Mr. Csaba Csipke

csaba-csipke

Quick Facts

Born: 09/19/1937  Bolyok, N. Hungary
Died: 10/22/2003, Buena Park, California
Spouse: Mrs. Emoke Hargittay
Number of children: 2

In Hungary
Education: High School, Miskolc
Occupation: Student
Active role in the revolution: YES

A few months after Csaba graduated from high school, the 1956 Revolution broke out. He joined workers and students to form the revolutionary patrol in Miskolc, an action that resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest, so he decided to leave Hungary with a couple of his close friends.

In United States of America
Arrival: 1957, New York
Education:
UCLA, BS in Zoology-Bacteriology
USC,  Clinical Biochemistry
Occupation: Biochemist
Workplace:  USC Norris Cancer Center, California

Awards: After graduating he joined Hyland Laboratories in 1961 in the Tissue Culture lab which became the world’s largest tissue culture commercial laboratory. Csaba helped develop a number of new reagents in the laboratory, and participated in studies for the National Cancer Institute, the US Naval Biological Laboratory and UC Berkeley to name a few.


Csaba was born into a middle class family, the youngest and only boy of three children. He was still a small boy when the family moved to Miskolc where he later attended high school. During his high school years he not only achieved good grades, but he also excelled in athletics, receiving several medals and national recognition in short distance running. Csaba was an avid skier and became the local champion in running and downhill racing.
His curiosity towards many things was well known, and he learned to repair cars and drive the pick-up trucks that he worked on, even though at the time owning a car in Hungary was out of reach for all but a few. Csaba formed a band and played music on the weekends in youth clubs, an experience that later helped him earn a living while attending university in America. After graduating from high school in 1956, his hopes of attending medical school were not realized.
A few months after Csaba graduated from high school, the 1956 Revolution broke out. He joined workers and students to form the revolutionary patrol in Miskolc, an action that resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest, so he decided to leave Hungary with a couple of his close friends.
Csaba arrived to the United States in 1957 with many of his compatriots and was welcomed at the University of Vermont, where he majored in chemistry. Later on he decided to move to California with his friends and transferred to UCLA, where he received his B.S. in Zoology-Bacteriology.
During his university days he made a living through tutoring, playing a piano in night clubs and working in a mortuary at night. After graduating he joined Hyland Laboratories in 1961 in the Tissue Culture lab which became the world’s largest tissue culture commercial laboratory. Csaba helped develop a number of new reagents in the laboratory, and participated in studies for the National Cancer Institute, the US Naval Biological Laboratory and UC Berkeley to name a few.
At night he studied clinical biochemistry at the University of Southern California’s Medical School.
In 1972 Csaba and a friend founded Biocell Laboratories, a biomedical company specializing in human and animal plasma fractions and sera products. He married in 1973 and sadly realized that a start-up laboratory did not provide enough for a family, so he joined the Cell Culture Core Facility in the USC Cancer Center in June 1975, where he remained until the end of his life. Over the years he remained very close to Biocell as a consultant, helping out in developing new products and processes as well as training the staff.
His remarkable technical versatility was appreciated by all his colleagues at the USC Norris Cancer Center as well, from repairing broken laboratory equipment to design solutions and cell culture problems as well as operating the most complex Bioreactor.
In his private life his hobbies included photography, coin and stamp collecting, and he loved working on his house and in his yard. Csaba was a loving father to his daughter Emese and son Zoltán, and was very proud of their school achievements. He was a leader in the Hungarian Scouts organization, and organized several scout camps, not only for the Californian troops, but also youth from Canada and even the East Coast. He and his wife Emőke, also a scout leader, worked tirelessly with the many scouts in the area, dedicating much of their time to passing on not only the language, but also Hungarian traditions, history, geography and folk songs. Their house always welcomed young and old, and on many an occasion one could find young people staying over in sleeping bags which covered the floors.
A few days before he passed away, Csaba received a certificate of appreciation from the Hungarian Scout leadership in Budapest which pleased him more than any honorary PhD degree would.
Csaba’s dream of returning to Hungary after retirement was not realized, for his life was cut short at the age of 66. He and his wife planned to retire in Hungary once his children flew out of the nest. His daughter Emese received her PhD in clinical psychology in the United Kingdom and decided to stay in London as a researcher, while his son Zoltan majored in European history and wrote his doctoral dissertation about the 1956 Revolution and memory in post-communist Hungary. Since both decided to live in Europe, Emese in London, Zoltan currently in Budapest, Csaba’s wife Emőke also made the move to Budapest in 2008.
Csaba’s ashes were returned to Hungary and interred in the family plot in Miskolc with his family and many of his high school friends in attendance.

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