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Zoltan A. Bokeny


Zoltan Albert Bokeny (aka Al Bokeny), 85, passed away on Friday, August 12, 2022.

Zoltan was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Dunn Bokeny; his sister, Maria Haasz; and his cousin, Elek Torok.

Zoltan is survived by his daughter, Ellen Bokeny Hollmann and husband, Robert; stepson, Dana Mathews of Hickory, NC; sister, Magdy Racz of Budapest Hungary: his nieces, Brigitta Racz of Budapest, Hungary and Hilda Haasz of Victoria, Australia; and his nephews, Zoltan and Steven Haasz of Victoria, Australia.

Zoltan was born on October 30th, 1936, in Hatvan, Hungary to the late Albert and Maria (Blazsek) Bokeny.  He was born on his grandparents' farm where he spent every holiday and summer with his grandfather learning blacksmithing.  He was the 2nd child born of 4 with 3 surviving into adulthood.

He had a tough childhood growing up during WWII in Budapest.  His father passed away when he was 10 years old from a lack of fever reducing medicine.  As a teen he participated in competitive longboat rowing.  When he became an adult, he lived in the boat houses along the Danube where they stored the boats.  The team tried out for the 1956 Olympics but did not meet the qualifications.

During the Hungarian Revolution at the end of 1956, Zoltan decided he wanted a better life and freedom from the oppressive and murderous rule of Stalin and the USSR. He and his sister, Maria, dodged machine gun fire to cross the border into Austria before making his way to a US Military base asking for asylum. His sister and her fiancé decided to go to Australia and settled in Victoria.

Zoltan served Honorably in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He was a Machinist and became the Army Rifle Team’s gunsmith.  He and the team were stationed in Germany and participated in numerous competitions. After the Army transferred him to Fort Bragg, he was discharged from the service where he and his cousin, Elek, settled in. Zoltan helped Elek open Carolina Machine, and he was a part of designing the Black & Decker plant before its opening in 1967.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Engineering at NC State in 1970, Zoltan became a Mechanical Engineer and Tool & Die designer for the Black & Decker plant. He became well sought-after for his expertise in creating machines, figuring out how to make existing ones more efficient and or become functional once again. He traveled the country to other B&D plants and outsourced to other manufacturers. He retired from B&D in 2004 before the plant was closed in 2005. He was active in reunions and monthly meetups.

He married his late wife, Nan, in 1979 during a family reunion in Ponca City, OK. Together they traveled to the beach often throughout the years staying in a family camper. They loved gardening, growing their own vegetables and created an English style garden at their home. He often bought plastic Pink Flamingos and planted them around the garden to play jokes on Nan. The colorful yard art became a feature of their love and his daughter always gifted one to them every time she found a new one.

Zoltan was a brilliant computer whiz, starting during the initial phases of the computing era, designing, and building multiple computers and always used OS2 software. He was a part of the local BBC club in Fayetteville and would travel monthly to IBM in Raleigh for computer user meetings. He, his wife and daughter often traveled with him to annual OS2-Warp also known as WarpStock conventions. An avid fan of classical music he always listened to WCPE the Classical Station on the radio and donated to the station during every fund drive. His favorite composers were Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart. His other loves were Ava Gardener, Rosemary Cloony, Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor, Carmen Miranda, Rebecca Romijn, The Merry Widow and Carmen, Agatha Christy mysteries, Midsommer Murders, The Librarians, Wearhouse 13, NCIS and most importantly Galaxy Quest.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1 PM through 5 PM on Sunday, October 30th at the Bokeny Family home at 2125 Rolling Hill Rd. Fayetteville, NC 28304. He loved the colorful happiness at his wife's Celebration of Life and asked that everyone wear happy colors, Hawaiian shirts or bring a plastic Pink Flamingo.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to WCPE the Classical Station in Zoltan’s name at theclassicalstation.org or PO Box 828 Wake Forest, NC 27588

obituary, Zoltan A. Bokeny