Janos Enyedi’s fraternal and maternal grandparents emigrated from Hungary through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s.
Janos’ grandfather, Andras Enyedi, in 1907 was recruited as a miner, to the coal fields of West Virginia. In 1909, his wife, Esther joined him in Pagetown, WVA with their two year old daughter. Before emigrating, Esther had sold 3/4’s of an acre of land in Transylvania, now part of Romania. She purchased a boarding-house and in 1910 bought Andras out of the company store. Janos’ father Jula Gyorgy was born there in 1910. Leavi infant twin sons who had died in the 1918 influenza epidemic buried in West Virginia, the family moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey. Andras joined a large community of Hungarian immigrants working on the Hungarian-speaking shift at Johnson & Johnson. To the best of our knowledge, Pagetown, WVA does not exist today. Andras Enyedi died of Black Lung disease in 1945.
Janos’ father, (Gyorgy) George met Irene Daruka in 1929. Her father had emigrated from Hungary, landing in New Brunswick in 1909 at the age of 22. Irene’s mother emigrated in 1910, alone at the age of 18. George studied at the Rutgers Theological Seminary and became a minister in the Hungarian Reform Church. Later as a Presbyterian minister and Navy Chaplin, he served as a Reserve Officer during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Janos’ mother Irene Daruka Enyedi went to Hope College. She became a social worker. The opportunity and hard work of Janos’ grandparents epitomized the quest for the American dream, a better life for their children and grandchildren.
George Enyedi died in 1988 of Alzheimer’s disease and was buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery, interred with Irene Enyedi who had pre-deceased George in 1978.
Janos’ parents never visited Hungary. In 1994 Janos and Diana traveled to Hungary on the first of several visits to discover his heritage through the eyes of his peers–the contemporary artists of Hungary.