On a bright Wednesday morning with birds chirping outside her window, Odaria (Daria) heard the gentle words of her cherished sister, Sandra, who said “It’s okay to let go sweetheart, go fly with the angels.” Odaria who so loved her sister, Odaria who so loved life, Odaria who so wanted to keep living, heeded Sandra’s words, took her last breath and was gone, lifted to heaven in the comforting arms of Jesus Christ. Odaria lived the last month of her life at the Dorothy Ley Hospice where she was cared for with respect and comfort and so on this Holy Wednesday of April 24, 2019, leading up to Easter in the Ukrainian Rite, she was given a dignified departure ceremony with prayers and the music of her favourite singer, the French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, as well as the presence of close friends who quickly arrived to join Sandra to honour Odaria for her onward journey. Odaria Radysz was born on Wednesday, January 13, 1954, in Coventry, England, to her proud Ukrainian parents, Anna and Wasyl Radysz. She was a lovely child, very well behaved and also very clever. She always loved being around people whether they were young or old and enjoyed her early childhood very much. Her cherished sister Sandra (Alexandra) joined and completed the family on June 20, 1958. Being four years older, Odaria felt it was her job to take care of her sister and to protect her. Odaria attended Parkgate Primary and Junior Schools and then went on to Barrs Hill Grammar School in Coventry which at the time was one of the top ten Grammar schools in England. She was exceptionally bright and took very easily to all of her studies. Her classical schooling at Barrs Hill Grammar School nurtured her love of music, the arts and also developed her knowledge of a number of languages which she spoke with ease throughout her life. These included French, German, Greek, Italian as well as Ukrainian and English. During the summer of 1970 when Odaria was 16 years of age and Sandra was 12, they joined their mother on a holiday to Canada to visit relatives in Burlington, Ontario. It was from that early age that Odaria thought of making Canada her permanent home. Quite a few Ukrainian families from Coventry had already settled in nearby Toronto. In 1971 Odaria returned to Canada with her father for another visit. Upon her return home she completed her education attaining a two-year Private Secretary’s Certificate with languages, namely French and German at The Butts Technical College in Coventry. She worked for Rover Triumph in Canley, Coventry. In 1974 at the age of 20, Odaria embarked on a month long rail tour of Europe together with her 16 year-old sister Sandra. Their mutual love of travel was nurtured on this trip as they visited a multitude of European countries. Odaria had many occasions to use her enviable knowledge of languages. In June of 1978 Odaria decided to make the final move and emigrate to Canada. Sadly the following year, her beloved mother became very ill and Odaria and Sandra lost her on August 18, 1979. It was a difficult time for both of them. Suffice it to say Odaria has always felt the profound loss of her mother over these many years of living in Canada. Odaria found employment at Hydro followed by 20 years at the RBC (Royal Bank) and then with Aon Insurance all in downtown Toronto. Of great importance to Odaria was making friendships, which by nature was easy as she was very warm and friendly, readily drawing people to her. She highly valued her friends throughout her life continuing to be generous of heart as well as thoughtfully caring about each of their lives. Odaria was a true friend and a big presence in so many lives. Her generosity of spirit was unparalleled. She gave so much love and caring to her many friends. She devotedly cultivated her friendships as a good gardener cultivates a garden. Odaria was unique as she had a way of gluing her friendships together into a lovely network of people knowing and caring about each other. She was a valued friend to many. In particular, Odaria’s generosity of spirit prevailed when she became aware that her pastor, Rev. Dr. Myron Stasiw, had developed many serious health issues. Her selfless devotion and extraordinary care for him over a four year period of his declining health afforded him dignity and some quality of life. This pastor who for over forty years had devoted himself to his pastoral duties in the church at the expense of his own health was fortunate to have received her special care. After the pastor’s funeral, Odaria decided to honour him with a special monument at his place of repose. She spent almost two years organizing a beautiful tribute to his memory. As another reflection of her generosity of spirit, Odaria helped as a volunteer for a few years at the Dorothy Ley Hospice until her own diagnosis. Odaria was passionate about music, theatre and the arts. She nurtured this passion in her friends, organizing them to join her to see many astonishing performances over the years. Odaria was very well travelled. Besides visiting Sandra in Coventry, she travelled a few times to western Ukraine so as to get to know her many close relatives. Odaria’s favourite and most beloved city in the world was Rome. She had made plans to visit last fall but due to her declining health she had to give up her plans. On one of her last visits to Rome, Odaria was especially blessed to find herself very close to His Holiness, Pope Francis as he made his way through St. Peter’s Square in his popemobile. Last June, with the permission of her doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital, Odaria was able to take her very last trip. She visited Paris, a city which she was very fond of and enjoyed exploring, particularly its over 80 museums. When she described all of her activities in Paris even a healthy person could not have managed such a full holiday but Odaria’s resilience came through and she took advantage of every moment. Odaria and Sandra have shared a few special holidays together over recent years which cemented their sisterly bonds. Speaking about Odaria would not be complete without mentioning her love of animals. She supported many animal causes throughout the world. She shared her life with a few furry friends, Sahara, her little Lhasa Apso dog, Monty, her cat with the cutest green eyes, and her two special feline loves, Winston and Sophie, her most current and delightful companions. They both came to sense that something was amiss with Odaria as her health deteriorated. Odaria battled devastating cancers which consumed her body over a number of years while constantly living with pain but she chose to continue to live her life as best as possible in spite of her illnesses. As fatigue, with its accompanying loss of energy took over, she scaled back in all areas of her life but vowed to keep fighting. Odaria's memory to her very last day was amazing. Her clear recollection of numbers and details astounded all. She had a bright mind and was always conversant with the doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital regarding her treatment and drugs being used. Odaria was always very aware of what was happening to her as her illness progressed. It was poignantly sad for Odaria as she said goodbye to each of her many friends often with tears streaming down her face. Remaining to mourn Odaria’s passing is her cherished sister Sandra, husband Paul Vaughan, cousins Yakim and Irka and her many dear friends who grieve the passing of their most special friend. Dearest Odaria, you were born on a Wednesday, you have left us on the Holy Wednesday and we will say our final farewell to you on the Wednesday of our Ukrainian Easter Week of Light saying "Christ is Risen, Truly, He is Risen."
Dearest friend Odaria, coming to your home was exciting and so much fun. We were greeted by masses of flowers in your yard. Upon opening your door we got warm greetings from you and your little family, Winston and Sophie. We heard your beloved Philippe Jaroussky fill your home with his exquisite singing, we detected delicious aromas wafting from your kitchen. All of this added to your cozy, homey atmosphere. We will miss you and these simple everyday moments. You have blessed our lives with your beautiful presence and we have been fortunate to call you our dear friend.
Turner & Porter - Yorke Chapel
2357 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P4
Tuesday, 30 Apr 2019 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Info: Panachyda at 7 p.m.
Christ The Good Shepherd Ukrainian Catholic Church