LAUSANNE, Switz., Jan. 16, 2021—The FIE is saddened to learn of the passing of Chaba M. Pallaghy of Milford, Pennsylvania, USA at 88 years of age. Mr. Pallaghy is a member of the FIE Hall of Fame and served as an FIE Executive Committee member from 1981 to 1992, and as FIE vice president from 1993 to 1996. He was also president of the FIE Refereeing Commission from 1992 to 1996 and an international “A”-rated referee in three weapons.
A native of Hungary, Mr. Pallaghy emigrated to the United States in 1957, becoming one of the top sabre fencers in the country. At the 1963 Pan American Games, he won the bronze medal in men’s sabre and was a member of the gold-winning U.S. men’s sabre team. After retiring from competition due to an injury, he refereed and served on the directoire technique at multiple Olympic Games from 1972 to 1996. He was vice president of the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA, which is now USA Fencing) from 1972 to 1976.
Mr. Pallaghy worked tirelessly to develop referees around the world, helping to provide opportunities for them at national and international competitions. In particular, his dedicated and significant efforts were instrumental in promoting and increasing the number of women as referees at international events. Over several generations there have been numerous accounts of Mr. Pallaghy inspiring and mentoring fencing athletes, coaches, referees and administrators. In 2003, Mr. Pallaghy was recognized for his achievements by USA Fencing with the Jack Baker Award for Service to USA Fencing.
“Chaba was a great mentor to me and to all referees coming up in the organization”, said Peter Burchard, USA Fencing President. “His service to the FIE and USA Fencing set benchmarks for us all to aspire to. He was a giant in American and in international fencing. He will be sorely missed.”
Former USA Fencing President and FIE Vice President Donald Anthony said of Mr. Pallaghy, “Chaba was my father in the world of fencing. He is the main reason that my involvement in fencing continued over the many years … His presence was so important in the growth of USA Fencing and his impact laid the foundation for where USA Fencing is today”.
On behalf of our world fencing family, the FIE extends its deepest condolences to Mr. Pallaghy’s family and friends, as well as USA Fencing and the Pan American Fencing Confederation during this difficult time.