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Helen LewyckyjHelen Lewyckyj was born Helen Federowska in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, a charming small city about a 3-hour drive from the capital city, Kiev. She was one of several siblings, mostly sisters and one brother. Her father was a principal engineer at a local factory that produced sugar from sugar beets, a Ukrainian staple. Her mother passed away at an early age, and Helen, as one of the younger siblings, was raised with devotion by an older sister and her dad. As a child, she loved to swim and to ski. As a teenager she was a competitive long distance swimmer. She completed the highest level of a European high school education at age 16, but within a month of graduation was taken captive by German soldiers during the invasion in June 1941 and sent to Germany to work. Among other things, she worked as a housekeeper and barmaid for a local farmer who operated a restaurant in his home. She always worked hard, had to persevere through verbal abuse by some, and even stared down the barrel of a German officer's handgun, but was treated fairly by others.
She met Ivan "John" Lewyckyj at the end of WWII, after he was liberated from Dachau concentration camp by the US Third Army. They married in Germany and as part of the Allied relocation plan made plans to leave Germany. John had hopes of relocating to Austria where he would farm the land for his livelihood, but Helen insisted "No, we are going to America!" And so with two children in tow, Alex and Don, the family sailed to America and arrived in Boston, not Ellis Island, in 1949. With sponsorship from a community of other Ukrainians, the family took residence in Buffalo, New York. John eventually got a job with Ford Motor Company and Helen worked evenings cleaning in a local bank. Sons Walter and Raymond were born in Buffalo. When Ford relocated to Lorain, so too did the family, purchasing the small farm in Amherst on Dewey Road. Daughter Marianne was born in Elyria Hospital.
John continued to work at Ford, the Baumhart Road facility, and farmed the property. John and Helen loved the farm and devoted a lot of work and attention to it. They grew all sorts of vegetables, manned a road-side stand, maintained a small vineyard and orchard, and raised a few head of livestock every year. A special source of pride was their rose garden, which at one point numbered 1200 flowers. Countless numbers of people, most on their way to Polansky's Meat Market down the street, would stop alongside the road to marvel at the roses.
Helen was a devoted mother and took a great deal of pride in her four surviving children and their families, 11 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. She enjoyed attending mass and banquets sponsored by her church, St. John's Ukrainian Catholic Church, in Lorain. In her day she was famous for her homemade pierogies which she would contribute toward fundraising. She loved to read and amassed an impressive collection of Ukrainian books.
She is survived by four children: Alex (Diane) of Vermilion, Don (Lori) of Lorain, Raymond (Beth) of McLean, Virginia, and Marianne (Scott) of Woodbridge, Virginia. She was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, John and a son, Walter.
The family will receive friends on Wed., Jan. 18, from 2-4 and 6-8 pm, in the Dovin Funeral Home, 2701 Elyria Avenue, Lorain, where a panachida will be held at 7:00 pm. Morning prayers will be held on Thurs., at 9:30 am, in the funeral home, followed by Divine Liturgy, at 10:00 am, at St. John Ukrainian Catholic Church, 3038 Charleston Ave., Lorain. The Rev. Fr. Steven Paliwoda, Pastor, will officiate. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Lorain.
JAN 19. 10:00 AM
St. John Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church
3038 Charleston Avenue
Lorain, OH, US
Dear Marianne & Family, I am sadden to see the loss of your Dear Mother. It was a pleasure meeting her & I could tell how proud your parents were of you Marianne. God Bless you all. Love & Prayers to you. Love Donna
Donna Duplessie - February 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
The Smith Family, Brad and I are so so to hear about the loss of your Mother. She sounds like she was a very strong woman. Marianne I see where you get it from. You and your family are in our prayers it is always hard. Just remember she is in a better place now.
The Curtis Family - January 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
We are so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she was a hard working woman. I hope the words in Isaiah 57:15 will bring you hope and comfort.
Barb & Tom Layton - January 23, 2012 at 02:57 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
I sure enjoy knowing your family. I always liked your mom a lot. She was special person to know. It makes me sad I couldn't attend the visitation or funeral services. I certainly have alot of memories growing up next door. i was always able to undersand her english. I was always impressed with the fact she could speak 5 languages. i still remember hearing her stores about the German people........ I am sure you will all miss her. You are lucky to have such a grand person love to all you Tommie
tommie bradley - January 19, 2012 at 04:31 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
Linda and the whole Lewickyji family My thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of sorrow.
Tom Young - January 18, 2012 at 02:27 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
Don, Please accept my condolences and prayers at the loss of your Mother. My prayer is that God give you and your family strength and comfort during this difficult time. I am in Florida for the winter and cannot attend the viewing but know that my thoughts and and prayers are with you.
Robert "Duke" Peak - January 18, 2012 at 08:19 AM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
Don & Family: May God grant you strength and peace to get through this difficult time. Although it is hard to bear, we know that He makes no mistakes. Know that we are praying for you and your family. Gracie and Harry
Gracie and Harry Vauls - January 17, 2012 at 03:00 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
Dear Marianne and Don, I cannot tell you how sorry I was to hear of the passing of your beloved mother. She was utterly charming, warm and delightful! You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Eternal rest grant unto Helen, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Mary Springowski - January 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
You are all in my thoughts & prayers. I have such happy memories of your Mom. She always loved & cared so much for everyone. Her perogies were so delicious and you could taste the love in every bite. My love to you all. Kathe
Kathe Russell - January 17, 2012 at 01:13 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM
Marianne and family, you are in our thoughts and prayers. We love and miss you!
The Chamberlin Family - January 16, 2012 at 11:46 PM Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM