A Livestream of the Wake Service on Friday at 5:00pm may be viewed by clicking HERE at that time.
The Funeral Mass will be Livestreamed on Saturday beginning at 10:30am and can be viewed at that time or anytime after since the mass will be recorded and saved by clicking HERE and then scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the Facebook icon.
Thomas R. Hilberth, of Clifton, New Jersey, passed away on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at the age of 82. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Thomas was the son of Bela Hilberth and Irene Schubert Hilberth. After the war, the family was separated for nine years due to the iron curtain, but were finally reunited in 1957 in New York. Coincidentally, the day of his passing, March 15, is a national holiday in Hungary dedicated to freedom.
Thomas graduated from Westtown School in Pennsylvania, Fordham University, and Seton Hall Law School. It was during law school that Thomas met his wife Joanne Bacsenko. They happily married in 1968 and went on to raise their three children, Kurt, Alexandra, and Nicole. They enjoyed family life together, including traveling, skiing, attending Cosmos’ soccer matches, playing tennis, enjoying fireside meals at home, listening to a range of music from opera and classical to Broadway shows to Willie and Bruce. Spending time with friends and family was one of his favorite pastimes. Thomas was an active, passionate man with the most optimistic mindset. One of his famous mottos was “the time you waste, you never get back.” He exhibited his zeal for life each and every day and worked tirelessly and always had the most positive presence.
Thomas was a recognized attorney in Clifton and tax preparer for over 50 years. His intellect and sharp mind made him a successful attorney but he is also remembered for his caring disposition and charitable ways. He gave tremendous time and attention to each person he came in contact with and truly enjoyed helping people. Throughout his life, his native Hungarian culture was important to him and he consistently devoted his time to the Hungarian community to preserve their traditions. He was the Chairman of the Piarist Ball in New York City. The dual purpose of the Ball is to preserve a beautiful tradition of formally presenting a young lady into society as a debutante and, of course, to support the Piarist Schools. These superb schools continue to provide excellent quality education, free of charge to poor and deserving children. His work led to Thomas receiving two highly distinguished awards.
In 1993, Thomas was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. “The Ellis Island Honors Society heralds the importance of immigration to America’s prosperity and celebrates the contributions immigrants and their progeny have made to our nation.”
In 2021, Thomas was awarded the Hungarian Gold Cross of Merit, which is the highest, most prestigious award in Hungary. It is similar to the Congressional Medal of Honor in the United States, but only awarded to civilians. Generally, it is presented by the President of Hungary, but in this case, President Orban was unable to travel to the United States at that time so it was awarded by the Consulate General of Hungary personally.
Thomas is survived by his wife, Joanne, and their children, Kurt Stephen Hilberth, Alexandra Hilberth, and Nicole Rodrigues and spouses Janeth Hilberth and Alexander Rodrigues; grandchildren, Cora Rose Dvorovy, Katalin Hilberth, Savannah Hilberth, Maya Rodrigues, Grayson Thomas Howington, Dylan Rodrigues, Kyle Rodrigues; and Tom’s only surviving brother, Kamill Hilberth.
Thomas cherished his family, demonstrating with his love a true example of family unity and devotion. His care extended beyond his family as well. Those whose lives he has touched will always treasure the constant kindness and attention he so willingly and tenderly provided throughout his life.
The wake will be held from 2:00 to 7:00 pm at Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home in Clifton, New Jersey on Friday, March 18, 2022. Funeral Mass is on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 10:30 at St. Stephen Magyar Church in Passaic, 223 3rd Street. Please meet directly at church. Burial following at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery, 53 Inman Avenue, Colonia, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Piarist Alumni Association (www.piaristballny.org) or St. Stephen’s Church in Passaic, New Jersey. Additionally, donations can be sent to Angels of Animals, Clifton, NJ (www.angelsofanimals.org).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas R. Hilberth, please visit our floral store.