Laszlo George Ory was born in Budapest, one of two sons of Laci and Maria Ory. He was a product of the country and times in which he lived – Hungary between the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression.
Laszlo’s Catholic faith was nurtured by Hungary’s affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church. As a primary school student he was an altar server in the Royal Chapel of Buda Castle. As a secondary school student Laszlo developed an open minded view to learning and absorbed literature, politics and history and was an avid sportsman.
He was further educated at the Hungarian Military Academy in Budapest. In 1944, at 20 years of age, he volunteered his service to his country. Over the period of four years he witnessed the devastating effect of the war in Europe, and he learnt of the siege of Budapest in 1945. He became part of the huge wave of refugees that swept across Europe.
Laszlo’s refugee status took him to Coburg, West Germany, where he commenced reading Law. It was also the home of his future wife, Charlotte. Political intervention meant Laszlo could not return to Communist Hungary and therefore sought to emigrate.
In 1949 he arrived in Australia making his home in Adelaide. He financed Charlotte’s fare to Australia by living in a tent and working at Hamilton Winery. The couple were married in St Laurence’s Church, North Adelaide, and eventually had a family of eight children.
The greatest tragedy Laszlo and Charlotte endured was the heartache of losing two of their sons, Nicky aged four years to leukaemia and Mark in an accident at the age of 23. The couple nurtured friendships that would last their entire lives; they were respected members of the community.
On a foundation of hard work Laszlo’s building business grew and he provided employment and support for many immigrant workers.
Ory Builders was linked with numerous Church restoration projects, such as the Scots Church, the Holy Trinity, St Ignatius Church, Norwood, and St Aloysius Church at Sevenhill. Laszlo was a firm believer in “giving back” and contributed to many charitable organisations and offered support to the Sisters of St Joseph, Christian Brothers and Jesuit Fathers to name a few.
Laszlo had a strong affiliation with the Jesuit faith and was a part of the congregation both at Norwood and later in life at Athelstone. In the last few years of his life he attended the Hungarian Church at College Park.
In 2009 Laszlo was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the Hungarian community and to a range of charitable organisations. In 1989 he was inducted into the Order of Malta.
Laszlo was a devoted family man and maintained a strong and loving connection to his family in Budapest, Hungary. He was married for nearly 70 years and maintained a devotion to Charlotte after her passing in 2018.
He was in a nursing home when he died in April. Sadly, as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions his six children were not granted access in the last 12 days of his life.
To quote Laszlo: ‘The gift which helped me through a difficult life was my faith in God.’Jump to next article