Dr. Thomas Széll

Obituary of Dr. Thomas R. Széll

Dr. Thomas R. Széll, 94, died Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, 18 days after suffering a stroke. Thomas was born in Herény, Hungary, on May 29, 1926, the son of Elemér and Márta (Németh) Széll. He holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest, and a PhD in Chemistry from the József Attila University of Szeged. He worked as a chemical engineer and a Chemistry professor at József Attila University of Szeged in Hungary, and from 1970, until his retirement, he taught Chemistry and served as the Head of Science Department at the United Nations International School in New York City. He was a member of the Hungarian and New York Academies of Sciences and of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Széll was also a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. A devoted Catholic, Thomas was a member of the Fairfax Council # 10830 of the Knights of Columbus. Thomas married Klára Molnár in Budapest, Hungary, on August 28, 1952. After their retirement in 1989, they moved to Essex, Vermont, to be near their daughter, Agnes and her husband, Michael Hibbs, and their young children and joyously participated in their care from babies to young adulthood. He deeply cherished and loved his family on both sides of the ocean. He had a singularly strong connection and love for his twin, Kálmán, who is equally accomplished and is now deeply mourning his brother’s death. He is survived by his wife, Klára, herself a retired Chemist, his daughters Timea Széll, and Agnes Hibbs, and their spouses, Judith Weisenfeld, and Michael Hibbs, his twin brother, Dr. Kálmán Széll and his wife, Mária Széll, his sister, Annamária Széll, and nephew and niece, Kalman and Annamária and their children. He is also survived by his grandchildren (from Agnes), Thomas, Julia (and spouse, Shane Collins), Peter (and spouse, John Cruisce), and John, and his great-grandchildren, Keith and Oliver Collins. Dr. Thomas Széll was a wonderfully gifted and active scholar and educator, widely loved by scores of friends, students and colleagues. A true Renaissance man, he spoke multiple languages, travelled the whole wide world, wrote and translated poetry, played several musical instruments by ear, was an accomplished watercolor painter, loved small children and many companion animals. He was learned, kind and very funny. Thomas was truly larger than life. We are all grateful for the kind and professional care by the staff of UVM's MICU and McClure 4 and the humane and deeply comforting McClure Miller Respite House. We also wanted to thank Steve Minor for his kindness and tact and warmth. We all miss him wrenchingly, but we give thanks to God and are profoundly grateful for all Thomas gave us and for his adventurous and wonderful life. For those who wish, online condolences may be made to www.minorfh.com
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