It is with profound sadness that the family announces the peaceful passing of our dear mother and grandmother, Sophie Sytnyk of Shoal Lake, MB. Sophie died on May 28, 2019, at the Shoal Lake-Strathclair Health Centre, with family at her side, at the age of 96 years.
Sophie was predeceased by her husband Joseph Sytnyk, sisters Anne Koski and Mary Kowal, and her parents Steven and Catherine Wasilka. Cherishing her memory are her twin sister Eileen Ewachewski and sister-in-law Phyllis Tutkaluk of Shoal Lake, MB, brother-in-law Alex Sytnyk (Pat) from Newport Beach, CA, three sons Glen J. Sytnyk of Winnipeg, MB (daughters Sarah and Shelby), Brian Sytnyk of Reston, MB (son Jordan Allard) and Perry Sytnyk (Darlene, daughters Laura, Breanne and son James) of Shoal Lake, MB, two daughters Adele Thorne of Vancouver, BC (daughter Maya Korbynn) and Gayle Mitchell (Randy, sons Cameron, Alex and Jordan) of West Kelowna, BC, in addition to Sophie's nieces and nephews, close friends and neighbours.
Sophie (Sophia) and her twin sister Eileen were born April 5, 1923, in the rural municipality of Vista, MB. Their parents, Steven and Catherine Wasilka (nee Polechata), had two older daughters, Anne and Mary. In 1930 the family moved south of Shoal Lake where Sophie and Eileen attended Ethel School for Grades 1 to 8. They often walked two miles or rode a pony to this one room school. Eight years later the family moved one mile east of Shoal Lake where they attended high school. Upon Sophie's Grade 12 graduation in 1941 Permit Teachers were required as many teachers were called to serve in WW II. Sophie accepted a position at Ridgeland School in Sundown, located in the south-eastern corner of Manitoba. She shared many fond memories of her full year of teaching in the one room school house while boarding with the wonderful Strymbiski family. In 1942-43 Sophie attended Normal School in Winnipeg to further her teaching education. Thereafter, from 1943 to 1946 she enjoyed teaching Grades 1 to 8 at King School, a one room school house just northwest of Shoal Lake.
Between the years 1941 to 1946, while Sophie was teaching, she corresponded to her sweetheart Joseph Sytnyk of Oakburn. On Nov. 17, 1946 they were married at Dolyny Church north of Oakburn, MB and they began farming seven miles south of Shoal Lake in the Raven Lake District until 1991 when they built a new home in Shoal Lake. They were blessed with five children, namely Adele (1950), Glen (1952), Brian (1954), Gayle (1956) and Perry (1962), all of whom were born in Hamiota Hospital. Over the years both Sophie and Joe were very involved in their children's school activities and community clubs. Sophie especially encouraged her children to participate in Shoal Lake 4-H and McConnell 4-H Beef Club activities including public speaking, to travel extensively, to take music lessons, and most importantly Sophie ensured all her children achieved a university education.
Sophie was very committed to participating in numerous community organizations. On Oct. 24, 2015 she was awarded an Honourary Life Membership with Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies in recognition of her 39 years of meritorious service with Shoal Lake Agricultural Society. She was Director of Horticulture at the annual Shoal Lake Fair for roughly 20 years and an exhibitor at the Shoal Lake and Hamiota fairs for over 40 years. She was a member of the Shoal Lake Royal Canadian Legion Auxiliary Branch #72 for 21 years where she served as President in 2000 and 2001. In 1979 Sophie received recognition from the Canadian Council on 4-H Clubs for over 19 years of Leadership. She was active with the St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Shoal Lake throughout her life.
Sophie was a passionate gardener and a talented artist. She enjoyed writing and wasn't afraid to pen a strong letter to support a good cause. She frequently submitted items of interest to the local Crossroads newspaper. Sophie and Joe loved travelling and made family trips to Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, Florida, California, and Arizona. At 88 years of age Sophie enjoyed a cruise to Alaska with her daughters Adele and Gayle and her granddaughter Maya. Remarkably, at the age of 95 Sophie made a memorable road trip to West Kelowna with her sons Glen J. and Brian to celebrate Christmas with daughter Gayle and son-in-law Randy Mitchell. This trip was a perfect example of how Sophie encouraged many others to dream big, to believe in and to achieve your life goals regardless of age, gender, ethnic background or personal challenges. She was a real inspiration.
The Celebration of Life was held on June 6, 2019 at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Shoal Lake with Father Mykhaylo Khomitskyy officiating. Interment followed at the Ukrainian Catholic Parish Cemetery. Crossbearer was grandson James Sytnyk. Pallbearers were Rick Ewachewski, Jordan Allard, Randy Mitchell, Ian Paterson, Lynda Wasylyshyn and Ron Gerelus. Honorary Pallbearers were Alex Sytnyk, Lionel Ditz, Delmar Hrysak, David Sytnyk and John Simpson. If friends so desire, donations may be made to Shoal Lake Agricultural Society or Prairie Mountain Regional Museum, Shoal Lake, MB, R0J 1Z0. Rae's Funeral Service was in care of arrangements.