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Maria M. von Jako
  • In lieu of flowers, the von Jako family suggests memorial contributions be made to:)
  • American Heart Assoc.
    300 5th ave.
    Suite 6
    Waltham, MA 02451

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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Maria by adding your memories.


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Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
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Memories & Candles

“My heart is saddened to hear this news. Although our time together in this life was brief, you touched my heart like no other. You will always hold...Read More »
1 of 17 | Posted by: Cynthia Barchard - Malden, MA

“Like that one unique exquisite regal rose that majestically stands out in a garden full of blooms, Maria left an impression of beauty, grace, love...Read More »
2 of 17 | Posted by: Victoria Czverko - Meriden, CT

“Maria has been part of my life, our family's life as long as I can remember. My mother, Vera, and Maria had so many fond memories together, good...Read More »
3 of 17 | Posted by: Susan Csikos - Fort Myers, FL

“Maria was a lovely woman and such a beautiful person.. She loved her family and created a beautiful home.My thoughts and prayers are with you at this...Read More »
4 of 17 | Posted by: Sheila Tighe - Melrose, MA

“So sorry to hear of Maria's death.We had many fun times with her at the Bellevue Pool.She was ever so gracious to bring us into her home and to tell...Read More »
5 of 17 | Posted by: Arlene Zafiropoulo - Melrose, MA

“I will always remember Mari neni with such fond memories. She brightened all our spirits with her wonderful humor. She will be missed. Please accept...Read More »
6 of 17 | Posted by: Zoltan Fagyal - Friend

“Gen and I were saddened to hear of Maria's passing. We will remember her in our prayers.Dr and Mrs. Francis McNamaraGen and Frank ”
7 of 17 | Posted by: Francis McNamara - Rockport, MA

“Now a woman of Blessed Memory, Maria will always be remembered. Never to be forgotten is a better way to put it. A friend for 42 years she was full...Read More »
8 of 17 | Posted by: Harvey Apotheker - Templeton, MA

“We had a wonderful life with Maria at Bellevue Pool. She was always beautiful and full of wisdom. She invited us to her home and cooked Chicken...Read More »
9 of 17 | Posted by: marie deramo - melrose, MA

“I am greatly saddened to hear about Maria's passing. She was a dear friend to my mother and was like a second mother to me. She had a profound impact...Read More »
10 of 17 | Posted by: Gabor Lantos - Toronto

“My condolences ”
11 of 17 | Posted by: Agustí (Gus) Raga - OR

“It is with great sorrow that I write this note on the occasion of Maria's passing. She was a close family friend to my parents and she hosted me...Read More »
12 of 17 | Posted by: Gabor Tigyi - Memphis, TN

“Such a strong and remarkable lady. It is never easy to say goodbye, but the good memories will always be with you. We send our love and sympathies to...Read More »
13 of 17 | Posted by: Anne Gal - Montreal - Family

“Mons are important and special people. I am so sorry for the loss of such a valuable person in your lifeMy thoughts are with you and your family at...Read More »
14 of 17 | Posted by: Clara Costa - BEDFORD, MA

“I am heartbroken about the loss of your Mom . Maria is someone I have looked up to and admired for forty years . I feel blessed to have had her and...Read More »
15 of 17 | Posted by: Joan Nigro - Melrose, MA

“May your memories of the wonderful times you shared with your loved one comfort you and your family, today and always. ”
16 of 17 | Posted by: American Heart Association

“The Gately Family and Staff wish to express our sincere sympathy to you. It is our hope that we may be able to make a difficult time more bearable....Read More »
17 of 17 | Posted by: John W. Gately, John H. Gately & Fred Sprague Gately - MA

Maria Magdalena (Gál) von Jako, longtime resident of Melrose, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully with her loving children at her side, in her favorite place, her home of 51 years, on Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at the age of 87. She was a high-fashion model, an international airline stewardess, and most importantly, a devoted wife, adoring mother, and cherished grandmother.

