During 2014 our community mourned the passing of many of its prominent members: artists, church leaders, soldiers and community activists. Among them were the following, listed in order of their passing.
Olga Stasiuk, 58, Warm Mineral Spring, Fla., teacher at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic School in Newark, N.J.; activist who, after moving to Florida, continued her community involvement as a literacy teacher to newly arrived Ukrainians in her community – January 2.
Bishop Cornelius Pasichny, 86, Weston, Ontario, served various pastoral and administrative charges in the Canadian Basilian Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, including spiritual director of the newly formed Holy Spirit Seminary in Ottawa in the 1980s; appointed bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon in November 1995, ordained a bishop in January 1996; appointed in 1998 as bishop of the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada, retiring from that position in 2003 – January 30.
Nicholas Bobeczko, 99, Mentor, Ohio, longtime community and Ukrainian National Association activist, financial secretary of UNA Branch 102 for over 60 years; delegate to numerous UNA conventions, serving on the elections committee at most of them – February 10.
Danylo Luciuk, 101, Kingston, Ontario, member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (Bandera faction) who dedicated much of his life to the struggle for Ukraine’s independence; political refugee who settled in Canada, where together with his wife, Maria, he established the Kingston Branch of the League for the Liberation of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Canadian Club of Kingston – February 15.
Stephen Szyszka, 89, Branchburg, N.J., survivor of Nazi youth camp and political refugee who eventually settled in Buffalo, N.Y.; active in the Ukrainian community, particularly in Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization and its Chota Krylatykh fraternity – May 1.
Gene Chyzowych, 79, West Orange, N.J., coached soccer at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., where his 757-win record places him third on the all time high school win-list; won four New Jersey state championships, 24 conference and 16 state sectional titles; also coached women’s volleyball at Columbia High School, with a 227-0 career record and 11-year winning streak; played soccer professionally in the U.S. and Canada, and coached teams in the American Professional Soccer League and the U.S. National and U.S. Olympic teams; inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2009 – May 10.
Roman Kuropas, 71, Chicago, longtime Ukrainian National Association and community activist; financial secretary of UNA Branch 20 for over 20 years; served two terms as an advisor on the UNA General Assembly; member of the executive board of the Detroit UNA District Committee – May 25.
Anna Maksymowych, 86, Willow Grove, Pa., librarian and translator at the Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center of Manor Junior College and the Bluebell and Ambler branches of the Wissahickon Valley Public library; lifelong member of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization and a founding member of its Chortopolokhy sorority – June 29.
Yaroslaw Tomorug, 84, Clark, N.J., U.S. Army veteran; longtime community sports activist and former member of the board of directors of the New York Ukrainian Sports Club – July 25.
Bohdan Todoriv, 87, Philadelphia, member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists; CFO at Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics; teacher and later principal of the Ukrainian School of Arts and Sciences; instrumental in developing the concept of a united Ukrainian academic program at the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, uniting all the Ukrainian schools in Philadelphia – September 22.
Yevhen Sverstiuk, 85, Kyiv, writer, philosopher and civic figure, who spent years in the Soviet labor camps for his commitment to truth and to Ukraine; moral beacon for many; one of the “Shestydesiatnyky,” whose cultural and political activities were a form of moral opposition to the Soviet regime; arrested in 1972 and convicted of “anti-Soviet agitation and progaganda,” served seven years in Perm labor camps; president of the Ukrainian PEN Club – December 1.
Anatole Kolomayets, 87, Chicago, prolific artist; born in the Kobeliaky region of Poltava; immigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago, where he quickly became involved in the artistic life of Ukrainian Chicago; worked as a commercial artist; had 42 one-man shows spanning a 60-year career; recognized as an Honored Artist of Ukraine in 2007 – December 9.
Oleh Lysheha, 65, Kyiv, Ukrainian poet, playwright and translator; a visiting Fulbright scholar at Penn State University; received the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation – along with James Brasfield of Penn State – in 2000 for “The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha;” known for having translated into Ukrainian works by T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound – December 17.
Stefaniya Shabatura, 76, Lviv, artist, former member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and former Soviet political prisoner; arrested in 1972, charged with “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” and sentenced to five years’ harsh-regime labor camp and three years’ exile; while serving in the Mordovian labor camp at Barashevo, took an active part in protest actions and hunger strikes, demanding political prisoner status and an amnesty for all prisoners of conscience, and was frequently put into solitary confinement because of her actions; in the late 1980s became actively involved in the national and political revival in Ukraine – active member of the Lviv chapter of Memorial and Rukh; took part in the struggle to re-establish the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church – December 17.
Alexander Tsiovkh, 63, Lawrence, Kan., director of Ukrainian Studies at University of Kansas; originally from Lviv, joined the University of Kansas in 1993 as a visiting professor of Ukrainian studies and quickly became indispensable to both graduate and undergraduate programs in Russian, East European and Eurasian studies; since 1994, organized and directed the KU Intensive Ukrainian Language and Culture summer program at Ivan Franko University in Lviv – December 23.
Michael Komichak, 95, McKees Rocks, Pa., Ukrainian American community leader and prominent ethnic radio broadcast personality; enjoyed a 45-year career with Pittsburgh radio station WPIT, including 17 years as the station’s general manager; since 1950 host of WPIT’s “Ukrainian Radio Program,” which generated financial support for many Ukrainian projects and causes, raising almost $1 million over the years – December 28.
Myroslaw Shmigel, 89, New York, lifelong community activist and patriot; president of the national executive of the Ukrainian American Youth Association; president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, New York chapter; president of the board of directors of Self Reliance New York Federal Credit Union; member of the board of directors of the Ukrainian Free University – December 30.