Eva Montague

Obituary of Eva Montague

Eva Montague, our beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, passed away in State College, Pa., on August 19, 2017. Eva, who would have been 93 on September 2, was born in Budapest, Hungary, and died of congestive heart failure.

She leaves behind two daughters, Monica Montag and husband Martin Halstuk of State College, and Naomi Klarner and husband Scott Klarner. Also surviving are Monica's daughter Dr. Annie Reyes and husband Dr. Matthew Reyes of State College; Naomi and Scott's son Christian Klarner and wife Erin of Baltimore, and daughter Hannah Klarner, all of Baltimore, Md. Christian and Erin have three children, Eva's great grandchildren, Sara, Matthias and Gabriel Klarner, all of Baltimore. Eva's dear friend Barbara Klarner of Baltimore also survives.

In Hungary, Eva is mourned by younger sister Dr. Agnes Andrásofszky and husband Dr. Barna Andrásofszky, and niece Krisztina Fenyo and family. Eva also leaves behind her "adopted" State College family, Maria and Andras Gordon of Hungary and State College and their daughters Dr. Judit Gordon and Eszter Gordon, of Washington, D.C.

She is also remembered by numerous nieces and nephews throughout Europe. Eva was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Joseph Montague, a retired engineer; and younger sister, Magda Knoll Fenyo, and brother-in-law Dr. Istvan Fenyo, and also Eva's brother Dr. Istvan Knoll, Sr.

When the Soviets invaded Hungary in 1956, pregnant and with her toddler daughter Monica in tow, Eva followed the love of her life, Joseph, to escape to the West. They fled Budapest in the middle of the night, hidden in the belly of a milk truck. After 10 days travel, they traversed a barb-wired field to cross a cold, swift river into the Austrian town of Deutsckrist. There, the Red Cross was well prepared to receive the waves of Hungarians fleeing from Communism.

Eva's mother was a concert pianist and her father, a historian and headmaster of a Catholic boys school. As a young girl Eva would much rather skip school and sneak off to the movies than study for her exams. She loved to swim and play basketball and hang out with her friends. That playful spirit characterized her life. In their teenage years when Budapest was bombed daily, Eva and her two lighthearted younger sisters often applied make-up before fleeing to bomb shelter. Never know whom you'll meet, Eva recalled.

Throughout those difficult early years in America she kept her sense of humor and ability to have fun whatever the circumstances. She learned to drive a car on a dare (from "Joska"), went to work as a keypunch operator and won awards for her speed and accuracy. She was famous in her circle as a charming hostess and fabulous cook. She found joy in the small things and strength in her faith. She was an active member of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, State College.

Her beloved grandchildren knew her as "Oma", who showered them with love, encouragement, and her famous chocolate chip cookies! When she was in her 60s, she drove to Baltimore, a three-hour trip, every week, to babysit her grandson Chris, for three days so that he wouldn't have to be in a daycare.

She taught granddaughters Annie to swim and to love sports and Hannah to bake and cook.

There were two tenets she lived by: Never look back and never do anything you'd regret. She always did her best and rarely complained, with a smile on her face and joy in her heart.

We are so fortunate to have had this truly loving and generous woman as our mother, grandmother and role model. She taught us how to love.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com or visit us on Facebook.