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Thomas S. Rona
December 31, 2023
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Thomas S. Rona, a longtime resident of Newton, passed away on December 31, 2023 at Miriam Boyd Parlin Hospice Residence in Wayland. Thomas is survived by his daughter Christine of Dedham and her husband James, his son Michael of New York City and his wife Caroline, as well as his grandchildren Jennifer, Nicole and Eric Alban, and Thomas Rona. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Maria and by his brother Paul Rona of Sewickley, PA.
Born in Budapest, Hungary on April 26, 1925, Thomas lived through World War II, during part of which he was imprisoned in a forced labor camp in Budapest. Following the war and during the occupation of Hungary by the Soviet Union, he received his degree in Structural Engineering from the school currently known as Budapest University of Technology and Economics. In 1956, at the age of 31, he immigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his brother following the Hungarian Revolution and then, in 1959, moved to Boston, MA where he married Maria in October of that year.
Thomas was a highly accomplished and respected structural engineer in Boston for over 35 years, first as an associate at the world-famous LeMessurier firm and then as the owner of his own firm, Rona Engineering, on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. The many buildings and structures in the greater Boston area for which Thomas or his firm performed the structural engineering design include the Star Market Overpass in Newton, the Government Center Garage, Nike Boston on Newbury Street, the Hungarian Monument in Liberty Square, the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, and high schools in Lowell, Tyngsborough and Middleborough, MA.
Thomas was an avid, expert skier all his life, from hiking up the hills outside of Budapest as a boy and young man to countless days at Waterville Valley, NH, near which the family had a second home, to trips to Colorado and Utah.
He also was an accomplished tennis player, first in his youth on the clay courts of Siófok, Hungary, where his family spent summers, to a weekly doubles game for many years at The Mount Auburn Club in Watertown, MA.
He greatly enjoyed listening to classical music, and he and Maria were long-standing patrons of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was an expert on World War II, reading dozens of books over the years on the subject. He loved to travel with Maria and friends, in the United States, throughout Europe, on safari in Africa and to Argentina and Chile. He and Maria enjoyed many special times and great parties with their friends, most of whom were Hungarian immigrants like themselves.
His outstanding sense of humor, which his children remember fondly from their earliest years, regularly filled the family's house with laughter and brought his friends to tears.
He loved their house on Commonwealth Avenue, where he and Maria lived for almost 50 years, and where they raised their family, entertained friends, ate delicious Hungarian meals prepared by Maria and where no day was complete without an espresso and a dry martini.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to thestrokefoundation.org.