Welcome to the memorial page for

Irene M. (Ban) Horvath

June 10, 1932 ~ December 15, 2017 (age 85)

Born in Sopron, Hungary to Janos Ban & Ilonka Szabo, Irene passed away Friday at Hospice House following complications of a stroke suffered October 30.

Vibrant, elegant to the nines with dresses she often made, and adaptable to whatever fate dished out, she emigrated to the United States as Irene Ban following the October 1956 Hungarian Revolution that was overthrown by the Russian Communist government. She had worked and stayed in Austria prior to arriving in the United States with her mother, brother Bela and nephew Ferenc. Her sister Amalia would soon follow.

In Europe, Irene worked part time as a model, and upon her arrival in America was referred to by co-workers and others as “Lizzie” because of her resemblance to famous actress Elizabeth Taylor. A talented seamstress with a passion for knitting and crocheting — making hundreds of baby blankets and other items for family and friends — she began working at Enro Shirt Company in South Bend three days after her arrival, and later at Gilbert’s and Milady Shop. In 1971 she opted to work at the University of Notre Dame’s Oak Room Cafeteria, located one mile from her home, and in the same building where her immigrant husband, Louis Somogyi, also was employed.

Working at Notre Dame from 1971-86, where she would often bike to work, was a labor of love to her. In her 16 years at the school, she became a favorite of University professors, top administrators, coaches and many football and basketball players who would dine there frequently and ask for her specifically to prepare their food or milk shakes because of the little extra portions she would give.

In 1987 she retired from the University and married another 1956 immigrant, Peter Horvath of Niles, Michigan. They shared 25 years of marriage before his death on May 6, 2012. They traveled extensively throughout the world, including return trips to Hungary, and enjoyed a fulfilling, joyous life together. After her husband’s passing, she moved into The Waterford in Mishawaka, where she was blessed with the company of many new friends and the staff who welcomed her warmly.

A wonderful cook who always enjoyed hosting get-togethers with family and friends, she checked all the boxes when it came to love, laughter and living and giving of herself to the fullest.  

Preceding her in death were her parents and brothers Erno, Arpad, Bela and Sandor.

She is survived by son Lou Somogyi Jr. of Granger, Ind., — whose graduation from Notre Dame was her proudest moment — and his fiancée Amalia, with her son Michael and daughters Jennifer and Kimberly; sister Amalia and her son Ernest P. Galos (Nancy); stepdaughter Theresa Harrison (Gregory) and their children Gabriella (Curt), Christopher and Amelia (Chris); nephews Bela and Laszlo and nieces Valerie and Marie of South Bend; plus nieces, nephews and cousins, both in the United States and Hungary.   

Through the years she was a parishioner at both Our Lady of Hungary and St. Joseph’s Catholic South Bend. She had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with The Grotto at Notre Dame her favorite spot on the campus.

Visitation will be at Zahoran Funeral Home, 1826 Kemble Avenue, South Bend on Monday, Dec. 18 from 4-6 p.m. Funeral services will be at Zahoran on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. with entombment at Highland Cemetery thereafter. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Our Lady of Hungary Church or Hospice House.  To leave an online condolence visit our website www.zahoran.com or our facebook page, Zahoran Funeral Home.

Charitable donations may be made to:

Our Lady of Hungary Church
731 W. Calvert Street, South Bend IN 46613

The Center for Hospice
111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend IN 46635

 Service Information

December 18, 2017

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Zahoran Funeral Home
1826 S. Kemble Ave
South Bend, IN 46613

Funeral Service
December 19, 2017

10:00 AM
Zahoran Funeral Home
1826 S. Kemble Ave
South Bend, IN 46613

December 19, 2017

11:00 AM
Highland Cemetery
2257 Portage
South Bend, IN 46616

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