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Zarsky, Orest and Emilia

  • Family
  • 1914-2014

Orest Zarsky, son of Oleksa (Alex) and Catherine (nee Haworko) Zarsky, was born in Edmonton, Alberta on August 10, 1914. When he was seven years old, the family, which by that time included a younger sister, moved to Boyle, Alberta. His parents homesteaded there till 1930 when they returned to Edmonton.

After graduating from St. Joseph’s High School in 1933, Orest attended McTavish Business School where he studied commerce and shorthand. In 1937, he earned a Teaching Certificate from Normal School in Camrose, Alberta. He then taught for one year in a single room country school, Prosvischinia #1476, in Smoky Lake County, Alberta.

In 1934, Orest joined the 2nd Battalion, Edmonton Fusiliers, (R) CA where he played the clarinet with the brass band. In 1942, he was discharged from the militia so that he could join the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He served as a radar technician along the coasts of Labrador and Canada’s eastern coast till his discharge in 1945.

On October14, 1939, Orest married Emilia (Minnie) Manoski at St. Josaphat Church in Edmonton where they remained active, devout parishioners their entire lives. They had a family of three daughters and one son.

Emilia was born on February 15, 1920 in Beverly, Alberta to Josephine (nee Krezanoski) and John Manoski. She attended Highlands School and Eastwood High School in Edmonton where she completed Grade 12. In 1938, she graduated from Alberta College with a Diploma in Stenography. During WWII, she volunteered to sell Victory Bonds War Savings Certificates at the Edmonton Post Office. She was a Charter and lifelong member of St. Josaphat Good Will Club (Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League). From 1948 – 1950, she served as President of the Club. Through the 1950s and 1960s, she worked for eight years as a receptionist in a medical office. She was an avid homemaker and gardener. Emilia was a loving mother and a devoted wife who supported Orest in his career and and volunteer work.

Although his career was interrupted by his RCAF service, Orest worked at the Edmonton Post Office for 35 years (1938-1973). He held a variety of positions including that of Supervisor, Acting Postmaster and Public Affairs Officer.

During his retirement, he was instrumental in the opening of the first permanent office of the Edmonton Ukrainian Catholic Savings and Credit Union. He worked at the office full time for many years. Prior to that, he had worked on a part time basis for the Edmonton Ukrainian Catholic Savings and Credit Union from his home office

Throughout his life, Orest was actively involved in many organizations at the Post Office (Federal Service) and within the Ukrainian community. He was usually on the executive as either treasurer or secretary. He emceed many functions. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus and other men’s groups at St. Josaphat Parish. He was an original and continuing member of the Norwood Legion. He was a Director of the Post Office Credit Union. He volunteered with the MS Society. He was highly regarded for his work ethic and integrity.

Orest died at the age of 94 in Edmonton on February 10, 2009. On December 22, 2014, also at the age of 94, Emilia died. They had celebrated 69 years of marriage.

Sharak family

  • Family
  • 1891-1976

Andrew Sharak was born in Wislok, Respublica Polonia, in 1891. Polly Sharak (nee Kulyk) was born in 1893. They got married in 1919. Andrew served in the Polish army. They had a son who died in the Old Country.

Andrew immigrated to Canada in 1927 through Quebec, and Polly joined him in 1929 though Halifax. They settled in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where they lived until their death. Andrew worked on the Maple Leaf Meat Factory until he was injured and had to quit. Andrew was literate and was an avid reader (mostly Ukrainian). They both were active in their Ukrainian Catholic church, and had a beautiful garden which was their sustenance. They adopted twin boys John and Mike Pawelchak.

In 1950s-1960s, they became friends with Ernest Fedorowich and Veronica Fedorowich (nee Novak) who helped them with English, as well as other services unknown to them from the Old country, like banking and other.

Senjov Family

  • Family

Originally, the Burlak family arrived from Galicia (?) to Bosnia in 1910; they maintained their cultural heritage, and in 1951, Natalie's mother, Katerina Senjov, began the journey to Trieste, Italy. Finally her parents, Peter and Katerina Senjov, arrived in Geelong, Australia in 1954. Then they began the task of assisting the rest of the Burlak family to Australia.

