My brother Mark and I were in the room with Baba at the very moment that she passed away. She was in the process of dying from old age and advanced dementia for the past few months.
The following is the obituary that will appear in tomorrow's paper. It is the product of many minds--I typed it up, but just about everyone in our family has had their input into it:
Iwaskewycz, Maria (maiden name Chovhana), age 87, passed away 2/7/08. She is preceded in her death by her husband Mykhajlo (“Mike”), daughter Katya, and in Ukraine by her parents and 4 siblings. She is survived by her children Ivanna Rebet (husband Andrij), Robert (wife Lydia) and Leo (wife Chris), her grandchildren (Taras, Stefan, Mark, Michael, Lana and Katya), her great-granddaughter (Julija), her brother Evhen (wife Zhdana) and his family, and in Ukraine by her sister Slavka (husband Ivan) and other family. Maria was, and her family will be, ever grateful for the opportunities provided by life in America after WWII. In the U.S., Maria and her husband were able to continue in the struggle for a free and independent Ukraine while free to live, make a good living, and raise a family without the political persecution they had known in their homeland. With her husband Mykhajlo and other community members Maria was co-founder of the Ukrainian American Community Center of Minneapolis and was a lifelong member of St. Constantine’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, where she was active in parish life. Also with her husband, Maria funded a variety of Ukrainian organizations--including the Ukrainian Free University in Munich--and after Ukrainian independence, funded construction of three churches in Ukraine. MARIA HAD A PASSION FOR FLOWER GARDENING and in her final days rediscovered a youthful love for singing Ukrainian folk songs. The family wishes to thank all of our mother’s friends who visited and helped during her illness, with special thanks to Mrs. Olha Lytvyn and to her nurse, Lucille. Memorials preferred to St. Constantine’s Church.There is so much that I really want to say, but little I feel able to, for now. For now. More later.
For now, here is a link to a YouTube video of a Ukrainian-Canadian woman singing Vichnaja Pamjat (they, for some reason, disabled the "embed video" function, so this only just a link): here.