February 7, 2020

2019: Our community mourns their passing


During 2019 our community mourned the passing of many of its prominent members: artists, church leaders, soldiers and community activists. Among them were the following, listed in order of their passing.

Gene Zwozdesky, 70, Edmonton, Alberta; former speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, former member of the Legislative Assembly and long-time Ukrainian Canadian community leader; played a proactive role in pushing for initiatives that were of particular concern to the Ukrainian Canadian community, most notably spearheading the recognition in Alberta in 2008 of the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people; served as musical director for both the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers and the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company for many years; was the executive director of the Alberta Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Alberta Ukrainian Canadian Centennial Commission, as well as national chair for the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada – January 6.

John McKetta Jr., 103, Austin, Texas; professor emeritus and dean emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin and namesake to the chemical engineering department in the Cockrell School of Engineering; born and raised in Pennsylvania’s coal region, he earned graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and in 1946 joined the chemical engineering department at the University of Texas at Austin; was a renowned expert in the thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbons; served as energy advisor to five U.S. presidents (Richard Nixon through George H.W. Bush); authored 87 books; named one of the “50 Chemical Engineers of the Foundation Age” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; served a executive vice-chancellor of the University of Texas, dean of engineering and chair of the Chemical Engineering Department three separate times – January 15.

Andrij Makuch, 62, Ottawa, Ukrainian Canadian scholar and intellectual affiliated with the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS); an editor at the Encyclopedia of Ukraine and author of many articles and reviews in scholarly periodicals;  former executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Saskatoon, Saskatche­wan; associate director at the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium; research coordinator of the Ukrainian-Canadian Program at CIUS; senior manuscript editor of the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine – January 18.

Omelan Kowal

Omelan Kowal, 98, Lviv, prominent Ukrainian political activist; a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN); one of the organizers of the Proclamation of the June 30, 1941, Act of the Restoration of the Ukrainian State in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast; spent time in Auschwitz and other German concentration camps, until liberated by American forces in May 1945; active in the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) beginning in 1967, holding several leadership positions; initiated and contributed to the development of the Coordinating Branch of Ukrainian Central Community Organizations (now called the European Congress of Ukrainians) as a member of the Presidium from 1950 and its president during 1990-1995; dedicated several decades to the Ukrainian Youth Association, as one of its founders and leaders in Belgium and as president of the Ukrainian Youth Association World Executive in 1958-1978 – January 19.

Nadia Diuk

Nadia Diuk, 64, Washington, senior advisor at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); was the first female ethnic Ukrainian to receive a doctorate from Oxford University; taught Soviet and Russian history at Oxford and was a researcher at the university’s Society for Central Asian Studies and a member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations; moved to the U.S. in 1984, becoming one of the key voices helping to shape and direct assistance to Central and Eastern Europe in Washington; as a vice-president at the NED, was in charge of programs and strategy that supported democratic movements in various countries in Europe and Eurasia; awarded the Order of Princess Olga (third degree) by President Petro Poroshenko – January 23.

Philip Schepel, 64, Neptune, N.J.; in 1980 started Mintax, Inc., a company specializing in securing tax credits and economic incentives for corporations, eventually selling the company to ADP in 2006; his vision was instrumental in the growth of cutting-edge economic development incentives that bridged the gap between business and government entities; involved in numerous charitable endeavors including the ODUM Ukrainian Youth Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Mongaup Riverkeeper Network – January 25.

Lubomyr Krushelnycky, 73, Kingston, N.Y.; founder of a classical music series at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago; described as having “the mind of an engineer and the heart of a musical enthusiast,” chaired the UIMA Music Committee for over a decade, bringing unique musical talents to the stage; member of the UIMA Board of Directors – February 14.

Maria Jowyk; founded the Orphans’ Aid Society in 1992 to aid and support orphans in Ukraine; the organization has given monetary aid, clothing and support to thousands of orphans, many of whom finished higher education and went on to become professionals – (Date of death not given in notice published in The Weekly’s March 3, 2019, edition.)

