whenever he had the chance. Throughout his life, he did whatever he could to help the small village, including refurbishing the village church years later.
He went to university in Budapest, graduating from the Eotvos Lorand Tudomany Egyettem with a degree in geophysics on September 25, 1956. The Hungarian revolution of 1956 broke out in October and Joseph fled Hungary with his soon-to-be wife and father-in-law.
He married Eva on December 20, 1956 and after a short stay in England, the pair arrived in Calgary, Canada during the May long weekend 1957.
Once they settled in Calgary, he soon started his own geophysical company that eventually became the largest privately owned company in Canada (1973-1989) with offices around the world. From there he expanded into real estate, establishing his own properties company, building hundreds of homes and rental units throughout the city. He loved and enjoyed the arts so much he founded a recording company that produced many classical music albums and two film companies - one for live action and the other animation.
Joseph was proud of his Hungarian heritage and helped many new Hungarians who immigrated to Canada get established. He gave back where he could, both in the local Hungarian community, and in his beloved homeland.
Two of his biggest passions were his garden and cooking. He loved to watch his flowers grow and bloom, and he enjoyed countless hours working in the garden or just sitting on the deck enjoying the fruits of his labour.
He loved to cook for family and friends, everything from inventing new recipes, to fancy gourmet meals and Hungarian classics. Joseph’s grandchildren will always cherish Sunday night dinners, where he would share stories, debate, and teach them valuable life lessons learned throughout his unique and vast life experience.
There is so much more to Joseph than the few examples here. He was an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a leader, highly respected in his industries and the Hungarian community. He was a gentleman, a friend, and a brother, but to us, he was our Dad, our grandpa, and our Dédi. He is, and will forever be in our hearts.
"We little knew that morning, God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly, In death, we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, You did not go alone. For part of us went with you, The day God called you home. You left us beautiful memories, Your love is still our guide, And though we cannot see you, You are always by our side. Our family chain is broken, And nothing seems the same, But as God calls us one by one, The chain will link again." (Author unknown)
Meg eltel szerettunk, mig elunk siratunk
Services will be announced at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Sefel, please visit our floral store.