Browsing: Obituaries

BRIGHTON, Mich. – Lydia (Lida) Czorny Matiaszek, a Ukrainian cultural and community activist both in the United States and Ukraine, died on September 17 at the age of 58.

Funeral services were held in Kyiv at the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection on September 22. Burial was held later at the Baikiv Cemetery in Ukraine’s capital.

Ms. Czorny Matiaszek was born April 11, 1962, in Jamaica, N.Y. She grew up in a home with a very strong Ukrainian identity. Her father, Mykola Dosinchuk-Czorny, was a tireless promoter of the bandura, initiator of the New York School of Bandura and editor of Bandura magazine.

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Former Ukrainian dissident Raisa Rudenko has died in Kyiv after an unsuccessful operation. Ms. Rudenko, who in a month would have turned 81, was the wife of Mykola Rudenko, a founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group who died in 2004, and acted as secretary for the group. Like her husband and essentially all members of the UHG, she paid for her commitment to freedom and human rights with years of imprisonment in the USSR’s political labor camps and forced exile. 

Raisa Panasivna Kaplun was born on November 20, 1939, in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Her grandparents on both sides had been victims of Stalin’s campaign against so-called “kulaks” (more successful peasants), and her father was killed in World War II when she was still very small. The young girl had an accident in childhood that left her in a coma for a long time.

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WILMINGTON, Del. – Peter Serba, a loyal activist of the Ukrainian National Association and a branch secretary since 1954, passed away peacefully on the morning of September 12 at his home in Wilmington, Del. He was 96.

He was born on June 10, 1924, in Nakvasha/Mykyty in the Brody region of Ukraine. The youngest child of Josaphat and Maria Serba, he had one brother and two sisters.

In the midst of World War II, in 1942 and 1943, Mr. Serba completed specialized training to lead young forces against the enemies of Ukraine. A select few people were chosen from the Brody region for such responsibility. When the Russian front advanced, his forces were attached to what became the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought the Russian Communist forces in that region of Ukraine. To avoid capture, Mr. Serba and another UPA member escaped via a nearly frozen river; Mr. Serba almost died during that episode, but survived after a lengthy recovery.

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PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Marta Kolomayets, a former member of the editorial staff of The Ukrainian Weekly whose accomplishments include opening the newspaper’s Kyiv Press Bureau, died on August 16 in the Ukrainian capital. She was 61.

Ms. Kolomayets was on The Weekly’s staff in January 1982-November 1984 and then again from February 1988 through December 1996.

Since January 2013, Ms. Kolomayets had been the director of the Fulbright program’s office in Ukraine.

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The following comments appeared in a Radio Svoboda report about Marta Kolomayets that was compiled by Iryna Shtohryn. There were translated for The Ukrainian Weekly from the original Ukrainian by Irena Chalupa.

Ivan Malkovich, poet, publisher, Marta’s friend and neighbor:

God has called Marta Kolomayets to him – Marta, one of the best people I have ever known, a person with a great, big heart. We are blessed with such friends infrequently, and when they leave us so suddenly, you feel an immense emptiness. Marta was a real friend to whom you could entrust that which you treasure most.

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WASHINGTON – In a music career spanning over 60 years, Myroslav Skoryk became Ukraine’s most celebrated composer. He produced a stunning array of compositions. His unique and colorful language could be heard in all forms of orchestral music, choral music, ballet, opera (Pope John Paul II blessed and financed the Lviv premiere of his opera “Moses”), chamber music, concerti and solo pieces for piano and violin, as well as music scores for over 40 films, the most famous of which was Paradzhanov’s “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (1965). Most recently, He was artistic director of the Kyiv Opera in 2011-2016.

Maestro Skoryk died on June 1 in Kyiv. He was 81.

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EDMONTON, Alberta – The Ukrainian Diaspora Studies Initiative (UDSI) at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) lost a close friend and supporter with the passing of Doris Kule on March 15. She was 99. The UDSI is but one of many scholarly projects and programs across Canada that she and her husband, Peter Kule, made possible through their generous philanthropy.

Such contributions were recalled in several tributes. Dr. Lesley Cormack, dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, described Mrs. Kule as a “passionate and beloved community leader and a true champion of education,” who, together with her husband, “left an indelible mark on the University of Alberta through their generous support of world class, interdisciplinary research.”

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TORONTO – Prof. Oleh Hornykiewicz, internationally renowned brain researcher and one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, passed away May 26 in Vienna, Austria. He was 93. His greatest achievement and contribution to humanity came early in his career, in 1960, when he discovered the cause of Parkinson’s disease. A year later he initiated the first clinical trials of medication to treat this disorder.

His development of L-dopa for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease revolutionized treatment and remains the cornerstone of therapy today. Thousands of patients worldwide have benefitted from his research and discoveries. For his work Prof. Hornykiewicz received numerous prestigious international honors, awards and distinctions.

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Zinoviy Antoniuk, former Soviet-era dissident, publicist and human rights defender, has died at the age of 86, after many years of illness.

He was not one of the most prominent of the former dissidents, but was a very original and deep thinker and would invariably speak in defense of the persecuted, including during the regime of Viktor Yanukovych.

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PHILADELPHIA – Metropolitan-Arch­bishop emeritus Stephen Sulyk, who headed the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States in 1981-2000, died on April 6 at the age of 95. A day earlier, he had been hospitalized with symptoms of the coronavirus.

Archbishop-Metropolitan Borys Gudziak wrote on Facebook on April 5: “A few hours ago, Archbishop Stephen was hospitalized. He is presenting the symptoms of COVID-19, and his vital signs are weak. The Archbishop is receiving comfort care. Everything is in the Lord’s hands.”

Metropolitan Borys provided the following biography of the deceased hierarch.

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PHILADELPHIA – On Saturday, January 11, the Ukrainian American community of Philadelphia bid its final farewell to Dr. George A. Perfecky, retired professor of foreign languages at La Salle University. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church was filled to capacity with family, friends, colleagues and two generations of former students. Also in attendance was the past president of the university, Brother Michael McGinness, FSC.
After an insightful homily delivered by Father John Ciurpita , Prof. Leo Rudnytzky read a very stirring and deeply meaningful letter of condolences sent by Archbishop-Metropolitan Borys Gudziak.

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