Stephen Skubik, consultant to Republican National Committee
BENNINGTON, N.H. - Stephen Skubik, retired insurance executive, author and longtime consultant to the Republican National Committee, died of cancer on September 21 at his home in Bennington. He was 80.
Mr. Skubik, born in April 1916, started life in a basket left on the doorstep of a Ukrainian church in Philadelphia. Raised as an orphan by the Sisters of St. Basil (Philadelphia), he was adopted at age 7 and moved to Canton, Ohio.
Before graduating from high school, Mr. Skubik, joining millions of Depression-era men, spent a year traveling across the country as a railway hobo. After returning home he worked the local steel mills until he won a scholarship from Republic Steel to attend Ohio State University. After graduating in 1941 with a B.S. in business administration, he went to work for Seagrams Distillery as an accountant until America's entry into World War II.
During World War II, Mr. Skubik enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 and later served in Germany with the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, and in that capacity he arrested a number of Nazi war criminals. Making use of his language skills, Mr. Skubik was in contact with the various underground movements active in Central Europe at that time. Acting on the information provided by various groups, Mr. Skubik was the first U.S. intelligence officer to enter and report first-hand on the Nazi death camps.
With his contacts among Central Europe's refugee community, Mr. Skubik arranged a meeting between Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Rev. Stephen Reshytylo to discuss the plight of refugees fleeing the Soviet Union and facing forced repatriation by the U.S. lead occupying forces. That meeting led Gen. Eisenhower and the U.S. State Department to reverse U.S. policy on Soviet refugees, thus saving the lives of countless thousands facing death in Soviet labor camps.
In another brush with destiny, Mr. Skubik was informed by the Ukrainian underground of a Soviet assassination plot against Gen. George Patton. After his reports on the plot were dismissed, Gen. Patton was killed in an accident involving his staff car and a military truck. Although part of Gen. Patton's security detail, Mr. Skubik was refused permission to investigate the crash. Mr. Skubik's Ukrainian underground contact, Stepan Bandera, was himself assassinated by the KGB in 1959.
After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Mr. Skubik published his account of the plot against Gen. Patton and his belief that the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), under the command of "Wild Bill" Donavan, was infiltrated by the NKVD and provided a cover-up of Gen. Patton's assassination.
Mr. Skubik was closely associated with two Ukrainian Catholic metropolitans, Archbishop Ambrose Senyshyn, and Archbishop Joseph Schmondiuk, and Prof. Roman Smal-Stocki.
He was a member of Ukrainian National Association Branch 293 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
After his Army service, Mr. Skubik settled in the Washington area, where he became a food broker and in 1947 married a colleague in the intelligence community, Ann McCarroll Davis, formerly of Louisville, Ky.
In 1952 he joined the Prudential Insurance Co. as a licensed broker, rising to head the District of Columbia office. He was a past president of the Chartered Life Underwriters of Washington and an organizer of the national Life Underwriters Political Action Committee. He also was a president of the Ohio State University Alumni Association of Washington.
Mr. Skubik's encounters with Ukrainian nationalists among the displaced persons of Europe after the war resulted in his becoming active in the anti-Communist Captive Nations movement, which sought to free nations behind the Iron Curtain from the yoke of Soviet tyranny. Mr. Skubik authored the Liberation Policy platform that was debated during the 1952 Republican National Convention.
Mr. Skubik worked on eight presidential campaigns - from Robert Taft in 1952 to Ronald Reagan in 1980.
During the 1970s, he produced two humor books as fund-raisers for Republican national conventions: a collection of funny anecdotes supplied by well-known political figures and a "Jimmy Carter Jokebook" consisting of all blank pages.
After his first wife, Ann, died in 1976, Mr. Skubik met and married Virginia Lois Dutton of Washington in 1980. Upon his retirement from Prudential, Stephen and Virginia Skubik moved to New Hampshire, first to Keene and later to Bennington.
