THE UKRAINIAN NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FORUM
EULOGY: Walter Sochan, longest serving former supreme secretary of the UNA
by Martha Lysko
UNA National Secretary
In the history of an organization there often is a person who is so closely related to it that his name becomes identified with it. In the history of the Ukrainian National Association the name of Walter Sochan, former UNA supreme secretary, became synonymous with the UNA.
This is not suprising since Mr. Sochan worked for the Ukrainian National Association from his earliest days in the United States. He started in the Recording Department of the UNA on June 20, 1949, and tirelessly worked in our organization until his retirement on June 30, 1994.
During his 45 years of work for the organization he held many offices. In 1958 he was an assistant to the then Supreme Secretary Jaroslaw Padoch. From 1966 to 1974 he was elected to serve as supreme vice-president and recording secretary. At the UNA Convention of 1974 he was elected supreme secretary, a position he held for 20 years.
Mr. Sochan was known for extreme dedication to his duties. He strived to satisfy every branch secretary, every member and anyone with whom he came in contact. Service to the secretaries and dedication to the organization were his hallmark.
In the years after World War II the UNA was growing rapidly and membership was reaching an all-time high. Many new branches were being formed, and older branches needed to be revitalized. The branches needed new secretaries, and Mr. Sochan was there to help them get started.
To this day, many branch secretaries remember working with him on a very personal level. For every branch secretary and for many members it soon became the norm to call Mr. Sochan if they needed anything from the UNA. He was a man who always avoided confrontation and controversy. All who worked with him in the Home Office remember him as an easygoing and understanding boss.
During his tenure as supreme secretary Mr. Sochan made the first attempts to modernize the UNA's vast record keeping. He was also instrumental in introducing new rate books, which were required to comply with the new mortality tables. He took life insurance and computer courses to help guide the operations of his department. Mr. Sochan was also active in the New York and New Jersey fraternal congresses, serving as president of the New Jersey Congress. He was a delegate to the National Fraternal Congress.
After retiring in 1994 Mr. Sochan was elected an honorary member of the UNA General Assembly, and he actively participated in meetings of the General Assembly and the local UNA district committee, today known as the Northern New Jersey District. Mr. Sochan never lost his love for the UNA, and he continued to be keenly interested in everything that went on in the UNA and often shared his views on many issues facing our organization.
His interests were varied and during his long career he was a correspondent for the Voice of America in the 1960s-1970s and a sports editor for Svoboda. His love of journalism continued throughout his life; he cherished the UNA's publications and followed them with great interest.
Besides his professional activities Mr. Sochan was always active in Ukrainian community life.
He was a member of the Secretariat of the Presidium of the Ukrainian World Congress, vice-president of the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council, a founding member and board of directors member of the Coordinating Committee to Aid Ukraine and vice-president of the Selfreliance Association of Ukrainian Americans. He served as the UNA representative to both World Forums of Ukrainians held in Kyiv, in 1992 and 1997. He was also one of the founders of Ukrainian Sports Association of the U.S.A. and Canada and served on its executive board. In 1998 Mr. Sochan was presented with the Ukrainian President's Award for Merit medal by Ukraine's ambassador to the the United States.
Walter Sochan will always be remembered as the longest serving supreme secretary of the Ukrainian National Association. His life was dedicated to serving the UNA and the entire Ukrainian community.
New Yorkers discuss by-laws
NEW YORK - A recent meeting of the UNA New York District Committee was addressed by Taras Szmagala Jr., UNA advisor, who spoke about the proposed changes to the UNA By-Laws. Seated (from left) are: Motria Milanytch, district secretary; Mr. Szmagala; Ulana Diachuk, UNA president; Mary Dushnyck, honorary member of the UNA General Assembly; standing are: John Choma, district treasurer; Yuriy Kostiw, district vice-chair; Nadia Sawczuk, first vice-chair; Oksana Lopatynsky, Ukrainian press chair; Olga Liteplo, organization chair; Sam Liteplo, organizing committee; Barbara Bachynsky, UNA New York District Committee chairperson; and Dr. George Soltys, Organizing Committee.
Detroiters "join hands" at Dibrova
DETROIT - The spirit of "Join Hands Day" was in full evidence on May 19, when members of the Detroit District Committee of the Ukrainian National Association and the Dibrova Estate spent the day beautifying the grounds of Dibrova in preparation for the picnic season. Seen above are some of the members who participated in the project.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, June 3, 2001, No. 22, Vol. LXIX
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