Alan Robert Horvath (1952-2010)

Alan Robert Horvath by Kathy Horvath



Alex Leo Horvath and Dorothy Grace Kleinschmidt (Alan’s parents) were born in Cleveland.  Alex’s mother, Anne came to this country with her mother shortly after the turn of the 20th century, entering through Ellis Island.  Alex’s father, Alexander Horvath, a contractor, was already here and well-established.  Anne was 16 when she and Alexander married; they had four children – 2 boys and 2 girls.  Anne divorced Alexander in the late 1930s, but he did keep in contact with the family until his death from cancer in the 1940s - before Alan was born.  Anne married Martin Lansky in the early 1950s.  Tharough a stroke, Marty became an invalid and died several years later.  Alan recounts that he was treated with kindness by the Lansky’s and Marty would show Alan his sports magazines, when they visited.  Grandma Lansky worked her entire life until she retired.  For a time she rented out one or two of the spare bedrooms upstairs, mostly to friends of family.  When it became too much for her, she stopped.

Dorothy’s parents, Julius and Amelia Kleinschmidt, emigrated from the area formerly known as Prussia and had 9 children, Dorothy being the 7th child.  The youngest son died as a child when he was struck down by an ice truck.   Dorothy’s sister Clara had 3 girls, all of whom sadly passed away from Cystic fibrosis.  Dorothy’s father also died before Alan was born.


Alex met Dorothy through his sister Molly, since Molly and Dorothy were friends.  After his parents’ divorce, and as a child of the depression, Alex quit school.  He had many jobs, including the H.N. White Co., which produced King Band Instruments.  They were married in 1943 while Alex was home on leave from the Merchant Marines.  He wasn’t discharged from the service until the end of the war in 1945.  After WWII, he returned to his job at H.N. White Co.  He held many positions over 20 years:  polisher, cabinet maker, etc. and finally maintenance.  The family moved to Parma in the summer of 1956, where Alex took a job with Parma Community General Hospital in the maintenance department as a supervisor.  

Dorothy worked outside of the home from the time Alan and Linda were small.  Alex would come home from work - and she would go off to work at the Standard Oil Company (SOHIO) as a keypunch operator.  She continued working part-time after their move to Parma.  When Alan and Linda were in grade school, Dorothy went to work full time and Linda and Alan were latch-key kids, letting themselves into the house after school.  She stayed home in summers and Grandma Kleinschmidt babysat on school holidays.  Eventually, Dorothy started working year round.  She worked for several different companies over the years, the last one being the East Ohio Gas Co.

In September 1984, Alex and Dorothy retired and moved to Cambria, California where they built a house.  Alex joined the fishing club.  Dorothy participated in the gardening club.  They enjoyed the sunshine and cool temperatures of the coastal community.  Dorothy passed away in 2007.  Alex is living in Cambria close by to Alan’s sister Linda.

(My thanks to Linda Horvath for Information in this section.)

Childhood through High School

Alan was born at 3:17 p.m. Saturday Nov. 8, 1952 at Saint Alexis Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, the younger brother of his sister Linda.  They lived in Cleveland until Alan was 3-1/2, and then moved to Parma, a suburb on Cleveland’s Westside.  Some of the aunts and uncles in the Cleveland area gathered for birthdays and holidays.  Alan maintained a life-long connection with his aunt Elsie.  She and her husband Carl treated Alan and Linda as children they never had and would take them on outings to Euclid Beach Park, an amusement park.  He was fond of his Davy Crockett fur hat. 

His dad took Alan to Indian’s games in the 60s.  Alan’s favorite running back would be Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns maintaining that Jim Brown’s records were important since they were based on a shorter playing season, before the season was extended.  Later while in the Bay Area, Alan’s favorite quarterback was Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49er.

At age 11, he wrote an anniversary song for his parents’ 20th anniversary.

“Happy Anniversary, the big day is here.  Happy anniversary, let’s give em both a cheer.  It’s been 20 years since they decided that they’d go tie the knot and go get wed, and now they’re happy like everyone should.”

Alan did his church confirmation homework watching late night television personality Ghoulardi.

Besides playing neighborhood football and baseball games, at 15 years, he was a player/manager of the Parma Mustangs which led to their winning the Parma Division 1 baseball championship.  Alan rode his bicycle to school and, in high school, joined the wrestling team and earned money cleaning the gymnasium floors.  He and Mike Puflea left home while in high school without telling their parents, drove to Florida, stayed a week and returned home.

As I recall, Alan told me he would have chosen art as a profession, but was encouraged to pursue another career choice.   Alan considered architecture during his first year at Ohio University in 1970 but in 1971 chose a major in journalism.  He spoke fondly of how beautiful the campus was in Athens.  During summers, Alan worked at Parma General Hospital as part of the cleaning crew.  Eventually, he was assigned to clean up after surgeries.  At the time, there was no concept of safely disposing of medical waste.  Waste was put in trash bags, people were poked with syringes, but that was acceptable for the day.

At college, one of his roommates was Chuck Dutkiewicz who was majoring in photography.   In 1973, Woodland Farm Press published Alan’s first book  An “Almost Man” with Alan’s poems and Chuck’s photographs (of Alan and another friend).  Alan travelled with a friend to Washington DC to participate in a protest march against the Vietnam War.  Approaching 1st quarter finals of his 4th year, with enough credits to graduate, Alan decided to leave school and made arrangements with his teachers to finish his classes early.  Alan graduated “cum laude” with a degree in journalism. After graduation, he returned to Cleveland.

Next Section: Work, Poetry and Music

Back to main page