Father Myron Panchuk

Father Myron Panchuk, Ph.D., 64, Chicago, ambassador for Ukrainian causes, educator; besides his theological training, earned several graduate degrees in psychology; ordained in July 1982 by Bishop Innocent Lotocky and served the Chicago Eparchy for nearly 37 years in a variety of capacities: serving Ss. Volodymyr and Olha Parish, as spiritual director of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood, director of priestly formation for half a dozen seminarians, in 1988 worked with the Rt. Rev. Marian Butrynsky on the development and construction of the Ukrainian Cultural Center; visited Chornobyl in 2010 and in 2011 produced a documentary called “Block4” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster; established a relationship with a group of artists at the Pechersk Artists Workshop and produced a film that prevented the eviction of the artists from the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra; in 2012 presented a paper at the World Psychoanalytic Conference, the only presenter in Ukrainian; participated in the funeral and reburial of remains from the 1708 Baturyn Massacre in November 2013 – March 9.

Gloria Paschen

Gloria Paschen, 92, Elk Grove Village, Ill., former supreme vice-presidentess of the Ukrainian National Association (1982-1994); worked with the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee in 1947-1952, helping resettled Ukrainian displaced persons; served on the board of the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago; secretary of UNA Branch 125 for 26 years; among the organizers of the annual UNA golf outings; served as a delegate to several UNA conventions beginning in 1974 – March 28.

Motria Kulchycka Bohatiuk, 87, professor of Romance languages; born in Lviv and a member of the post-World War II wave of immigration; earned bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and Master’s degrees in Romance Languages from Syracuse University and Education from the State University of New York; professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Maria Regina College in Syracuse for 27 years; named an Outstanding Educator of America – April 10.

Arkadi Mulak Yatzkivsky, 89, Riverside, Calif.; born in Kyiv; part of the DP generation, immigrated to the U.S. in 1947; worked for Lockheed-Boeing Aviation Co. as vice-president responsible for effective use of sub-contractor companies, retiring in 1992; active in Ukrainian diaspora community in the Los Angeles area; co-founder of “Organization to Help Ukraine”; organized a program to collect; repair and deliver wheelchairs to invalids in Ukraine; generous donor to academic, cultural and patriotic programs in the U.S., Canada and Ukraine – May 23.

Marian “Mako” Stasiuk, 89, Tonawanda, N.Y.; former board chairman of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization’s Regional Camp Committee of Novyi Sokil; had been recognized for his decades of tireless involvement in day-to-day operations and his spearheading of many building projects  – May 25.

Alex Woskob

Alex Woskob, 97, State College, Pa., builder, entrepreneur and philanthropist; born into an independent farming family in Poltava; fled during World War II due to persecution by both the Nazis and the Soviets; emigrated to Canada from Germany, where he began learning the building business; became a leader in providing high-quality student housing near the Penn State campus in State College;  he and his wife were patrons of the arts at Penn State; made numerous contributions to support Ukrainian culture through the establishment of the Bahriany Foundation and through contributions to Ukrainian democracy-oriented and Church organizations; established the New Century Fund in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State and the Woskob Family Endowment in the Ukrainian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts – May 27.

Dmytro Tymchuk, 46, Kyiv, military journalist; colonel in the reserves; since 2014 a national deputy from the People’s Front party; had served in various departments of the Ministry of Defense before founding the group Information Resistance in 2014 to expose Russian military tactics after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the start of the Donbas conflict; found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, apparently due to an accidental discharge of his weapon – June 19.

Vadim Komarov, Cherkasy, Ukraine; investigative journalist known for hard-hitting material, including about corruption and embezzlement; had been in an artificially induced coma since May 4, after having been beaten in the head with a heavy object – June 20.

