Byron Krieger, a two-time Olympic fencer, died when a havdalah candle sparked a blaze in his Florida retirement home.
Krieger, 95, was severely burned when he fumbled the candle and it ignited his sweater and a curtain in his home in Boca Raton Monday, authorities said.
His wife, Joyce, 92, suffered minor burns. They were married for 57 years.
As a young man Krieger was a foil fencer. He competed in the Olympics twice for the United States, in the 1952 Games in Helsinki and in the 1956 Games in Melbourne. He did not medal in either the team or individual event.
In 1957, he won the gold medal in the foil and sabre at the Maccabiah Games. He was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’ in 1986.
Krieger, who attended Wayne State University in Michigan, was the NCAA champion in the foil in 1942, and won a gold medal in the team foil and team sabre at the 1951 Pan American Games.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. His elderly wife heard Krieger yell for help and called 911. Firefighters carried both victims out of the burning home, but Byron Krieger died at a nearby hospital.
This story "Ex-Fencing Champion Dies in Havdalah Candle Fire" was written by JTA.