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DesTombe MariaDES TOMBE, Maria  -  Maria des Tombe used to say, with a wry smile, "Life happened to me."

By this, she meant the war, followed by the siege of Budapest and the Russian army's abduction of her husband.

Then the Communists nationalized her family home. But that was just one of the many colorful chapters of her long interesting life, most of which she authored herself.

She lived on three continents, learned three languages fluently, married and separated from three men – all by age 50. And she was only half done.

Born Maria Racz into a wealthy, literary family in Budapest, she was the youngest of three daughters and characteristically rebellious.

Petite with striking green/blue eyes, "Puci" accepted the proposal of a man twice her age, Istvan Szigethy, and they were married when she was still a teenager. They spent only enough time together to have a daughter before the Russians sent her husband to a gulag in Siberia.

At a recent Christmas dinner, when asked what she was grateful for, she raised her glass and pronounced "freedom." She was ready to die and believed her spirit would join the universe's energy. Throughout her final days, she was surrounded by family and love.

She is survived by her daughter Anna Porter, step-daughter Ines des Tombe, son-in-law Julian Porter, granddaughters Catherine and Julia Porter, step- granddaughters Jessica and Sue Porter, grandsons-in-law Graeme Burt and Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze, and great-grandchildren Lyla, Noah, Ava and Violet - all of whom loved to clamber up onto her cottage bed to play games with her.

Her family will be hosting a small private ceremony, in keeping with her wishes.

If you'd like to honor her, please help a dog in need, by donating to the Toronto Humane Society in her name.