Maria Szeptycky (nee Pleskanka), a beloved wife, mother, Baba and Prababa passed away on January 26, 2024 at the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre, leaving a legacy of love and cherished memories after a long and full life. She has joined her husband, Hryhorij, who predeceased her in 2021. She leaves behind and will be loving remembered by her devoted daughters Olya (Basil) and Natalka (William); her loving and much loved grandsons: Andrew (Emma), Peter (Kate), Mark (Caitlin) and Matthew; her cherished great grandchildren: Breanna, Isabelle, Chloe, Max, Alexander, Poppy and Kai; her caring niece, Nadiya (Stepan). She will be remembered by extended family and friends in Canada and Ukraine.
The family wishes to thank the staff of the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre, especially the nurses and PSWs on the fourth floor, who took such good care of Maria with kindness, dedication and compassion.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Maria’s name may be made to the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre or the Canada Ukraine Foundation to support Ukraine’s war efforts.
A visitation will be held Monday, January 29, 2024 at Turner & Porter Neweduk Chapel (1981 Dundas St. West, Mississauga On) between 5:00 and 7:00 pm with Panakhyda at 7:00 pm.
Funeral Rite will be held Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at Turner and Porter Neweduk Chapel (1981 Dundas St. West, Mississauga On) at 10:00 am. Internment at St. Volodymyr Cemetery.
On January 26, 2023, Maria Szeptycky (nee Pleskanka) passed away in the embrace of her daughter Natalka. She lived a long and full life, was much loved and will be missed by many, especially by her devoted daughters: Olya (Basil) and Natalka (William); her loving grandsons, Andrew (Emma), Peter (Kate), Mark (Caitlin) and Matthew; her cherished great grandchildren: Breanna, Isabelle, Chloe, Max, Alexander, Poppy and Kai; her caring niece Nadiya (Stepan); and extended family in Canada and Ukraine.
Maria was loving, resilient, determined, courageous, creative, caring and inspirational. She was her own person and a force to be reckoned with in all her “four foot nothing” stature. Motherhood for her was life defining and family became everything.
Over a century ago Maria was born in Ukraine to her parents Anna and Ivan Pleskanka. She was the middle child between two older sisters and two younger brothers. Her life was not always easy. Along with many joys life posed many hurdles to overcome. During World War II Maria was wrenched from her family, her home and all that was familiar to work in Germany. It was there that she learned to navigate life with reserve, determination and much resilience. She relied on her ability to master things quickly and her boundless energy to see her through even the direst of circumstances. In Germany she met her husband, Hryhoriy, and became a mother for the first time. With great resolve she waited a whole year with her daughter, Olya, in a displaced persons camp while Hryhoriy laboured in Canada to earn enough money for their fares to join him. They were reunited in Montreal and began a new life and a new Canadian journey. They added a second daughter, Natalka, to their family. Together they worked hard to give their daughters the opportunities they themselves never had. They both loved Ukraine and tried to maintain its traditions and pass them on to their children, but Canada had become their home. They lived in Montreal until 1977 and then moved to Waterloo to be closer to both their daughters now living in Ontario. Their union lasted seventy-five years until Hryhorij’s passing in 2021.
Maria was such a quick study that anything she put her mind to she perfected. Her creativity shone through all of her accomplishments. She was a wonderful cook, an exceptional baker, a good gardener, as well as a great seamstress who always managed to keep herself and her daughters both fashionable and well dressed.
Over the years Maria may have been defined by family life but there was always time to volunteer in both the Montreal and Waterloo communities she resided in. She participated in Ukrainian women’s, church and social organizations where she formed meaningful connections and lifelong friendships. She welcomed the experience and joy of having grandchildren and great grandchildren and delighted in all their milestones.
She approached her life the way she approached all her endeavours, constantly adapting and challenging herself while remaining focused and realistic. She was loyal, deliberate in her intentions and actions, and a fierce adversary when circumstances called for it. She was indeed a force until she wasn’t. Dementia forced her into a chaotic universe of uncertainty, fear, and a loss of personality, memory and even dignity. And yet, even then, there were moments of wisdom and connection, moments of luminescence and clarity and an enduring playful sense of humour. As the consequences of dementia softened, she again became more the person she used to be. She often inquired about those that were dear to her. With her smiles, kisses and expressions of gratitude she was able to draw even the most reluctant into her orbit.
She gave us life and leaves us with a legacy of love. Her courage and resilience will continue to inspire and nurture us as we face the future without her.