Paul Andrew FABRY, a leading international business executive and a founding father of the World Trade Centers Association, passed away in his home in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 8, 2018, at age 99.
The Hungarian-born ex-diplomat and war correspondent originated the idea of a network for global trade in 1968 which became the World Trade Centers Association. The prototype for the centers was the New Orleans-based International House where Fabry served from 1962 as managing director for 23 years. As a co-founder of the Association, still operating in over 100 cities, Fabry served as its first vice-chairman, secretary-treasurer and director until the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in New York on 9/11/2001, but remained its director emeritus.
Born in Budapest on June 19, 1919, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his father, Dr. Andrew Fabry, served as a Hungarian military judge and Supreme Court Justice. With his mother, Ilona Gombos, schooled in Germany as a painter, they were declared “enemies” of Hungary’s Stalinist regime and were deported to the Russian border where his father died in 1950. Fabry received a doctorate degree in law at the Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Budapest in 1942. A reserve officer in the Hungarian army, he reached the rank of captain.
After serving as a military correspondent during World War II on the Eastern Front, he joined the anti-Nazi Resistance in 1944 with Polish and Hungarian officers under a “nom de guerre”. Many within the resistance were executed by the German Gestapo.
During the Holocaust, Fabry worked with Swiss diplomats to assist the half-million Jews and others persecuted in Nazi-occupied Budapest. He received high decorations from Hungarian and Polish governments and Jewish groups.
In 1945, he became chief of the Prime Minister’s cabinet in postwar Hungary’s democratic government and was appointed as Hungary’s envoy to Turkey in 1946. Fabry resigned his post in Ankara in 1947, refusing to return to Budapest as an elected member of parliament under Soviet domination.
Remaining in Istanbul as refugees with his first wife, Gabriella Hidy, he worked as a journalist and a Cold War operative for British Intelligence. Meanwhile, the family’s extensive properties in Hungary were confiscated and Fabry was sentenced for treason in absentia. Returning to communist Hungary was unthinkable. Speaking five languages, the couple moved to the United States in 1949 where Fabry found work as a night-laborer.
In New York, he was named head of the Hungarian section for President Eisenhower’s Committee for Free Europe and an editor for Radio Free Europe in 1951. Moving to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1954, he was a Public Relations Advisor for the DuPont Company’s international expansion, and where he met and married his second wife, Louise Hitchcock Fair.
In 1962, the Board of Directors of International House, then the leading civic group in New Orleans, headed by Dr Alton Ochsner, invited Fabry to reorganize the institution with 3,000 members as its CEO. After broadening its world-wide scope, it became the first World Trade Center which was later joined by the local International Trade Mart. During the following three decades, he led over 100 trade missions worldwide and moderated a world affairs public television series for WYES in New Orleans. He wrote many news articles on trade and travel that appeared in newspapers and magazines in several languages in the USA and Europe. As well, he was interviewed and cited in many books and popular news sources such as the New Orleans Times Picayune and the New York Times.
Inspired by the American Pulitzer awards, Fabry founded the Hungarian Pulitzer Prizes to promote free press in that country in 1989. Hungary’s President and the Prime Minister awarded him their highest decorations for contributions during and after WWII. He was knighted by the King of Belgium following his decade-long service as the Honorary Consul of Belgium in New Orleans. He was given recognition as an honorary citizen in two dozen other cities worldwide.
He lived in his French Quarter house in New Orleans with his fourth and surviving wife, Elizabeth Adams Fabry. In addition, survivors include his two daughters, Lydia Fabry and Alexa Fabry Knight; stepson, Dr. David Rutledge; two grandchildren, Natalie Fabry Ballard and Thomas Fabry Mazorol; three step-grandchildren, Sara Knight McCahon, Alexa and Andrew Rutledge; one great-grandchild, Logan Fabry Ballard; and three step-great-grandchildren Deacon, Canaan and Isla McCahon.
There will be a private memorial service.
The family’s wish is that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution be made to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at: www.lpomusic.com - or by mail to: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, 2533 Columbus Street, Suite 202, New Orleans, LA 70119. JACOB SCHOEN & SON in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be expressed at www.schoenfh.com