Opryshko family

  • Family

Opryshko family comes from the village Wisłok Wielki situated in the eastern part of Lemko land. Since 1918 this region has been within the Polish state. Members of Opryshko family received school education at primary school under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Ukrainian. Ivan Opryshko married Maria Luchka in 1925. He came to Canada at the age of 24 in 1928. He reached Winnipeg where, thanks to Saint Raphael’s Ukrainian Immigrants Welfare Association of Canada, he met William Romaniuk, a local municipal administrator from Mundare, Alberta, with connections with farmers from the Mundare-Andrew area. Along with his two friends, also from Wisłok, Ivan was taken to work on a farm, where he spent next 6 or 7 years. Ivan's sister, Fenna, came to Canada in 1930 and settled in Vancouver. Ivan stayed in contact with Fenna and visited her in Vancouver in 1947 or 1948.

Ivan and Maria were reunited in 1932. Ivan located a homestead in Prosperity to which they moved. For Maria, the move to rural Canada was a great cultural shock, because of differences in climate, landscape, pattern of settlement, distances, community life, etc. She worked on the farm and never learnt fluent English. There was no need as many of their neighbours were Ukrainians, and Ivan had learnt enough of the language.

Mariya had 4 brothers and a sister. Paraska, her older sister and her brother Mychal were sent or chose to go to Ukraine. Paraska and her daughter Anna who remained in Poland, were displaced to a village of Dobrusha in the western part of the Soviet Ukraine in 1946. Anna Chekanska lived in Ternopil. Fedir, her oldest brother, and brothers Ivan and Andriy were displaced to the north of Poland.

Ivan had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Petro and Fitcho were sent with their mother to Ukraine. In 1946, Petro and his family were displaced to a village of Kal’ne in the western part of the Soviet Ukraine. Mychal was displaced to the north of Poland (he later returned to Wislok). Maxymilian, the youngest brother, was taken to Nazi Germany for forced labor during the war, spent 3 or 4 years in Buchenwald. After he returned to Wisłok, he joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. During the displacement he was imprisoned in the Labour Camp of Jaworzno for 4-5 years. After leaving the prison he went first to Northern Poland and returned to Wislok.

Many of Maria's and Ivan's relatives, for example, Ivan's brother Petro, wrote to them to Canada.

Mazurenko family

  • Family
  • late 1800s-

Fedor Mazurenko and Tatiana Deshlevi of the village of Zelenyi Roh, Kyiv province, which is about 150 km south of Kyiv, had three sons and one daughter. Andrew was born in 1890, Thomas in 1895, John in 1896 and Irene in 1899. They all immigrated to Canada. Andrew came first in 1910 (at the age of 20), Thomas in 1911 (at the age of 16), John in 1914 (at the age of 18) and Irene in 1914 (at the age of 16). They came to Canada at the strong urging of their father. Their mother died in 1911. They came to find a better life for themselves. Andrew and Thomas first worked in Cochrane, Ontario building the railroad. Later, Andrew moved to Alberta and got a homestead in Thorhild County. The homestead is still in the family as of 2017.

Kyforuk family

  • Family
  • 1896-1993

Sophia Kyforuk (nee Sophia Yakivna Porayko) was born on June 10, 1896, in the village of Tulova, Sniatyn Province, Western Ukraine. Her parents (Yakiv and Kateryna/Jacob and Katherine Parayko) were peasants in the old country and came to Alberta, Canada together with their five children (John, Mary, William, Alex and Sophia) in 1899, where they acquired a homestead. They stayed on the same homestead all their lives. Her father Yakiv knew how to read and write - he was the only one in the family who had had any schooling. He was interested in astronomy and for this he was nicknamed the Stargazer by the villagers. He used to go to the reading hall where he became acquainted with the booklet "O Emigratsii" (Concerning Emigration) written by Dr. Joseph Oleskiw. Yakiv was interested in public issues. It was Oleskiw's booklet that encouraged him to go to Canada. In fact, he was the first in the village to do so. He was a member of the Radical Party in the old country and he brought some literature on radicalism with him to Canada.

