Gábor Delneky was only 10 when his mother died, and 13 when his father was put into a military labor camp. Left on his own, Delneky turned to sports, and eventually won eight national sabre championships in his native Hungary. He also earned a degree in civil engineering and was the head of the engineering department at Viziterv, a Hungarian engineering firm. In 1969, Delneky escaped communist Hungary and settled briefly in Roma, before moving to Chicago. He became a US citizen and earned a masters’ degree in engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and later held professional engineering licenses in Florida and Illinois.