George Hodowanec, 83, Parma, Ohio; a member of the DP generation who earned a master’s in library science from Drexel and a doctorate of education from Temple; worked as a professor of library science at Drexel, then director of the university libraries of Emporia University in Kansas and Akron University in Ohio; long-serving president of the “Siromantsi” fraternity in Plast Ukrainian Scouting organization; organizer and leader of the project to publish the book “Ukrainian Plast: A History in Dates” –  June 30.

Sister Mary Bernarda Arkatin, OSBM, 96, Fox Chase, Pa.; entered the Order of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great in 1940, pronouncing her Final Profession in 1949; earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Seton Hall University and a bachelor’s in music from De Paul University in Chicago; during 1934-2014, taught music and other subjects in Newark, N.J., Hamtramck, Mich., Chicago and Philadelphia; held leadership positions as a provincial councilor within the Fox Chase Basilian community and as a school principal; served in 1993-2000 as promoter for the cause of the beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky; supported and negotiated care for the “poorest of the poor” in Ukraine –  July 17.

Manoly Lupul, 91, Calgary, Alberta; instrumental in founding the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS); grandson of Ukrainian pioneers who immigrated to Canada at the start of the 20th century; earned an M.A. from the University of Minnesota in history and the philosophy of education, and a doctorate from Harvard with the same specializations; appointed a professor at the University of Alberta’s department of educational foundations; actively supported multiculturalism in Canada, believing strongly that there should be public funding for minority languages and cultures;  held leadership roles in the Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism, playing key roles in the establishment of the Ukrainian-English bilingual program in Alberta’s schools and successfully lobbying the government of Alberta and the University of Alberta to support and fund the establishment of the CIUS; appointed its first director, a position he held for 10 years – July 24.

Roman Zavadovych, 78, Chicago; worked for the City of Chicago as a graphic artist and designer; donated numerous hours of his professional work designing posters, invitations, letterheads, certificates, commemorative books and tombstone engravings for friends and community organizations; active in many Ukrainian organizations, but most of all in Plast Ukrainian Scouting organization; member of the Vovkulaky fraternity; leader in Plast’s Chicago branch and Plast’s National Board in the U.S. – August 1.

Jaroslaw Fedun, 80, Clifton, N.J.; former president and board member of Self-Reliance Federal Credit Union; former president of the Passaic chapter of UCCA; active member of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization, once serving as head of the Passaic branch; joined the U.S. delegation to observe the first free elections in Ukraine and worked to help nurture democracy – August 4.

Col. Stephen Olynyk, 89; immigrated to the United States as a war-time orphan; earned a master’s degree in international studies and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University;  had a military career spanning 32 years; after retirement from the Army became a consultant on national security for the Department of Defense; relocated to Kyiv in 1992 and worked as a consultant for national security and mobilization readiness under the aegis of the Verkhovna Rada and the Ministry of Defense – September 3.

Mark von Hagen

Mark von Hagen, 65, Tempe, Ariz.; scholar and promoter of Ukrainian studies; held an M.A. in Slavic language and literature from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University; taught in 1985-2009 at Columbia, where he served as associate director and director of the Harriman Institute, and played a key role in Columbia’s strong investment in Ukrainian studies; taught in 2009-2019 at Arizona State University, where he continued strong involvement in Ukrainian studies; a dean at the Ukrainian Free University; in 2003 was commissioned by The New York Times to study the role of Walter Duranty in covering up the Holodomor and recommended that Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize be revoked  – September 15.

William Green Miller

William Green Miller, 88, Alexandria, Va.; former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee; senior administrator and professor at Tufts University; chairman of the board of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation; president of the American Committee on U.S.-Soviet Relations; as ambassador to Ukraine in 1993-1998, worked to bring American values to Kyiv while giving Ukraine a durable voice in Washington – September 22.

Dmytro Shtohryn, 95, Urbana, Ill.; librarian and literary scholar; earned degrees in literature and library studies from Ottawa University; lecturer of Ukrainian studies and one of the administrators of the University of Illinois Ukrainian Library, where he was in charge of the Slavic book collections; established an endowment in 1995 to support the Ukrainian book collection there; was instrumental in the opening of a Department of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Illinois; initiated annual research conferences there in Ukrainian studies; author of some 100 scholarly articles and six books, including the compendium “Ukrainians in North America: A biographical directory of noteworthy men and women of Ukrainian origin in the United States and Canada” – September 25.

