Emery Szalai

August 29, 1926 ~ May 24, 2020 (age 93)


Emery "Jim" Szalai, 93, of Allegheny Township, passed away Sunday, May 24, 2020, due to natural causes. He was born Aug. 29, 1926, in Springdale, to the late Joseph and Julia (Banyai) Szalai. He was married to his beloved wife of 59 years, Janet Szalai. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by three sisters, Margaret Mamros, Liz Madeja and Sue Szalai. He was a member of Puckety Presbyterian Church, Lower Burrell. He was a World War II Veteran of General Patton's Army. He landed in France May 8, 1945 (VE Day), the German Army knew he was on his way. He was assigned to the 84th Infantry Division Band where he performed in Berlin and Switzerland. He performed with many artists, namely Jack Benny, Ingrid Bergman and many more in the USO shows. After the war, he attended Penn State and graduated in 1953 in their School of Architecture. He worked for the HJ. Heinz Company as well as Kaufmann's in their architecture departments. He helped in the building of Falling Waters in Mill Run. In 1956, he started Desmone & Szalai Architects with John Desmone. He was known for his knowledge, honesty and professionalism in his field. He represented many local and Pittsburgh school districts as well as a number of residential/commercial projects in the AK Valley. He opened his own firm, Emery Szalai Architects in Harmarville until his retirement. He enjoyed fishing in Alaska, Canada and at the Cheswick Camp in Potter County. He loved his family, friends, good food and drink. Besides his wife, survivors include daughters, Sharon Szalai, of Virginia, Diane Szalai, of Wisconsin, and a son, Craig Szalai, of New York. He is also survived by two nieces and two nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salvation Army. Services will be private for his immediate family and burial will be in Deer Creek Cemetery. Arrangements are handled through THE CHARLES B. JARVIE SPRINGDALE FUNERAL HOME INC., 801 Pittsburgh St. Please visit our page to sign his guestbook or leave a condolence at

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Private Interment

Deer Creek Cemetery
Harmar Twp.
Cheswick, PA 115024

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