The family spent their first winter with Alex Chorney's family. In November of 1899, they paid for their own homestead. In 1907, a school was built in the district in which they had settled. Sophia was already eleven years old when she entered the first grade. She attended school until 1911.

They read several newspapers in our home: Ruske Slovo (Ruthenian Word), Soyuz (Alliance), Kanadiiskiy Farmer (Canadian Farmer), Chervonyi Prapor (Red Banner), Robochyi Narod (Working People), Ranok (Morning), Hromadskyi Holos (Community Voice), Novyny (News) and Ukrainskyi Holos (Ukrainian Voice).

Sophia’s brother Alex was a delegate from Calgary to the First Ukrainian Social Democratic Party Convention that was held in Edmonton in 1910. He brought back some socialist literature from this convention. He also subscribed to the Western Clarion, the Social Democratic newspaper published in English in Vancouver.

Sophia joined the Association for Self-Enlightenment as soon as it was formed in Edmonton in 1916 under the guidance of John Klebanowsky. In the years 1917-1918, she was living in the mining district of Cardiff where she was in contact with the branch of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party. She also acted parts in plays on stage and took part in concerts.

In 1927, Sophia married Peter Kyforuk (1894-1976). They farmed at Warspite, AB (near Smoky Lake) from 1937 to 1957.

Sophia was a life long member of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and its organizational predecessor, the Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association. Upon her death in 1993, her daughter, Octavia Hall, honoured the memory of her parents by donating the family home in Edmonton to the Alberta Ukrainian Heritage Foundation, along with some money, a collection of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian artifacts, and personal archival materials.

Kuryliw family

  • Family
  • 1910 -

Anna Zabolotna Kuryliw and Wasyl (Bill) Kuryliw were Ukrainian immigrants who settled in Sudbury, Ontario and became actively involved in Sudbury's Ukrainian community as well as in the community at large.

Wasyl Kuryliw was born in the village of Potochyshche, Ukraine, in 1910. He emigrated to Canada in 1928, working first in Saskatchewan as a contract farm labourer and later finding work in various places during the Depression, including Fort William. After joining Inco, he initially worked as a miner and then trained as a welder, remaining with the company until his retirement in 1975.

Anna Zabolotna was also born in Potochysche, in 1910. After receiving her elementary education in the village, she attended high school in Horodenka and completed several courses at the University in Lviv. Wasyl Kuryliw sponsored Anna's voyage to Canada in 1936 after several years of courtship by correspondence, and the couple was married immediately following her arrival. They lived first in Kirkland Lake, moving to Sudbury in 1938. Anna and Wasyl had three children: Ihor, Sonia and Oksana.

Known for his commitment to the Ukrainian community, Wasyl Kuryliw was a founder of the Ukrainian National Federation's Sudbury branch in 1930. Throughout his life, he remained a dedicated volunteer in the UNF - serving in various capacities, assisting in renovations and fundraising, and providing financial support. He also volunteered for "The New Pathway", a Ukrainian Canadian newspaper.

In the wider community, he encouraged many businesses to join the local Chamber of Commerce, volunteered at hospitals and supported other causes. He enjoyed teaching and playing the mandolin and other instruments. Kuryliw also played cello in the Sudbury Symphony and was an avid outdoorsman.

Anna Zabolotna Kuryliw was actively involved in the Ukrainian Women's Organization of Canada, serving as branch president, secretary and cultural co-ordinator. She also headed the National Executive's Organizational Committee.

In later years, they established the Wasyl and Anna Kuryliw Family Foundation at the University of Alberta. The purpose of the foundation is to fund scholarships for those studying Ukrainian ethnography.

The couple moved to Toronto in 1995; Anna Kuryliw died in 2001 and Wasyl Kuryliw in 2004.

