17 February, 1927 – 16 March, 2020
Margaret Ludmilla (Englisch) Érfalvi Nemes was born on February 17, 1927 in Nova, Hungary, the third of four children of Ferenc (Englisch) Érfalvi and Margit Vukán. She died peacefully at age 93 on March 16, 2020 in Toronto. She is predeceased by her parents, her brother Frank Érfalvi and her older sister Zita Nagy. She leaves behind her younger sister, Erika Balogh.
She is lovingly remembered by her seven children: Margaret Kuilman (Kees), Les Nemes (Eileen), Bea Nemes, Aggie Nemes, Ed Nemes (Jackie), Andy Nemes (Marcy) and Patty Doraty (Larry), twelve grandchildren: Lisa Kuilman-Bolla (Dan), Teresa Seroke (Joe), Jason Kuilman (Michelle), Daniel Nemes (Courtney), Jessica Thomas (Spencer), Kristin Nemes, Adam Nemes, Sophia Greene, Spencer Doraty, Rachel Nemes, Eric Greene, and Evan Nemes, and eight great grandchildren: Colin, Maggie and Casey Bolla, Gianna and Mina Seroke, Jackson and Anna Kuilman and Benjamin Nemes.
Margaret’s teenage years were during World War II. She was forced to dig ditches after the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944. To help her family, she tutored in exchange for basic farm food. She graduated Teacher’s College in Köszeg in 1946 and married Dr László Nemes shortly thereafter. To support her two young children after her husband left Hungary in 1948, Margaret taught middle school and completed her Masters. After the war, she was part of rebuilding the decimated education system and became a principal and the Student Director of a Teacher’s College in Veszprém where she was the Head of the Psychology Department.
After the Revolution, she left Hungary and emigrated to Canada on April 7, 1958 to rejoin her husband. The condition of her leaving Hungary was that she had to leave everything behind--renounce her citizenship, property, pensions, and inheritances. Most heartbreaking of all, she had to leave her very close-knit, supportive family, not knowing if she would ever see them again. With the one small suitcase that she was allowed, two young children and not speaking any English, she bravely arrived to create a new life in Canada. Between 1959 and 1965, they welcomed five more children into their family.
By September of 1964, she began her teaching career at the Metropolitan Separate School Board (now Toronto Catholic School Board) in a Grade 1 class of 42 children at St Ann School. Over her 27-year career, Margaret taught Special Education, Grade 7 & 8 and the Gifted Program at St Gabriel, St Antoine Daniel, Regina Mundi, St Cyril and Blessed Trinity. As a single parent, she worked tirelessly to support her family. In addition to her day job, she worked as an ESL teacher at Night School and a principal at Summer School. She also tutored a wide range of students and helped adults pass English Language certification in their profession. She even offered Hungarian lessons for adults. Margaret was an incredibly versatile teacher who touched many lives. Her students respected and admired her; many kept in touch long aftertheir time in her classroom. We, her children, are so very proud of her achievements and thankful for her many sacrifices.
After retirement in 1991, Margaret had the opportunity to travel extensively in Canada, the US and Europe. Always up for an adventure, she loved exploring beaches, mountains and big cities. Spending extended periods of time in Hungary, she was able to re-connect with her siblings and became a favourite aunt to their children.
Margaret was very proud of her family and particularly loved celebrating milestones and special occasions. Her grandchildren always had a fun tour guide in Toronto. She took them everywhere, sharing her love of the arts (concerts, plays and museums) and exploring the sights of Toronto.
She was a representative of a bygone era: writing notes to family with beautiful penmanship, including nuggets of wisdom or admonitions carefully enclosed in loving messages. She kept her place immaculately clean and exquisitely decorated. She was the ultimate host. Always very elegantly dressed, Margaret was a fabulous cook, a passionate gardener and an accomplished craftperson, enjoying sewing, knitting, crocheting and needlepoint. She was also an eloquent speaker. An eclectic reader, Margaret enjoyed a variety of genres. Her favourite book was Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Music was her greatest comfort in her last years of life.
In the first part of her life, she was able to be carefree. She had many friends and jumped into new situations with joy and flair. In the second part of her life, she became more careful and kept her distance. But, regardless of the difficulty of the situation, Margaret remained strong-willed, stubborn and optimistic, willing to face challenges head on.
We love you, miss you and will always remember you. Nagyon szeretünk Téged!
**** In lieu of flowers, donations to The Angel Foundation for Learning are gratefully accepted. The foundation supports TCDSB students with nutrition programs, eyeglasses, EpiPens and other needs.
Arrangements to celebrate the life of Margaret Nemes are on hold until all of the out-of-town family are able to travel.
- The Angel Foundation for Learning
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
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March 22, 2020
Dear Les and Aggie,
My deepest sympathies. Your mother was a truly remarkable person and a consummate educator. I am sure she was also very proud of your accomplishments.
Dr Steven Cusimano
March 21, 2020
My most sincere condolences at this difficult time to Les and Eileen (my grade school teachers at Annunciation) and families. No matter what age we lose a loved one, especially a parent, it is certainly a tough challenge in life. God takes care of us all in different ways and despite her loss today, she will not be forgotten in the so many lives she touched in her personal and professional lives. She is now guiding you all from a special place. May the peace and healing power of our Lord give you all the strength to accept your terrible loss and be stronger in all your days together with all the great memories of her in your lives. God Bless the Nemes family.
March 21, 2020
Our condolences to Nemes family.
There are no words that can ever take away the loss of a mother. May her love for life and education continue to live on in you all.
May the Light of the Holy Spirit give you comfort, strength and courage to move forward and remember all those special moments in your hearts.
The Cusimano family.
March 21, 2020
Dear Nemes Family,
Mrs. Nemes was my gifted teacher at St. Cyril's in the 1985-86 school year. I was transferred to her class in Gr. 8 as I had serious clashes with the other teacher. Despite my "bad" reputation, Mrs. Nemes and I got along like a house on fire. She was such a kind and generous teacher. I especially loved a field trip she took our class on, where we explored downtown Toronto. It was my first introduction to the Path and to the office building that had real gold in the windows. I have always remembered her so fondly! Such a lovely person! I hope happy memories of her will be a comfort to all her loved ones.
March 19, 2020
Dear Aggie and The Nemes Family,
I am so sorry to hear about your mom. She was an incredible woman and educator, who lived an incredible and inspiring life. I had the good fortune to work with her when she was Principal and I was a teenaged teaching assistant at St. Leonard’s summer school. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with and learn from her. Marg and all of you are in my thoughts and prayers.