OBITUARY: Luba Halibey, 87, devoted teacher, community activist

DENVILLE, N.J. - Luba Halibey, a longtime teacher both in Ukraine and the United States, died on April 28, at the age of 87.

Mrs. Halibey was known in particular as a dedicated grammar school teacher at Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic School in Jersey City, N.J., where she was on the faculty for many years.

She was born during World War I, on April 5, 1918, to Tymotey and Katria Kotyk in Sokal, Lviv region of Ukraine. The Kotyks were a patriotic Ukrainian family and, as a result, felt the wrath of the authorities at the time of the Polish occupation. Tymotey Kotyk was arrested and sent to camps and prison; and the family was persecuted, even after the Kotyks fled to the Hutsul region.

The Kotyks, with their children, Evhen, Nadia and Luba, succeeded in relocating to Belz. As there were no Ukrainian schools in the area, Luba attended the Polish school run by the Felician Sisters. Despite the family's protestations, she was registered by the nuns not as Luba, but as Milosc, the Polish version of her name.

In 1931 Luba Kotyk entered the gymnasium (secondary school), under her given name. During this difficult period of economic depression, Tymotey Kotyk traveled to Canada to seek employment in order to support his family, especially to provide for the education of his children.

While at the gymnasium, where she was an honors student, Luba joined the underground Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization and later became active in the youth of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

After completing her gymnasium studies (1937) and subsequent business courses, she worked at "Narodna Torhivlia," a cooperative that provided goods throughout Halychyna.

After the Soviet invasion in 1939, the Kotyk family, which was closely tied to the OUN, escaped westward, beyond the Buh River. During the family's sojourn to the West, Luba Kotyk took advantage of every possible opportunity to further her education. First she earned qualifications to teach in Ukrainian schools; then she moved to Munich, where she enrolled in the university to study the German and English languages.

She became active in Munich in the Ukrainian Student Hromada (community) during the 1945-1946 academic year. There she met Roman Halibey, who also was active in the group, and the two were married in 1948.

The Halibeys arrived in the United States in 1949, where Mr. Halibey found work in his field, engineering, while Mrs. Halibey enrolled at Seton Hall University to continue her studies. She graduated cum laude in 1955 and then began her teaching career at Ss. Peter and Paul School.

At the same time Mrs. Halibey was actively involved in the life of the Ukrainian community in Jersey City, including the Ridna Shkola (School of Ukrainian Studies) Society, Plast-Pryiat, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian National Women's League of America. The mother of two was active also at the New York-based Ukrainian Institute of America.

Mrs. Halibey opted to pursue graduate studies and in 1970 earned a master's degree from Jersey City State College (today known as New Jersey City University). In her master's thesis, which was titled "The Effect of Knowledge and Use of a Second Language (Ukrainian) on Children's Progress in Learning," she demonstrated that knowledge of a second language not only does not hinder but actually has a positive effect on children's learning of the English language and other subjects.

Afterwards Mrs. Halibey taught in the public school system, earning many accolades from her superiors.

Mrs. Halibey died on April 28, leaving behind her husband, Roman; son, Dr. Bohdan Halibey, with his wife Rocksolana; daughter, Dr. Zirka Halibey, with her husband, Gary Madine; and eight grandchildren, Tymish, Myroslava, Olha and Lev Halibey, and Daniel, Peter, Nicholas and Timothy Madine. Surviving also are other family members in the United States and Ukraine.

At the funeral services, Mrs. Halibey was eulogized by Walter Baranetsky, a fellow member of both the Ukrainian Student Hromada of Munich and the Ukrainian Institute of America, as an activist of the Ukrainian community wherever she lived and as a person devoted to helping her homeland, Ukraine.

The funeral liturgy was offered on May 3 at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Newark, N.J.; interment followed at St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in South Bound Brook, N.J.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, June 26, 2005, No. 26, Vol. LXXIII

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