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Obituary

MARILYN JOYCE BONDAR (published on July 04, 2009)



MARILYN JOYCE BONDAR Marilyn passed away peacefully on June 29, 2009, at Seven Oaks Hospital at the age of 77 years. Marilyn was born to Samuel and Nadezhda Bondar (who had emigrated to Canada from the Ukraine in 1926) in Winnipeg on April 3, 1932. The younger of two children, she is survived by her brother George, who currently resides in a personal care home in Edmonton, Alberta. Although, like many immigrants, the family initially struggled, hard work and good management eventually led to success and prosperity, in which Marilyn's efforts played no small part. In spite of starting school barely knowing a single word of English, Marilyn at some point received a double promotion, which allowed her to graduate from high school early. Marilyn went on to receive both a Batchelor of Science and a Master of Science (Zoology) from the University of Manitoba, all while putting in long hours working first on the family farm, and later managing a rooming house that her father had been able to purchase. The original research for her M.Sc. thesis (which involved an investigation into the manufacture of red blood cells in fish) led to an interest in cytology, in which field Marilyn subsequently received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Marilyn spent the bulk of her scientific career in cancer-related research, studying and working in Winnipeg, New York, Boston, Columbus, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was very proud of having been at one point a student of the inventor of the well-known Pap (short for Papanicolaou) smear, but should perhaps have been even more proud of the groundbreaking work she herself was involved in, as evidenced by the number of journal articles of which she was either author or co-author. Successful though she was in her professional career, Marilyn's life was punctuated by a series of personal tragedies. Her first husband left her a widow after only twenty days of marriage, succumbing to a congenital heart condition while snorkeling on their honeymoon in Florida. Several years later, Marilyn became engaged again, this time to an officer in the U.S Air Force, who was killed in a training accident before the wedding could take place. Ultimately, she met and married Walter Daniel Dennison during her time in Milwaukee. Although her marriage ended in divorce, it produced a son to whom she was a devoted mother. In fact, Marilyn's ex-husband, who lives in Kelowna, B.C., visited her at Christmas in 2008, and they parted for the last time on good terms with a promise to see each other once again next Christmas if they were still breathing . Marilyn's scientific career came to an end when she acquiesced to her father's request to return to Winnipeg to assist him with the family's affairs, and although the arrangement was only supposed to be temporary, it became permanent as she embraced new challenges. By that time, the business consisted of several apartment blocks, the management of which literally kept Marilyn going day and night. In 1973, these interests were in the process of being wound up in anticipation of her father's well-deserved retirement, when he was suddenly taken from her by cancer. At that point, any plans Marilyn may have had to return to her previous career vanished forever. Having been left with a widowed mother to look after, a young son to raise, and a complicated estate to administer, she turned her attention squarely onto those three things. Her mother lived to celebrate her one hundredth birthday, her son she saw through three university degrees, and her family's material well-being was secured as a result of her tireless efforts (which included proving on two separate occasions that you can fight City Hall and win). Marilyn devoted the last three and one half decades of her life to her family, and for this we thank her. Unfortunately, Marilyn's own health had been in decline for some time, resulting in her having been bedridden for the last several years. Recently diagnosed with (again) cancer, she spent her last months in considerable pain from which an unexpected, but perhaps merciful, bout of pneumonia released her. Marilyn had been able to remain in her home right up until her last hospitalization, and when she took her last breath at Seven Oaks, it was with her son by her side. Marilyn is survived, and deeply mourned by her son Stephen, daughter-in-law Barbara; granddaughter Jessica Michelle, and grandson Nicholas Alexander. Prayers will be held on Tuesday, July 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Cropo Funeral Chapel, 1442 Main Street. A Funeral Service will be held on Wednesday, July 8 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Sobor, 643 Manitoba Avenue, with Rev. Fr. Milan Radulovic and Rev. Fr. Robert S. Kennaugh officiating. Interment to follow in Elmwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marilyn's memory to the Canadian Cancer Society. Tsarstvo Nebesnoe Vechnaia Pamyat 586-8044


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