Funeral service will be live-streamed. Please go to http://smclive.ca on Monday March 27th , 2023 at 12:00 p.m.
Steve Kuti was an amazing man. I, his grandson Shane Bromberg-Brodie, will do my best to write a proper obituary for him with the help of my sister, my grandmother, and other members of my family.
Istvan “Steven” Kuti was always proud of his Hungarian Heritage. Why wouldn’t he be? He was born in its capital Budapest in 1930, and lived on the Pest side just 57 years after the city’s unification; and his father had changed the family last name to sound more Hungarian when Steve was only three. He had a happy childhood, raised with a live-in maid by wealthy parents. He was nicknamed Szalonna or “Bacon” by other Hungarian children, then fought for their approval to be accepted as a fellow Hungarian, not just a Jew. The fact he was a soccer prodigy helped with that, as he ended up playing in very famous stadiums in Újpest. He was also a prodigy at language, and could speak Hungarian, German, Yiddish, Italian, and English by the time he died.
He told his grandchildren stories of how he evaded German capture due to his quick wit, his fluent language skills, his ability to easily befriend all, and a large amount of luck. This is a part of his life only he could tell best, and out of respect for him I will keep my summary short. I encourage you to read his memoir on the subject in his own words, which I will post a link to at the bottom.
His life took him out of Budapest, across the Atlantic, to Montreal, where he had the part of his life he cared about the most, his daughter. In his own words “My daughter Vivian was born on September 12, 1963. I cannot describe the feeling [of joy] I had when she was born.” In Canada, he flourished first on the soccer field for 3 years, and then as a cab driver for Co-op Cabs, from 1959 until 2016. While working, he saved up enough money for a vacation and eventually made his way back to Budapest and visited his parents again. In his own words he writes, “The first time I went back to Hungary I went with Agi and my daughter, who was ten months old. She was such a beauty with her red hair that people would turn their faces to look at her. Unbelievably beautiful kid! It was a different world when we went back that time. My mother told me that I spoke Hungarian with an accent!”
Steven Kuti was many things to many people. He was a first husband to Agnes Whitehouse, who he leaves behind. He was also a husband to Judith Kuti, (Judka) with whom he enjoyed many wonderful years and brought together a new large extended family into his sphere. This includes his surviving stepdaughters Dorit and Adina; stepson-in-laws Anton and Michael, and step-grandchildren Adam, Anna, Bella, and Ben. He was a father to Vivian Bromberg, who also sadly passed away recently. He was a grandfather to the surviving Danielle and Shane. Though to be honest, in order to name every single person he was connected to I would need to write a book of my own. He was a connoisseur of all kinds of food, but especially soup, cheese, and chocolate. He was an avid game player, whether it was soccer, chess, or 14-card rummy, and he loved to win. He took pride in his work and his ability to easily befriend people, considering his life great.
My sister wanted to end with this quote: “I have been here in Canada for sixty years and I am very much obliged that they let me in and gave me the possibility to live here, to make a family and to reach this old age. I have many friends. Life has been good to me. I don’t know if it’s mostly luck, but I think to survive it is 98 percent luck and 2 percent intuition.”
I’m not sure this quote alone fully encapsulates the amazing man who peacefully passed away at Baycrest in Toronto on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at 9:30 am, surrounded by friends and family. Thank you to all the friends and family who visited him virtually or in person in his final days, I’m sure my grandfather would tell you how nice it was and the joy it brought if he was still here.
Ultimately, I came to a decision about how to end an obituary to such a great man. You probably have your own quotes, stories, or memories about the amazing man that is Steven Kuti. I encourage you to spend time with your loved ones and share them, to recount the joy he brought us. I declare a toast to Steven Kuti, I hope wherever you are there’s chocolate, jalsberg, several decks of cards and your daughter to play cards with.
You should read his own words about his incredible life story, available at: https://memoirs.azrielifoundation.org/exhibits/sustainingmemories/steve-kuti/