Kule, Peter and Doris

  • Family
  • b. 1921

Peter Kule (then Petro Kuleba) was born in Stratyn in what was the Poland but is now in the Rohatyn district of Ivano-Frankivsk province of Ukraine. He came to Canada with his mother and two brothers on December 28, 1938 through Halifax. At that time, his father already settled in Two Hills, Alberta. Peter completed elementary and intermediate school in Stratyn, and secondary school in Rohatyn. In January 1939 he started in grade 1 in a school in Two Hills, as he didn't know any English, and six months later he finished the school year in grade eight. In 1940, Peter moved to Edmonton, and was trained as an accountant. The training lasted five years, and while studying, he worked as a bus boy at the Hotel MacDonald.

Peter met Doris Radesh in 1943. Doris was born near Boian, Alberta in a family of Ukrainian immigrants Usten and Mary (nee Lupul) Radesh. She was one of ten children. Doris finished nine grades at the school in Boian, and later became an elementary school teacher after teacher training at the University of Alberta. Doris and Peter were married in 1944. Doris worked in rural schools, and then at the Beverly school in Edmonton until her retirement in 1974. Peter opened his office in Edmonton i 1945. In 1950, a Ukrainian friend John Peach joined him and the firm was renamed Kule and Peach. Peach retired in 1977, and Peter was joined by his cousin's son Ken Pasnak. In 1950, Peter started investing in real estate, specifically in hotel business; the investments were successful.

The Kules attended St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral and were active in various community organizations: Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada (Peter), Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada (Doris), Ukrainian Professional and Businessmen's Club, and many others. Both Peter and Doris received numerous awards for their work, for example, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Peter a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1993, and he conferred upon Doris the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Peter and Doris supported numerous Ukrainian heritage and religious organizations: Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Ukrainian Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta, the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre at Grant MacEwan, Kule Institute of Advanced Studies, and many other.

Doris passed away in Edmonton on March 15, 2020.

Gaudun family

  • Family
  • 1905-2000s

Nicolai (Nick) Gaudun was born on the 4th of May 1905 in Stanivtsi Horishni (Verkhni Stanivtsi), Kitsman’ raion, Chernivtsi region Bukovyna. His mother’s name was Vasylyna Tsurkan, father’s name was Aftanasii Gaudun. Nick had two uncles from his father's side: Nykyfor and Maftei. Nick’s father died at the age of 70, and the mother was left with 8 children. The oldest brother John took responsibility for supporting the family. John went to the USA to Boston area in 1912 (when the father was still alive). Then the other brother Peter went to the Sates in 1913 to join his brother John. Nick's sister Elena went to Brazil same year. Nick had younger twin brother and a sister, and the youngest sister Frozina who was born in 1910. Brother Peter promised to take Nick with him to the States, but the World War I started and the connection between them terminated for a while. Because of the war Nick could not go to school, he finished only 2 grades. Only when serving 2 years in Romanian army, Nick went to school and got a telephone operator diploma. He also served as a baker in the army.

Nick immigrated to Canada at the age of 24, in 1929. He arrived to Montreal to his brother John, who at the time worked in the Queen Hotel. In Montreal he lived from 1929 until 1933. Nick worked in a baker shop owned by a Russian Jew. He also did road work for $25 per week, which helped him pay off his debt for the trip to Canada.

Stephane (Stalla) Gaudun (nee Hretciuk) was about 6-7 years old when the World War I started. She went to school only for one month and the war broke up. Stalla did not receive professional education. Her parents finished 8 grades, and they were homeschooling their children. After the war, the schools were taught in Romanian language and the parents did not know Romanian to help out their children. Stalla lost her father at the age of 13, and three children were left with the mother. Later Stalla’s mother re-married a well-to-do man and went to live to another village. Stalla's older sister Raifta went to Canada and married John Lacosta. Stalla’s brother Petro avoided service in Romanian army for 2 years, but finally he got conscripted and received brutal treatment in the army. Because Stalla's brother Petro did not want to immigrate, Stalla's mother insisted that Stalla goes to her sister Raifta to Canada. Stalla came to Canada in 1929 during Depression times. Shortly after arriving to Canada, Stalla worked cleaning houses, then she took care of two children during 6 months in a Russian Jew family in Kirkland Lake, ON. After that she worked in the rooming house 17-18 hours per day, where she had her room and board. While working there she married Nick Gaudun and moved to Montreal on the 26th of March 1932(?). Stalla also worked in meat packing for 21 cent per hour(?) where she learned meat work.

