Bela Gaspar Obituary, Death – – Bela “Bill” Gaspar, 103, of Frankfort died in his hilltop house’s favorite room on September 17, 2023. He was born to Bela and Maria Gaspar in Nyiregyhaza, Pest, Hungary, on September 1, 1920. In 1968, she married Ilion Attorney Mary Panarites at Sts. Peter and Paul’s Orthodox Church. They became close via travel, sports, and adventure. They loved climbing, hiking, and downhill skiing. Bill and Mary married for 30 years until Mary’s 1998 death.
Bela arrived in Little Falls as an engineer with aid from the Hungarian Community in North America after fleeing Hungary as a young man. His strict standards helped him succeed as a part-time wedding and portrait photographer at Gaspar Studios for 30 years. He joined Mary in the Herkimer Motel, now Red Roof Inn and Suites, a family partnership. He was an ardent beekeeper, gardener, and member of local civic, hiking, ski, and travel clubs. A smart man, Bela lived well without disease or drugs.
A healthy eater and exerciser, he drove and managed until his vision failed at 100. Bela leaves his sister-in-law, Mrs. Leslie Gaspar, and several nieces and nephews, including his best man, 13-year-old John Brown. Bill, the gentleman, will be missed by his loved ones. 103! – Remember him forever. Bill loved his supportive neighborhood that let him stay home. Bill appreciated everything thanks to Greg and JoAnn Savas, Nancy Cox Marafioti, Tammy Palumbo, and Geraldine Petingill.
The Panarites Sisters Scholarship Fund at Keuka College (141 Central Avenue, Keuka Park, NY 14478) and CABVI (previously the Association for the Blind) at 507 Kent St., Utica, NY 13501 accept memorial donations for Bill. On Thursday, September 21, from 9:00 to 10:15 a.m., family and friends can pay their respects at Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Road, Ilion.
Father Vasil Dubee will lead the funeral on Thursday, beginning with prayer at 10:15 a.m. at the funeral home and continuing at 11:00 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in East Herkimer. Bill will be buried forever in Ilion’s Armory Hill Cemetery.