Omelan Twardowsky, 92, Parsippany, N.J., longtime sports activist and leader of the Ukrainian Athletic-Educational Association Chornomorska Sitch, where he held several positions, including president, but considered his most significant role to be that of press secretary, a position he held for almost six decades, producing countless articles, several books and over 50 editions of Nash Sport (Our Sport) magazine; helped establish the Chornomorska Sitch sports camp in 1969; was a sports contributor to Svoboda; in 1991, started a fund-raising campaign in the Ukrainian press for the rebirth of sports in Ukraine, raising over $400,000; inducted into the Chornomorska Sitch Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Ukrainian Sports Hall of Fame in 2016  – October 19.

Morris Diakowsky, 92, Toronto, Ukrainian community leader and bandura expert; born and educated in Canada; work for Radio Liberation, later renamed Radio Liberty, in New York, becoming their chief translator; moved to its headquarters in Munich, where he held various positions over 15 years, ultimately heading a 200-person department producing programming in 17 non-Russian languages; in Munich he learned bandura-making and conducted bandura-building workshops; returning to Canada, held leadership roles in the St. Demetrius Development Corp., which spearheaded the construction of a long-term health care and seniors’ center, and St. Vladimir Institute, a cultural center and student residence; served on the board of St. Andrew’s College, the theological school at the University of Manitoba; served as president of the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies 1991-1997  – November 8.

Ihor Shust, 87, Philadelphia, Ukrainian community activist, banker; graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management at Harvard; served on the board of the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center in Jenkintown, the Board of Trustees of Manor College, and the board of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation; chaired the Philadelphia Committee of Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University and founded the Patriarchal Fund of the St. Sophia Society; served as bank representative on the Philadelphia International Visitors Council – November 20.

Slavko Nowytski

Slavko Nowytski, 85, Minneapolis, filmmaker, protodeacon; earned a master’s in communications at Columbia; ordained a deacon in the 1980s and later a protodeacon of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A, under which his father was the first bishop consecrated in U.S. soil; known for his two decades of work as an international broadcast journalist for Voice of America Radio and Television (Ukraine division) with the United States Information Agency in Washington; award-winning documentary filmmaker whose credits include: “Harvest of Despair” (1983), “Between Hitler and Stalin” (2003), “Pysanka: The Ukrainian Easter Egg” (1976). “Sheep in Wood” (1971), and “Immortal Image” (1979); directed the documentary “The Helm of Destiny” about the Ukrainian experience in the United States, which was commissioned by the Ukrainian National Association and premiered at the UNA’s 30th Convention in 1982 – November 28.

Michael Kos, 79, Chicago, chairman of Selfreliance Federal Credit Union Board of Directors; earned a Ph.D. in jurisprudence from the University of Illinois in Urbana; instrumental in the founding of the Ukrainian Studies Program at the University of Illinois; member of the Advisory and Supervisory Committee of St. Nicholas Eparchy; longtime member of the Selfreliance Board of Directors and chairman of the board since 1996 – December 4.

Dr. George Perfecky, 79, Warminster, Pa., retired professor of foreign languages; earned a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and philology from Columbia University in 1970; taught in the Department of Foreign Languages at LaSalle University for 50 years, teaching and developing courses in Russian, German, Ukrainian, Polish and Spanish, and serving for many years as the faculty advisor to the Ukrainian Club; most important scholarly work was his book “The Hypatian Codex II : The Galician-Volynian Chronicle – An  Annotated Translation,” which gave the English-language reader a primary-source interpretation of 13th century Rus’; wrote widely published articles on the status of the Ukrainian Language in the Ukrainian SSR and on the linguistic Russification of Ukrainian – December 28.