Bela Nagy was born in Budapest Hungary where he grew up with his two brothers Steve and Leslie. At that time, the country was under communist rule and like all young men, Bela was obligated to serve in the Russian army. For those of you who are familiar with Hungarian history, in 1956 there was a revolt against the Russian occupation and many Hungarians left the country. Still in the army Bela chose to go AWOL and left his country and family behind to immigrate to the United States.
When he arrived in America he was taken in by Ed and Virginia Kirwin, a loving Irish family in Columbus Ohio. They raised Bela, a 19-year-old Hungarian refugee, as if he was their own child. He affectionately called them his American parents.
Once he settled into his new surroundings, Bela continued to discover his passion for technology and engineering. He attended college and obtained engineering degrees from Ohio State University, Case Western and MIT. He then took a position with NASA during the early days of space exploration and began working on the Gemini and Apollo missions.
His career continued in the private sector where he focused on integrated circuitry, manufacturing automation and manufactured diamond film.
Bela’s passion and enthusiasm for technology earned him over 20 individual patents in the aerospace, communications and computer technology fields.
Bela met his wife Agatha Milfay, another Hungarian refugee, before moving from Ohio to Massachusetts where they raised their 3 children Michael, Thomas and Suzanne.
Bela also had a passion for sailing. As he approached retirement, he moved to Rhode Island, purchased a sailboat and joined the Bristol Yacht club. As a member of the club he quickly made friends and participated on the Board. He could often be seen tending the bar and telling stories of his worldly adventures. His personality and charm always seemed to draw attention.
Bela will be missed by many and is survived by his brother Stephen and wife Zsuzsa, brother Leslie and wife Cheri; his children Michael, Thomas and wife Debra, and Suzanne; his grandchildren Kyle, Kristen, Alex, Katie and Leah; his nieces Ildiko and Karla.
A celebration of Bela’s life will be held on Monday June 10 at 5:00 pm at the Bristol yacht club, 101 Poppasquash Rd Bristol, RI 02809, USA. All who knew him are welcome to attend.