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Valentina Mulyk-Lutzyk Obituary

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Valentina Mulyk-Lutzyk, 98, at Luther Home on April 12, 2024. Valentina Mulyk-Lutzyk was born October 7, 1925, in Verbivets, a village in the Volyn region of Ukraine, the only child of Oleksandr, a priest, and Anya, a teacher. Tinochka, as she was called then, enjoyed a happy childhood on the farm with her three dogs and grey horse Sirko. They lived in a hamlet nestled among the linden, birch and poplar trees, the lull of a stream and chiming of her father’s church bells always nearby. She would toboggan down the rolling hills in the winter, and loved singing Ukrainian folk songs with her father, his deep voice booming and blue eyes twinkling. Her gentle mother Anya was beloved for helping villagers with their ailments. As a teen, Valentina went to school in beautiful Kremenets, taking a particular interest in geography, languages (eventually learning five), literature and even medicine, likely inspired by her mother.

This idyllic childhood was shattered by the Second World War in 1939, when their village was invaded first by the Soviets, and then the Nazis. The Soviets warned her to disown her father for being a priest, but she refused, meeting this adversity with dignity and strength. But she wouldn’t face these hardships alone, as Valentina met a shy young graduate student named Yuri in a café in Vishnevits in 1943. They fell in love and married, even as the shells thundered nearby. In 1944 the couple fled as refugees to Warsaw, leaving their families and eventually reaching Munich by the end of the war. They suffered many hardships in Europe, including robbery and a stillbirth, but also had many adventures, such as skiing in the German alps. In 1948 Valentina had her first child, her son Alex, in Munich.

That same year, the family flew in a small, rickety plane to Canada in the dead of winter, eventually crossing the snowy landscape by bus and train until reaching frozen Winnipeg, settling amongst the Ukrainian community in East Kildonan. Valentina immediately went to work learning English, and after mere weeks was at a basic conversational level. She worked at Perth's Laundry and Dry Cleaners until her daughter Oksana was born in 1952. Her youngest child, Sylvia, was born a few years later. Later, Valentina worked a number of jobs: at CKJS radio, at St. Andrew’s College, where Yuri was a theology and Ukrainian history professor, and at the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. She also spent many hours editing and typing Yuri’s history of the Ukrainian Church in Canada.

She would later help Yuri build a cottage in Belair Forest where the family spent many cozy summers. The couple would wake up early in the morning to go foraging for blueberries and mushrooms, returning with overflowing pails. In the evenings they’d admire the sunset over the lake, often accompanied by friends. Valentina would spend hours in the garden, sometimes with the help of her grandkids. The gardens she tended lovingly both at home and the lake radiated life and beauty. Valentina always opened her doors to friends - hers, her children’s and grandchildren’s, and even a number of international students she hosted over the years.

After Yuri’s passing in 1991, Valentina, following her vivacious and independent spirit, became a ballroom dancer, travelled the world, sang in her church choir, followed every figure skating championship, maintained many close friendships, and doted on her two grandchildren, Nick and Larissa (children of Oksana). They never lacked in good varenyky and borscht, later devoured by Larissa’s kids Avery and Darian. Valentina was the bedrock on which her family stood, and we all depended on her boundless strength, love and guidance. We will cherish the memories of our mother, our Baba, our Babucia, for the rest of our lives.

The family wishes to thank the dedicated staff at Luther Home who kept her comfortable in her last years of life. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine humanitarian crisis appeal fund: 

Funeral Rite

10:00 am

Saturday, April 20, 2024

St. Mary the Protectress Sobor

820 Burrows Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Memory Eternal! Вічна пам'ять!

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