During retirement in New Hampshire, Mr. Skubik authored "Patton," his controversial account of the American general's death based on Ukrainian anti-Communist sources, and an autobiography called "The Orphan." He was a collector of Eastern European religious art, about which he wrote another book, "How to Paint Icons." Mr. Skubik also taught iconography in association with the Greek Orthodox Church.
While in New Hampshire, Mr. Skubik kept active with local causes, both in Keene as chairman of the Cheshire County chapter of the American Heart Association, 1985-1986, and in Bennington working on various economic development projects. He and his wife wintered in Palm Coast, Fla., and were active with the Flagler County Council for the Arts.
In addition to his wife, Virginia Lois Dutton-Skubik of Bennington, N.H., Mr. Skubik is survived by his four children, Jane McKenna Skubik Duperrault of Los Altos, Calif.; Laura Davis Skubik and Mark McAlpin Skubik, both of Palo Alto, Calif.; Harriet Rees Skubik of Olympia, Wash.; a grand-daughter, Julia Duperrault of Los Altos; a half-sister, Helen Berchin of Canton, Ohio; and a brother-in-law, Michael W.R. Davis, of Royal Oak, Mich.
A memorial service was held on September 23 at the First Presbyterian Church, Antrim, N.H.
A memorial liturgy will be offered on October 27 at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brooklyn, N.Y.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Skubik's memory to Hospice Alliance, P.O. Box 496, Community Lane, Peterborough, NH 03458; or St. Basil the Great, 710 Fox Chase Road, Fox Chase Manor, PA 19046.
JoAnn Paschen Brej, 46, Chicago activist
CHICAGO - JoAnn Paschen Brej succumbed on Friday, August 16, to a brain tumor after a two-year illness. She was 46 years old.
Mrs. Brej was well-known in the Ukrainian community for her involvement in civic, religious and cultural organizations. She attended at St. Nicholas Cathedral Ukrainian School in Chicago as a child, and participated in activities that reflected her love of "Ucrainica."
She danced in Ukrainian dance groups, sang in the St. Joseph Church choir, joined the Ukrainian Students' Club at Loyola University, chaired meetings of Ukrainian National Association Branch 125, held the office of branch vice-president, and was a member of its auditing committee for a number of years.
She was elected St. Joseph Parish Council president and served on the committee to celebrate the Millennium of Ukraine's Christianity and the committee to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the UNA in Chicago. Having enrolled her children in Ukrainian School at St. Joseph's Church, she was prominently involved in its Parents Club.
Mrs. Brej graduated from Trinity High School in River Forest, Ill., in 1966. She worked at the Soyuzivka resort in the summer of her freshman year at Loyola University of Chicago. She received a bachelor's degree from Loyola, a juris doctor from Chicago Kent College of Law, and a master of tax law from the John Marshall Law School, Chicago. During the last three years, she was an editor at the Commerce Clearing House Legal Publishing Company.
Mrs. Brej was the mother of five children, and was married to Roman Brej. She was the daughter of William and Gloria Paschen, and the grand-daughter of Thomas and Ivanka Podola. She left two sisters, nieces and nephews, and several aunts, uncles and cousins. Burial was at St. Nicholas Cemetery in Chicago on Tuesday, August 20.
Orest Woronewych, HBO broadcast designer
NEW YORK - Orest Woronewych, 61, longtime broadcast design pioneer at Home Box Office, died on July 26. A leader in broadcast design, his style was emulated by television networks both at home and abroad.
Mr. Woronewych was director of design and technology in HBO's creative services department. He joined the network in 1978 and was the first to test and adapt new computer technology for the creation of on-air design.
His groundbreaking work resulted in much of the bold and distinctive graphics still used by HBO and Cinemax today. His innovations won numerous awards, from more than 20 Gold Awards from the Broadcast Design Association to a 1995 Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences for his work on Cinemax's movie open graphics.
He is survived by his wife, Marta, of Queens, N.Y., a son, Roman; a daughter, Luba; and two grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Suchasnist (Ukrainian Artist Fund), c/o Self Reliance Credit Union, 108 Second Ave., New York, NY 10003 - Account No. 21928-000.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, October 6, 1996, No. 40, Vol. LXIV
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