Vera was born in Munich, Germany in 1948. When she was still an infant, she crossed the Atlantic with her family and immigrated to Montreal, Canada. After four years in Montreal, the family moved to Toronto where they settled permanently.
As a young girl, Vera displayed a true talent in the dramatic arts and one of her favourite activities was to perform in stage productions and recite multiple poems, as early as five years of age. As Vera grew she developed many other interests, which led to her avid participation in Plast Ukrainian Youth Organization, not only as an active participant but also as a beloved counsellor of youth. Vera also was an avid reader, traveller, explorer and lover of people of all walks of life and of the beauty around her.
Vera’s interests and passion inspired her to pursue degrees in science, art and education. Vera began her studies at the University of Waterloo achieving a degree in Bachelor of Science in 1972. While there, Vera received a coveted scholarship to study at the Banff School of Fine Arts over the course of a summer. It was at this time that Vera committed to her life long love and married her soulmate Andrew Witer. Vera and Andrew were married for 46 years. After marrying Andrew, Vera continued to pursue her education at the Ontario College of Art where she received a number of awards for excellence in sculpture, print making and fine arts. Vera went on to complete yet another degree at Queens University, a Bachelor of Education, which led to her teaching career of 18 years in high school Art and Biology.
Vera’s main love was art in its many forms, and during her teaching career she also blossomed as an artist. She had many exhibitions throughout her life, including at the Harbourfront Art Gallery, McPherson Art Gallery, Gallery Arakain, KUMF Gallery, various group shows in Yorkville, and she has a permanent exhibit at the Scarborough Board of Education.
At her last art exhibit Vera wrote the following:
“Travelling through New Mexico and Arizona, I became fascinated with the landscape, pueblos, canyons, as well as the history of the American Native culture. Through the media of printmaking, I created a series of etchings, notably mono-prints that depict aspects of Native Indian life such as the Shaman, the power of the Totem, the spirit of the Eagles and the incredible structure of pueblos, canyons and the desert.
My visits to Kyiv inspired me to paint a number of works, depicting people and life in Ukraine. On my most recent visit, I heard a number of choral concerts in “Pecherska Lavra”, which inspired me to paint a series of Angels.”
Although Vera was not fortunate enough to have any children of her own, she loved and adored them. She was a constant source of support and inspiration to her many nieces and nephews, as well as to her many students.
Sadly Vera succumbed to a long illness, but her love and inspiration lives on.
She will be greatly missed by her husband Andrew, her brother Ihor, all her family members and her friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre in Vera’s memory would be appreciated.