Jesuit Father Márton (Martin) A. Hegyi died on Jan. 17, 2014, at the Jesuit infirmary, Murray-Weigel Hall, in the Bronx, N.Y. Age 81, he was born in Hungary on Oct. 15, 1932. He entered the Society of Jesus on March 1, 1952, and was a Jesuit for 61 years and a priest for 50 years.
As a member of the Hungarian Province, his course of studies took him to study philosophy in Rome and theology at St. Ignatius College in Guelph, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1963, and then began graduate studies in science, receiving his bachelor’s and master’s in zoology from Oxford University. He completed his studies for the doctorate in biology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1973. His research centered on molecular biology, more particularly on Holopedium, a zooplankton found in the Great Lakes.
He arrived at Fordham University in 1967 and began a long and distinguished career as a teacher and advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Fr. Hegyi once described his challenge as that of “bridging the tension between science and religion,” as he engaged in debates in the field of bioethics.
In 1996, on the occasion of receiving an award for excellence in teaching, Jesuit Father Joseph McShane, then dean of the College, praised Fr. Hegyi with these words: “as a consummate educator and a gifted mentor, he has introduced countless Fordham pre-meds to the mysteries of general biology and . . . has tirelessly labored to help them prepare their applications to medical school. A gentleman, a scholar and a model priest, he has been a grace for all who have had the honor to know him and to work with him.”
He was a friendly and admired member of the Jesuit Community at Fordham. In 2007, as Associate Professor Emeritus of Biology, he received the Bene Merenti Award for his 40 years of outstanding service at Fordham University. In 2009, due to failing health, he moved to the Jesuit infirmary on the Fordham campus to begin his new mission of prayer for the church and the Society.