Dr. Alexander Havadtoy (1924 – 2019)
Born in Kovászna, Transylvania, grandson and son of Protestant preachers, he passed away unexpectedly on October 7th, five weeks before his 95th birthday.
He studied at the Mikó Székely Reformed College in Sepsiszentgyörgy, followed by the Theological Faculty of the Hungarian Reformed Church at Kolozsvár, Transylvania, where he obtained his degree summa cum laude in 1948. He was granted a scholarship by the World Council of Churches to the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he obtained his Doctorate in Theology in 1951, under the direction of the world-famous theology professor Karl Barth. It was Barth who had suggested the topic for his thesis: The philosophy of Marx dealing with the problem of property and work.
He emigrated to Canada in 1952, where he led the Hungarian Presbyterian Church, first in London-Mt. Bridges, then in Windsor, ONT. It was there that he met his wife, Magdalene, daughter of Hungarian immigrants. After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he helped 200 families to settle in Canada. In 1960, he was invited to serve at Calvin United Church of Christ in Fairfield, CT where he was minister for 33 years, serving both the Hungarian-speaking and the English-speaking congregation.
From 1967 until 1992, Rev. Havadtoy had a regular program on Radio Free Europe, which had an audience of a million behind the Iron Curtain, including József Cardinal Mindszenty who personally thanked him for it during his visit to the US in 1974.
A keen observer of affairs in his native Transylvania, Dr. Havadtoy frequently testified before Congress on human rights issues. For several years he was also Editor of a periodical titled Carpathian Observer. In 2001, he received the prestigious Julianus human rights award from the Hungarian government for his tireless support of Hungarians living outside Hungary.
Rev. Havadtoy also served as supervisor of theological students at Yale University for 25 years and was guest lecturer at the Yale History Department.
A graveside burial was held on October 15th at Oaklawn Cemetery in Fairfield. The Rev. Tibor Király officiated.
Dr. Havadtoy is mourned by Magdalene, his wife of 65 years, his daughters Sandra and Leila, and grandchildren Luke and Sasha.
Donations may be made in his name to the Székely Mikó Collegium scholarship fund through the Funeral Home of Lesko and Polke in Fairfield, CT.