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Obituary

IWANNA BOZYK (published on July 25, 2009)



IWANNA BOZYK (nee KUSYJ) Iwanna Bozyk passed away peacefully on July 21, 2009 at Seven Oaks Hospital. She is survived by her daughter Zorianna Hyworon (Eugene), son Orest (Anna), grandsons Demyan (Daria) and Darius (Mariah) and family in Canada, USA, Australia and Ukraine. She was predeceased by her husband, Wolodymyr, her parents and sisters Daria and Wolodymyra, brothers Myroslaw and Bohdan and her beloved cousin, Rev. Lutoslaw Kussy. Iwanna was born in Humnyska, Ukraine on January 2, 1920 to Theodore and Osypa (Kuncio) Kusyj. She grew up in Drohobych, the eldest of five children. In her mid teens, after losing her mother, Iwanna raised her siblings. Despite suffering a stroke and surviving a typhoid epidemic in her teens, Iwanna protected her family with fierce determination. She overcame unimaginable obstacles under Soviet and then Nazi occupation. She met her husband Wolodymyr in Lviv where they worked at a large cooperative. Married June 15, 1944, the young couple soon joined the stream of refugees fleeing the advancing Red Army. Trading jewelry for food, they travelled through Slovakia and Hungary to reach Vienna, where her daughter Zorianna was born. To escape the threat of repatriation she managed somehow to secure exit documents from partitioned Vienna, reaching relative safety in the Volkloster Displaced Persons camp in Bregenz, Austria. Camp life, although not easy, provided Iwanna the opportunity to hone her culinary and organizational skills. It was there that she acquired her reputation for delicious tortes and entertaining. Iwanna quickly became active in the women's committee, organizing cultural, church and children's activities. In Bregenz, she also found her vocation, the sewing and embroidering of bajbaraky a contemporary adaptation of traditional Hutsul jackets. Landing in Halifax on Christmas Eve 1949, Iwanna turned her energy to building their new life. Labouring long hours as a sewing machine operator, she constantly scrambled to find adequate care for her young daughter. Her personal need inspired a vision of a Ukrainian language daycare center. Taking action, Iwanna mobilized the immigrant community to establish Sadok, the first Ukrainian full service daycare center. She chaired the parents' committees of Plast and UNF Ukrainian school. No challenge was too great; When the scouts needed 12 tents for a jamboree, they bought one and she sewed 11 exact copies. She quickly became a central figure in the endless fundraising to support community programs for children of all ages. Iwanna was known for her fierce commitment, her grand ideas, her tireless work and her tortes. She could transform the most modest spread into a grand banquet, exquisite in look as well as taste. Iwanna considered the acquisition of Canadian citizenship in 1956 and the birth of her son Orest in 1957 major life milestones. Balancing work with her many family and community responsibilities, she turned her basement into a mini sewing factory, sewed for sportswear manufacturers and created bajbaraky jackets on custom order from around the world. When she wasn't sewing, she was cooking, baking and raising funds for Plast. Once retired, she took under her wing her neighbours, her fellow campers at Ukrainian Park and young immigrants families. Cigarette in hand, she cooked, visited and entertained, always generous with her time, energy and opinions. Although small in stature, she was often bigger than life. Over the course of her long life, she made a difference for so many. Hard work, determination, commitment to community action, and responsibility for leadership are the values she instilled in her daughter, son and grandsons. With her husband Wolodymyr, she shared a sense of humour that always found the joke or saying at the right time to take the edge off life's challenging moments. As her health deteriorated, Iwanna moved to the St. Mary the Protectress Villa, down the street from the house and garden she could no longer maintain. Surrounded by the kindness of her fellow residents, Iwanna remarkably maintained her independence until her move to Holy Family Nursing Home in 2004. With her smile and twinkle in her eye, she captured her caregivers' hearts and they treated her with loving kindness and compassion. The family is grateful to the staff at Holy Family Home., Iwanna's friends, companions and caregivers enabled her final years to pass in comfort, peace and dignity. Funeral services will be at the Cathedral of Saints Vladimir and Olga, 114 McGregor Street with Panachyda prayers at 7:00 p.m. on July 26 and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m. on July 27 with Rt. Rev. Msgr. Mitrat M. Buyachok officiating. Interment at All Saints Cemetery will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in Iwanna's memory honouring her lifelong work and commitment to children and youth can be made to Help Us Help The Children project of the Canadian Children or Chernobyl Fund or to Plast Ukrainian Youth Association (Winnipeg). Memories of Iwanna can be shared with her family at iwannabozyk@hyworon.com. VICHNAYA PAMYAT KORBAN FUNERAL CHAPEL 956-2193


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