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Agnes Vadas

Agnes Vadas

Agnes Vadas, founder, as well as longtime group coordinator, of the Friday Harbor Group 607 (Friday Harbor is part of the San Juan Islands, a cluster of islands off the coast of NW Washington). Agnes passed Sunday, June 3, 2007 after a long sparkling life.

She was born and raised in Budapest where she survived the holocaust in a Budapest ghetto and remained in Hungary throughout German occupation, escaping as the Soviet regime started to become stiflingly repressive. She escaped Hungary in 1956, walking across Europe to the liberated west.

Having been something of a child prodigy, she was a violinist from early childhood on. By the time she left Hungary she was rather well known. She'd been a State Soloist, concertized in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, and received several international prizes.

From 1956 to 1962 she lived in Paris. From 1962 to 1966 she resided in Germany. Came to the United States in 1966 and taught at the Universities of Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Ithaca New York. (Also played as a soloist in those states.) In 1980 Agnes joined the San Francisco Opera orchestra from where she retired in 1993.

Not only was Agnes an accomplished violinist, but she was also an author, writing about her childhood and harrowing flight across Europe to escape the communist revolution, and in later years publishing her letter correspondence with Ohio death row inmate, Richard Neilds.

Those of us who know and love Agnes will remember her humor, spunky nature and will most certainly never forget her unflappable dedication to human rights.

Our thoughts are with her family, friends and the Friday Harbor Group 607, as well as others whose lives Agnes touched. What an amazing life. We are deeply saddened by her passing, and humbled by all that she was able to accomplish.

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