Dr. Bohdan Czepak, long-time activist and community leader in greater Cleveland

Dr. Bohdan R. Czepak (1937-2021), a long-time activist and community leader in greater Cleveland, passed away on April 9 after an extended illness. He was 83.

Professionally, Dr. Czepak was a plastic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University Hospital and Lutheran Medical Center specializing in hand surgery, helping thousands of patients over his more than 50 years of practice and winning widespread praise in the process.  He was especially devoted to the greater Cleveland Ukrainian community, serving as a board member of the Ukrainian Museum-Archives, securing very generous contributions and grants over the years which will be ongoing with his legacy contribution.

Remembering Omelan Twardowsky

The following is the first article to appear on the digitized website of Our Sport (“Nash Sport”) magazine (www.nashsport.org). It was written in honor of Omelan Twardow­sky, who started Our Sport magazine and who ensured the publication continued for 54 years before his passing in 2019.

The Very Rev. Archpriest John Michael Fields

The Very Rev. Archpriest John Michael Fields of Frackville, Pa., entered into eternity on Friday, November 27. The son of the late John “Jack” Fields and Olga Uhryn Fields, John was born on February 19, 1950, in Butler Township, Pa., and is survived by his sister Diane M. Berkheiser and her husband Dennis, and sister MaryAnn Fields-Whyne; nephew Keith John Berkheiser and his wife Shawn, niece Kristen A. Berkheiser, niece Katharine A. Whyne and her husband Chris, and niece Maria A. Whyne; great-niece Caroline G. Berkheiser and great-nephew Wyatt “Jack” Berkheiser.

Alex Trebek, beloved game show host, 80

WALTHAM, M.A. – Answer: This man – who for 37 seasons played the quintessential host of a world-famous, widely beloved quiz show, and whose father, George Edward Terebeychuk, emigrated from Ukraine as a child – died of pancreatic cancer on November 8. He was 80.

Question: Who was George Alexander Trebek?

Born on July 22, 1940, in Sudbury, Ontario, Alex Trebek was synonymous with “Jeopardy!,” the Emmy and Peabody award-winning syndicated game show in which questions were presented to participants as answers, and answers were given in the form of questions.

UCC expresses condolences on death of Anna Kisil, noted community leader

OTTAWA – The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) expressed its deep condolences on the loss of Anna Kisil, a community leader, philanthropist, activist and volunteer, and president of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO), who passed away on November 16 in Toronto.

The UCC noted that Ms. Kisil “will be remembered by all who knew her for her kindness, humor, compassion and wisdom. She had a deep commitment to helping others and for serving her community and Ukraine. She will be profoundly missed.”

North American bandura community mourns loss of Lydia Czorny Matiaszek

BRIGHTON, Mich. – Lydia (Lida) Czorny Matiaszek, a Ukrainian cultural and community activist both in the United States and Ukraine, died on September 17 at the age of 58.

Funeral services were held in Kyiv at the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection on September 22. Burial was held later at the Baikiv Cemetery in Ukraine’s capital.

Ms. Czorny Matiaszek was born April 11, 1962, in Jamaica, N.Y. She grew up in a home with a very strong Ukrainian identity. Her father, Mykola Dosinchuk-Czorny, was a tireless promoter of the bandura, initiator of the New York School of Bandura and editor of Bandura magazine.

Raisa Rudenko, imprisoned by Soviet regime for her role in Ukrainian Helsinki Group

Former Ukrainian dissident Raisa Rudenko has died in Kyiv after an unsuccessful operation. Ms. Rudenko, who in a month would have turned 81, was the wife of Mykola Rudenko, a founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group who died in 2004, and acted as secretary for the group. Like her husband and essentially all members of the UHG, she paid for her commitment to freedom and human rights with years of imprisonment in the USSR’s political labor camps and forced exile. 

Raisa Panasivna Kaplun was born on November 20, 1939, in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Her grandparents on both sides had been victims of Stalin’s campaign against so-called “kulaks” (more successful peasants), and her father was killed in World War II when she was still very small. The young girl had an accident in childhood that left her in a coma for a long time.

Peter Serba, UNA branch secretary since 1954, veteran of UPA

WILMINGTON, Del. – Peter Serba, a loyal activist of the Ukrainian National Association and a branch secretary since 1954, passed away peacefully on the morning of September 12 at his home in Wilmington, Del. He was 96.

He was born on June 10, 1924, in Nakvasha/Mykyty in the Brody region of Ukraine. The youngest child of Josaphat and Maria Serba, he had one brother and two sisters.

In the midst of World War II, in 1942 and 1943, Mr. Serba completed specialized training to lead young forces against the enemies of Ukraine. A select few people were chosen from the Brody region for such responsibility. When the Russian front advanced, his forces were attached to what became the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought the Russian Communist forces in that region of Ukraine. To avoid capture, Mr. Serba and another UPA member escaped via a nearly frozen river; Mr. Serba almost died during that episode, but survived after a lengthy recovery.