|Birth: ||Jun. 25, 1903|
|Death: ||Jul. 23, 2000|
Sandor Teszler dies at 97
By Linda Conley
Published: Monday, July 24, 2000 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 24, 2000 at 12:00 a.m.
Sandor Teszler, who left his native Hungary to escape communism and became one of Spartanburg's most successful textile industrialist and humanitarians, died Sunday. He was 97.
Teszler was chairman of Olympia Industries when he retired from the textile industry in 1979. His family became prominent among the community's textile manufacturers. But in the later years of his life, Teszler spent most of his time working in the community and spending time at Wofford College. In 1997, he was appointed adjunct professor at Wofford. He was often seen sitting in classrooms with students discussing his life experiences of surviving the Holocaust and listening to professors lecture on a variety of subjects. "When I was teaching a class on 20th Century European History, he said I was teaching about his life," said Ross Bayard, retired history professor. "He would add enrichment to the classes by giving students first-hand knowledge of what life was like." Teszler was born in Budapest and emigrated to the United States in 1948. He had launched a successful hosiery manufacturing business with his brother prior to World War II, but the factories and his home were confiscated after the war. During the Nazi occupation of his homeland, Teszler carried a bag of cyanide around his neck in case he was sent to a death camp. His family was the only Jewish Holocaust survivors from the town of Cakovec. After the Nazi persecution, Teszler decided he wanted his children to grow up in a democracy without the fears he encountered. "Sandor Teszler was one of the most gentle and generous people I have ever known," said Joe Lesesne, former president of Wofford College. "His life story is truly a profile in courage, and the college loved him." In 1987, Wofford awarded Teszler an honorary degree in humanities. Students and professors referred to him as a walking history book because of his life experiences. And Teszler enjoyed being around the students and professors. He made financial and cultural contributions to the college. In 1971, the college's new $1.5 million library was named in his honor. His son, Andrew, was serving on the college's Board of Trustees at the time and was also active with the college. Tragedy struck several months later, when Andrew died from a heart attack at the age of 40. But his father continued his support of the college. In 1972, he arranged an exhibit of Hungarian paintings at the college and later donated a collection of his own paintings. "The college has lost a very dear friend," said Dan Maultsby, Wofford vice president and dean. "He taught both faculty and students. He was considered a grandfather to some of the students." Teszler's impact also was felt in other areas, because he was among the first to integrate workers in his factories. In 1962, he opened a factory near Kings Mountain where black and white workers had to use the same bathrooms and water fountains. "He (Teszler) told me that some white workers had objected," Bayard said. "But he knew what it was like to be a minority. He was an incredible man." In addition to his work with the college, Teszler was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce and a trustee of the Charles Lea Center.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by J.F. Floyd Mortuary.
Linda Conley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 582-4511, Ext. 7215.
Lidia Teszler (1904 - 1981)*
Greenlawn Memorial Gardens
South Carolina, USA
Plot: Mausoleum Complex
Created by: David ~ Effie
Record added: Feb 05, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 84537457