South Plainfield, NJ – Louis Takacs Sr. passed away peacefully at his home on May 1, 2020. Born in Csákberény, Hungary to the late István and Eszter (Bokodi) Takacs, his early life in Hungary was spent earning his certification as a locomotive engineer and serving in the Hungarian Army. Louis fought against the Soviet Union in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He was shot several times, wounded and was captured. While being transported as a prisoner, Louis daringly escaped and fled to Austria where he was granted asylum by the United States. He was brought to Camp Kilmer in Piscataway, NJ as a refugee and upon his arrival, Louis was sponsored by the Kinkead family of Poughkeepsie, NY and worked at their Maple Grove Estate. Louis always spoke of how well the Kinkead family treated him and how they encouraged him to live the American Dream. That advice is something he carried with him throughout his life.
Following his time at the Kinkead Estate, Louis’s first step towards living the American Dream was to enlist in the United States Army to serve the country that welcomed him with open arms. As a US Infantry Solider, he served in the 20th Infantry Regiment in Fort Sherman, Canal Zone- Panama earning the rank of Specialist Four (E4). While at Fort Sherman, Louis attended the United States Army Jungle Warfare Training Center and was awarded the Jungle Expert Badge. Nicknamed “Green Hell”, the Jungle Warfare School put soldiers through some of the toughest, most grueling training the Army had to offer. Louis also earned the Army “Expert” Marksman Badge which is the highest grade a soldier can earn above Marksman and Sharpshooter. Remarkably, he earned this highest honor for four different weapons- Rifle, Pistol, M-1 Garand and the M-14. Louis also earned the Good Conduct Medal and was honorably discharged in May 1960. He continued to serve in the Army Reserves until 1964, proudly becoming a United States Citizen in July 1962.
Louis continued his pursuit, working hard by day and getting educated at night learning everything he could about his chosen trade and profession. For the next 10+ years, he continuously advanced himself by attending as many classes and schools as possible, earning his GED and attending Union County Technical Institute, General Technical Institute in Linden, Essex County Vocational Schools and International Correspondence Schools of Scranton, PA, earning certifications in over 15 different trade disciplines and advanced mathematics. One of his proudest moments was graduating first in his class from Lincoln Technical Institute with highest honors. Louis went on to form Standard Punch & Die Corporation, a tool and die manufacturing company based initially out of Chatham, NJ and later in Middlesex, NJ, where he served as its President for over 25 years.
While his professional accomplishments were remarkable, he was most proud of his beloved wife, Christel of 54 years, and the life and family they built together. Louis and Christel were married in 1965 and after residing for a short time in Irvington, NJ, they settled in South Plainfield.
Louis was a true gentleman and exuded chivalry. He had an unmistakable laugh that would fill the room. He was an avid chess player, enjoyed fishing, loved to rebuild computers and always looked forward to the World Cup. But most of all, he enjoyed spending time with Christel, family and his four grandchildren. Louis was a true inspiration for pursuing the American Dream.
Louis was preceded in death by his wife Christel on December 21, 2019, and together they leave behind their loving and dedicated family; two children, Christine Thompson and her husband Col. (R) Travis Thompson of Fort Benning, GA and Louis Jr. and his wife Laura of Monroe, NJ, four grandchildren, Ashley Thompson and Ryan, Matthew and Shannon Takacs, his sister, Eszter Barlabás, many nieces and nephews in Hungary and Germany, and all of his extended family whom he loved dearly and always considered to be family of his own.
Due to COVID restrictions, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Mausoleum entombment will be at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. In lieu of flowers, donations made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in honor of his beloved wife, Christel Takacs, would be appreciated.