Nick got connected with Stalla throuh John and Raifta Lacosta when Stalla still was in Bukovyna. Aside from the fact that Raifta Lacosta was Stalla's older sister, Nick’s mother and John Lakosta’s mother were close friends. When Nick and Stalla got married they lived in Montreal. Later Stalla and Nick moved to Ansonville, ON, and opened their family business – Imperial Bakery, which they operated until 1946 or 1947, at which time they sold. They moved to St. Catharines where they had a grocery store for a short period (about a year). Later they had a butcher shop in Hamilton, ON, which was part of their Red and White Grocery store.

Raifta and John Lakusta had a farm in Niagara on the Lake.

Nick and Stalla had three sons: Steve, Peter, and Ted. All of them live with their families in Ontario.

Chester and Luba Kuc

  • Family

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE KUCS
Chester and Luba Kuc were born in Edmonton, and their parents were active in the Ukrainian National Federation (UNO), participating in cultural activities such as choir and drama. Because of their parents’ involvement in the Ukrainian community, Chester and Luba attended Ukrainian school where they were encouraged them to participate in cultural activities, children’s choir, orchestra, plays, skits and folk dancing.
Chester and Luba were both students of Vasyl Avramenko - the father of Ukrainian folk dancing in North America. However, little did Chester or his parents suspect that sending him for dancing classes at age seven would lead to teaching and the forming of two vibrant dance groups - Shumka and Cheremosh.
Because of their upbringing, it did not make a difference whether it was UNO, Ukrainian Catholic or Ukrainian Orthodox organizations asking them to participate - they were always ready to do their best. They believed then, as they do now, that the Ukrainian communities should work in harmony with each other.
In 1959, Chester decided to approach the best dancers from Edmonton to form a dance ensemble featuring the best talent in the Ukrainian dance field. The group’s first concert at the Jubilee Auditorium was a huge success and the first concert performed by a Ukrainian group in this facility. This unique ensemble was called Shumka. During Chester’s directorship of Shumka, the best Ukrainian talent was featured, such as volcalists Ed Evanko from New York and Volodymyr Luciw from England. Luba was featured as guest violinist at one of the concerts and was also the costume adviser.
Chester taught dancing in schools throughout Edmonton - at UNO, where he had the largest dance school in Edmonton with 350 dancers; St. John’s Cathedral; St. Elia’s Parish; Holy Eucharist Parish; St. Basil’s Parish; the Ukrainian Catholic National Hall and Smoky Lake. Luba was the costume advisor for all of these dance schools - she was very influential in setting the standard at a higher level for costumes.
In 1969, Chester was approached by the Ukrainian National Youth Federation (MUNO) to organize a dance ensemble known as Cheremosh. Cheremosh incorporated Ukrainian regional dances into their repertoire, presenting unique choreography, music and colorful new costumes. Luba was responsible for these costumes which required extensive research to ensure authenticity. At their own expense, Chester and Luba made trips to museums in Ukraine for research - Luba has an exceptional collection of photographs of costumes, embroidery designs and Pysanky resulting from these trips.
Chester taught thousands of students over his 35-year career. He was Cultural Director of the Ukrainian National Federation and acted as their president for several years. In addition to their large Pysanky collection, Chester and Luba have hundreds of Ukrainian folk art items, including shirts, carved wood articles, burnt wood artifacts, ceramics, embroideries and paintings.
Artifacts from their collection have been featured in displays at Heritage Days, the Ukrainian Museum of Canada (Edmonton and Saskatoon Branches), the Ukrainian National Federation Hall, the Muttart Conservatory, the Centennial Ukrainian Celebrations display at the Agricom and the Shevchenko Museum in Kiev, Ukraine in 1992.
The Kucs were blessed with two lovely daughters, Larysa and Daria, who began dancing at the ages of five and three and danced their way to Cheremosh.

This short history has been copied from a catalogue created by the Royal Alberta Museum for an exhibit of Chester's pysanky in 2006.