Obituaries


Susan Sendy
Susan Sendy, 82, of West Hartford, and formerly of Clearwater, FL, died at home, surrounded by family and friends on Sunday (May 27, 2007). Susan was born Zsuzsanna Germella on August 2, 1924, in Budapest, Hungary to the late Istvan (Steven) and Rose Germella. In 1940, at just 16 years of age, she married 32-year-old Endre Szende (Andrew Sendy). It was love at first sight; he was beguiled by her dark, mysterious, knowing eyes and she by his dashing, cosmopolitan ways. She was the daughter of the owners of a gold refining company and several important properties; he was a poor watchmaker. By 1941, persons with Jewish blood were forbidden all rights and all property was confiscated. At age 17, pregnant, half Catholic and half Jewish, Susan and her mother went into hiding at the home of Andrew Sendy's former Christian girlfriend (Arunka). Andrew Sendy, who spoke seven languages (and only had a second grade education) disguised as a Serb, took his watch making tools and skills with him to the German labor camp, where he survived by repairing watches for the Nazis. Susan gave birth to her first daughter, Marika Szende (Mary Sendy), in the basement of the home where she was hidden. At night Susan washed the baby's diapers in the snow careful not to alert the Nazis; and with virtually no food, they survived trips taken by train and through a dense forest to find Andrew at the labor camp to bring him cigarettes (rolled by her on the train ride) and scraps of food for which she had traded pieces of gold. They were reunited. When Andrew jumped from a moving train headed for Dachau, he rolled into a deep ravine, slowly and painstakingly he dug his way out with the help of his last possession a spoon. When the Nazis left Hungary, Susan and Andrew were able to recover silver and gold jewelry that they had secreted in the ground and in bars of soap and, of course, a second set of watchmaker tools. Financially, they thrived, with Russians buying everything in the store; in turn, Susan and Andrew were able to trade watch repair work for food. In 1947 their second daughter Katalina Ersébet Szende (Kathrine Elizabeth Sendy) arrived. Susan, frightened by the Russian Tanks and artillery, launched her plan to come to America, first and foremost, she had to convince Andrew that they must leave Budapest. For one year Andrew spoke "not one word" to Susan because she wanted to leave Budapest. Then, they united and initiated a carefully orchestrated plan involving a distant cousin in Bronx, NY (Zolton Owen) who had a sister who was married to a wealthy oil magnate (Felix Carpio). Passports were purchased with the gold from a jewel-encrusted dagger. The diamonds, rubies, and emeralds were given to an Italian courier. The courier was to meet the Sendys in Austria. With the help of angels, the courier found the Sendy family in a Jewish relocation camp. The passports (stating their religion to be Roman Catholic) were written and included a week lay-over in America. In 1949, 25-year-old Susan, with her husband and two children, traveled by steerage to Ellis Island and never returned to the boat, overstaying their visas becoming illegal aliens. It wasn't until 1959, that the Sendys, via a special bill signed by the President, were awarded citizenship. The Sendy family, while living in the Bronx, scrimped and saved; sold plastic flowers door-to-door; assembled watches on Sundays, during the week and evenings; Susan was a salesclerk at Alexander's; Andrew repaired watches at Black, Star and Gorham. They were on a quest, even Andrew's diagnosis of "leukemia" did not stop "the plan". Once again, Susan and Andrew, opened a store, "Swiss Watch Hospital" in Jamaica, NY. They were, once again, "in business". Susan nursed and cared for Andrew while running the store. She even had a part-time job as a sales clerk until the business was doing well. Susan with a heart of gold and warm, infectious smile transformed customers into friends and friends into family. Andrew's great skills as a master watchmaker and jeweler made the business a success. Kathrine and Mary were often seen helping customers in "the store" that was merely seven feet wide and ten feet long. In 1972, Susan and Andrew retired to Clearwater, FL. Susan continued to nurse her beloved Andrew, until he finally succumbed to cancer in 1980. Susan continued to live in Florida enjoying friendships, painting, needlepoint and playing bridge. She made frequent trips to Connecticut, making it her second residence. Susan's caring, kindness and love of others exuded in all that she did. Susan Sendy was a powerful scion; the matriarch; a force to be reckoned with; a fierce and tenacious protector of her family; a woman who ruled with love and always, always strived forward. Susan was often heard telling her daughters, "There is nothing, absolutely nothing that you cannot do". She is survived by her daughters and sons-in law Attorneys Kathrine Sendy and Bruce Rubenstein of West Hartford, Mary and Dr. Barry Weiss of Crystal Beach, FL; her grandchildren LeelaRose Romano of Haiku, HI, Attorney Aaron Romano and Attorney Cynthia Fernandez-Romano of Bloomfield, Dr. Jeremy and Anne Weiss of Portland, OR; and her great-grandchildren R. Eliana Romano of Bloomfield, and Talia and Emerson Weiss of Portland, OR. She was predeceased by her husband, Andrew, her sister Claire, and her brother Josef who died in the holocaust. Services will be held Thursday, May 31, at 10 a.m. at Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Avenue, Hartford. Burial will take place in Florida. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UCONN Children's cancer fund.

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