Zoltan “Zoli” Papp, 89, longtime resident of Norwich, passed away after a brief battle against cancer on Sunday, April 1, 2018, at Norwich Rehabilitation & Nursing Center with his beloved partner by his side.
Zoli was born on June 12, 1928, in Budapest, Hungary. After completing high school, he worked for a time in the railway business, primarily as a train conductor. He also served in the Hungarian military. After the Communist takeover of Hungary, and after being threatened with his life by those in the new regime, Zoli escaped to Austria in 1957 by hanging underneath a railway engine until it crossed the Austrian-Hungarian border. Shortly thereafter, he emigrated to the United States and settled in Norwich where his brother was residing. The day after settling in Norwich, Zoli began to work in the printing business. He would continue to work in print shops in Norwich, Syracuse, and, finally, in Rochester, until his retirement in 1993.
In 1962, through mutual friends, Zoli would meet his beloved partner in life, Rose Zaia, who survives. For 56 years, they would enjoy their lives together. Zoli and Rose would visit Zoli’s family in Hungary almost annually, and in retirement would travel extensively throughout Europe. Each summer, the two would also travel to LeMoyne College where they would attend a Hungarian Mass and visit with fellow residents of Hungarian descent. Zoli loved to tend to his vegetable garden, work on his car, and cook. In retirement, he also would help drive those in need to local appointments.
In addition to Rose, Zoli is survived by several nieces and nephews in both the U.S. and Hungary. He was predeceased by all of his siblings.
A memorial service for Zoli will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at the Wilson Funeral Home, where Rev. Donna Steckline, pastor, Christ Church of Gilbertsville, will officiate. Burial will take place at Zoli’s family’s plot in Budapest, Hungary, at the convenience of the family.