William John Arvay (11-29-10) services 12-4-10



William John Arvay

Mr. Arvay, of Columbia, S.C., died Monday, Nov. 29. He was born April 21, 1921, in Szirmabesenyo, a small town near Miskolc, Hungary.

He was the son of Janos Arvai and Maria Csontos Arvai. The family immigrated to the United States in 1929 and settled in Pittsburgh, Pa. Mr. Arvay attended Duquesne High School. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a navigator on a B-17 during WWII.

He married the former Cora Cornelia Ann Prince of Savannah, Tenn., on Aug. 11, 1945, in Hondo, Texas. Their marriage would last 58 years, until parted by her death in 2003.

After the war, Mr. Arvay earned a Bachelor’s degree in business and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He worked as a financial executive in the corporate headquarters of both U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh and Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Va., as well as corporations in New York City and Omaha, Neb.

In 1967 Mr. and Mrs. Arvay moved their family to Columbia, S.C., in 1967 to start their own business, U.S. Aluminum and Steel Highway Products Corporation, which manufactures aluminum pipe and water control devices for customers throughout the eastern United States. Their best known single project to Columbia residents would be the giant fire hydrant sculpture in downtown Columbia. Mr. Arvay continued to be active as president of the corporation until his death.

Mr. Arvay was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife, Cornelia, his brother, Paul S. Arvay, and his sister, Alice Arvay Molnar.

He is survived by his three children, Nancy J. Arvay, William Arvay Jr., and Gerald Arvay, all of Columbia; five grandchildren, Allison, Catherine, Robyn, Jeremy and Erika Arvay; sisters-in-law, Marguerite Laden of Savannah, Tenn., Willie Mae Forester of McKenzie, Tenn., and Elizabeth Prince of Chattanooga; brothers-in-law, Jeemes Prince of Ankara, Turkey, and Billy "Brother Billy" of Savannah, Tenn.; and four nieces and ten nephews.

Funeral mass was held 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church with burial in St. Peter’s cemetery. Rosary was recited at 6 p.m. Friday with visitation following until 8 p.m. at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.