Laszlo Torma

Obituary of Laszlo Torma

Laszlo, nickname Laci, passed away January 18, 2023.  Laci was born in Polgar, Hungary to Laszlo and Ilona Torma on June 22, 1935.  He was the oldest of two siblings.  Growing up in Hungary during WWII and with different political regimes resulted in a unique and challenging childhood. Much of his childhood was spent away from his family playing soccer for the national teenage soccer team.   


In October 1956, at the age of 21, while attending University, he and thousands of Hungarians gathered in defiance of the new communist government demanding freedom from Soviet oppression.  The fight lasted until November when the communist party regained control, forcing him and other freedom fighters to flee Hungary. Laci fled to Austria leaving behind his parents, sister, and many relatives.  Once in Austria he was provided transportation to New York City and eventually was offered the opportunity to attend Colorado College. While in school, his fraternity brothers tried to help him learn English, but it was difficult for him.  He decided to take a break from his studies and took a job at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs to expand his knowledge of English.  At The Broadmoor he worked as the personal waiter for Charles L Tutt, Jr., owner of The Broadmoor, until he graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Analytical Chemistry.  He was considered a valued employee. 


After graduation from College, Laci was hired by Montana State University, and this began a 35 year career at the Analytical Laboratory on the Montana State University Campus.  After a period as the Analytical Chemist, he was appointed Laboratory Bureau Chief.  As Bureau Chief, the lab grew and became recognized as one of the finest in the country.  The Laboratory was recognized for its leadership and groundbreaking programs such as Pesticide Quality Assurance and Control Program, and development or improvement of analytical methods for pesticide residue analysis.  Laci held many seminars which brought scientists from across the world to Bozeman for training.  Laci received many awards during his 35 years, both nationally and from the state of Montana.  At retirement he was honored with an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Montana State University.


After retirement Laci worked part time for Pickering Laboratories. This job allowed him and his wife Sondra to travel the world for work, visiting many countries and having great adventures. It was also a time where he and Sondra were able to travel back to Hungary allowing him to reconnect with his sister and remaining family.  


While living in Bozeman, Laci helped found the AYSO soccer program.  He spent his winters taking his children to Bridger Bowl skiing.  He made sure they were on the best skis available by working an extra job at the Beaver Pond.  Laci shared his passion for the outdoors with his children and grandchildren through hiking, photography, fishing, hunting, camping and his favorite sport, skiing. He remained an avid outdoorsman and a big Bobcat fan.  If you sat near him in the bleachers, you could not miss his booming Hungarian-English voice.


Laszlo became a naturalized citizen on August 24, 1962.  He had much love for this country and the opportunities he was provided from the time he arrived with nothing but the clothes on his back.


Laszlo is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sondra Torma; sister, Boglarka Kiss of Budapest Hungary; children: Christopher Torma of Boise, ID, Cynthia (Donald) Murray of Boise, ID, Peter Torma of Boise, ID; step-children: Renee (Todd) Horat of Culver, OR, Franklin (Amy) Frazer of Fallbrook, CA;  grandchildren: Zachary Zent, Makenzi Zent, Karmen Horat, Jake Horat, TJ Bunnell, Nick Bunnell, Logal Fraizer.


A special thank you to St. Luke’s Hospice for providing love and compassion to Laci and his family during his last days. 


A celebration of life will be held at a later date.  Donations in memory of Laszlo Torma can be made to the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights in Boise, ID.


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