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Post WAISers: Steve Torok, RIP (John Torok, US)
Created by John Eipper on 07/29/09 12:14 PM - waisers-steve-torok-rip-john-torok-us

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WAISers: Steve Torok, RIP (John Torok, US) (John Eipper, USA, 07/29/09 12:14 pm)

JE: I have received this very sad note from WAISer John Torok, son of one of our most beloved WAISers, Steve Torok: I regret to inform WAISdom that WAISer Dr. Steven J. Torok (Dr. Török Istvan Gyula) died peacefully in a Budapest hospital early Thursday evening, July 23, 2009. He was 71 years old. A participant in the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, he arrived in the U.S. as a refugee in 1957, securing an undergraduate degree from the University of Montana, and graduate degrees from the Stanford and Columbia universities. He also studied philosophy in Kyoto as a Paderewski Foundation Scholar. At Stanford he worked on the Stanford Linear Accelerator and taught physics. While at the Columbia Business School he worked as a programmer for IBM, and he ultimately secured the Ph.D. in international economics. Thereafter he was employed by Shell International in London, Tokyo, Malaysia and Brunei; and concluded his career at the U.N.'s regional HQ in Bangkok, Thailand, as an energy economist for the Asia/Pacific region. He served briefly as a civilian employee of the U.S. military in Northern Italy teaching in an overseas graduate business administration program, and he taught a course in the History of Economic Thought at the Sophia University in Tokyo. He was in the U.N. mission to Cambodia supervising the first democratic election after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. After retirement he wrote a novel and started an international negotiations consultancy. He is survived by his sister Ilona; an ex-wife Sachiko; wife Sanguansri; three children, Estee, Juli and John; and four grandchildren, Oliver, Ben, Matthew, and Emily. JE comments: I have no words to express my sadness at the passing of Steve Torok, whose worldly wisdom, kindness and diplomatic charm graced the pages of WAIS nearly every day. Steve's stories of Hungary in the pre-1956 period, his adventures in the US "Wild West" during his university days, his experiences as an oilman in many nations of Asia--these are the stuff of WAIS legend. WAISers were aware of Steve's recent battle with melanoma, which he courageously shared with us on a number of occasions, but I was certain that his positive attitude and love of life would carry him through this battle. Just yesterday I listed Steve among the presenters at the WAIS '09 conference; it wasn't a fortnight ago that Steve and I exchanged e-mails concerning his conference presentation. Steve was our favorite WAIS humorist, our resident expert on the UN, and the most reliable peacemaker of our eclectic organization. Many recall Steve's victory in last year's WAIS Oil Pricing contest. Most of all, Steve was a friend to us all: I first met him and his wife Sandy at WAIS '06, where we were neighbors in adjoining Stanford dorms. We met by chance, at the check-in at the housing office, and spent a total of several hours talking during the three-day event. Steve struck me as a wonderful and wise human being--fluent in more languages than I can count, and an optimist to the core. I will greatly miss my friend. My thoughts and prayers go to Steve's family--in particular to his wife Sandy and his son John, both WAISers, through whom we'll continue to honor Steve's memory on these pages. I attach my favorite photo of Steve, as a university student with his Vespa scooter facing the Pacific Ocean after an overlong voyage (from Montana) on an underpowered vehicle. Now Steve is facing an even longer journey--Godspeed and God bless. -- For information about the World Association of International Studies (WAIS), and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its homepage by simply double-clicking on: http://wais.stanford.edu/ John Eipper, Editor-in-Chief, Adrian College, MI 49221 USA


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