Martha B. Gheorghiu, 82, refugee, accounting clerk

August 21, 2004

Martha B. Gheorghiu, a Romanian refugee who after immigrating to the United States worked as an accounting and payroll clerk, died of a heart attack Aug. 14 at her Bel Air home. She was 82.

Mrs. Gheorghiu was born and raised Martha Basel in the Banat Region of Romania, which had once been a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She earned an undergraduate degree in Budapest, Hungary, and entered a medical school in Vienna that closed with the advent of World War II.

In 1946, she married Paul L. Gheorghiu, a Romanian military attache. After the Communist takeover of Romania, they fled in 1947 to Austria.

As political refugees, they lived in Germany, Spain and France before coming to the United States in 1956. They lived in Orlando, Fla., for 10 years before moving to Bel Air in 1987.

Mrs. Gheorghiu, who was fluent in Hungarian, Romanian, French, German, Spanish and English, had worked for several years as an accounting and payroll clerk.

She enjoyed reading and gardening.

"She also liked listening to the Saturday broadcasts on radio of the Metropolitan Opera," said her daughter, Dr. Frances Gheorghiu, a physician who lives in Phoenix.

Mrs. Gheorghiu's husband, a retired biomedical engineer, died Aug. 2.

Plans for a memorial Mass were incomplete yesterday.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Gheorghiu is survived by three grandchildren.

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