She was born in Keszthely, Hungary on March 16, 1931, the daughter of Captain and Mrs. András Gál. Her parents owned and ran a successful clothing business with a number of large textile factories in Hungary. The late 1930s and early 1940s were challenging times as she grew up in one of the epicenters of World War II. After the war, Hungary became part of the Communist Bloc, and, as a result, Maria's parents' businesses, wealth, and homes were seized by the Soviet Union and nationalized by the communists.

In the 1950s, with her beauty and determination, Maria had a successful modeling career at the internationally-known Haute Couture Klára Rotschild agency and worked as an airline stewardess for MALÉV Hungarian Airlines. Working for MALÉV gave her the opportunity to travel outside of the former Eastern Bloc. She developed a great love of western culture that included movies and jazz music.

Maria met a young physician, Dr. Geza J. Jako in the mid-1950s. Geza needed to escape Hungary in 1956 due to his involvement in the uprising against the Soviet Union and was granted asylum in the United Sates. They kept in close communication with each other and were finally able to marry in January 1965 in Hamburg, Germany, after Maria was also able to escape from Hungary. After several months of living in Montreal, Canada with her cousin, she was re-united with Geza in Boston after she was able to immigrate into the United States. They resided in Boston for several years before eventually settling in Melrose, Boston Massachusetts in 1967.

Maria worked very closely with Geza while raising their children: Ronald, Cynthia, and Christopher. She was the flux capacitor to his DeLorean as they hosted many social events and international visitors and dignitaries to their house. They also enjoyed spending time with friends and their children at Bellevue Golf Club where they were members for over 25 years. Maria and Geza frequently traveled the world together, and during her time in Hungary she acted as a liaison between the U.S. and Hungarian governments to improve cultural and scientific synergies. One of her proudest accomplishments was when she and Geza helped establish an English-speaking curriculum for medical schools in Hungary in the 1980s, which opened enrollment for students worldwide.

Maria was always very stylish and elegant and frequently greeted people with her Hungarian accented "Darling." However, learning English was not always so easy, and she learned some of her colorful English from the Eddie Murphy movie "Delirious" when it first aired on cable TV in the early 1980's. Coincidentally, many years later, she would meet Eddie in Hungary while he was filming a movie there. Maria was a gregarious networker, had an incredible knack for befriending people, and a unique ability to convince others of the benefits and logic of her ideas. Her culinary gifts were a great source of pride. Feeding her family and friends brought her such joy. Her ultimate weapon was her phenomenal Hungarian-cuisine dishes that always had perfectly proportioned dollops of sour cream.

Following a heart attack in October 2001 and many months of recovery, she renewed her passion for life and loved to be active. Maria's bright green thumb allowed her to tend to both her indoor and outdoor gardens. Her slapstick humor and quick wit was unmatched, and if you understood Hungarian, she was even more hilarious. Out of every activity she enjoyed in life, being the adored "Nagymama" (Mamama) to her three grandsons was no doubt her favorite.

Over the last several weeks, Maria expressed that her work on earth was now complete. The night before her passing, she got "a call" from her beloved Geza for a new endeavor that she would not return from. So, Maria pushed the elevator button to the "second floor." The "second floor" is where she will reunite with family and friends, socialize with a few cocktails, tell jokes and laugh, dance, garden, cook, and listen to Jazz music to her hearts' content.

Maria was the beloved wife of 50 years to the late Dr. Geza J. Jako and leaves behind her three children. Her son Dr. Ronald von Jako, his wife Ava, and their son Christian of Saugus; Her daughter Cynthia von Jako and her husband Carl Taylor of North Reading; and her son Dr. Christopher von Jako, his wife Sheri, and their two children, Nolan and Drew, of Lynnfield. She also leaves behind her cousin, Anne Gál-Carfagnini, from Montreal, Canada, several other of her close friends, and her garden bunnies. Predeceased by her older brother, István Gál, her daughter, Beatrix, and her dachshund, Zsa-Zsa.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary's Church, 9 Herbert Street, Melrose on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 10:15 am. Burial at Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose. There are no visiting hours. Relatives & friends respectfully invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Maria's name to the American Heart Association 300 5th Ave., Waltham, MA 02451 or at