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University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections Family

Klymkiw Family

  • klymkiwfamily
  • Family
  • 1926-2000

Walter (Volodymyr) Klymkiw was born in the village of Saranchuky, Ternopil’ province in what was then eastern Poland (now Ukraine) in 1926. Emigrating to Canada in 1928, he and his parents settled in Winnipeg. In 1950, he earned a B.A. in English and History at the University of British Columbia. He returned a year later to Winnipeg and received a teaching certificate from the University of Manitoba. In 1951, he began conducting the Ukrainian National Federation Choir (renamed the Olexander Koshetz Choir in 1967) of Winnipeg, under the guidance of Tetiana Koshetz and Pavlo Macenko. His love of Ukrainian music was fostered back in the mid-1940s, when he attended the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre's Summer Music Courses conducted by the legendary Ukrainian Musicologist, Olexander Koshetz (Oleksander Koshyts'). In 1952, Klymkiw married Mary (Marusia) Kopychansky and had two sons: Myroslaw (Slawko) and Paul. Upon receiving his teaching certificate, Klymkiw began his career as a history teacher, in 1953, at Glenwood Junior High School in the St. Vital school division in Winnipeg. In 1961, he was appointed principal of Hastings Elementary and Junior High School, a position which he held until 1979. In 1979, he returned to Glenwood Junior High School where he served as its principal until 1983. In 1983, he was appointed music supervisor and served in this capacity until retiring later that year.

Retirement allowed Klymkiw to devote more time to being the choral director of the Olexander Koshetz Choir. During his nearly fifty years with the choir, Klymkiw and his choir toured throughout Canada, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Western Europe, and South America. The choir went on to record two CDs, nine cassettes, and six records. For nearly half a century, he maintained and developed contacts with Ukraine's composers and artists. He fostered a special relationship with Anatoli Avdievsky (Anatolii Adiievs'kii), director of the world renowned Ver'ovka (Veriovka) Ukrainian State Folk Choir, a relationship which led to Ver'ovka's first Canadian tour in 1981. Besides his choir, Klymkiw and his wife devoted much of their time to various community activities including the Ukrainian National Federation (national and St. Boniface branch) and the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre, Oseredok. They were involved in various commercial ventures including the Ukrainian House of Gifts, DK Attractions Ltd., and Canimplex Ltd. The latter two ventures involved bringing in various musical artists and groups from Ukraine to perform concerts for Canadian audiences. In recognition of his cultural achievements and contributions, Klymkiw received the Shevchenko Medal from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Osvita Foundation Award, a Certificate of Merit from the federal Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship, and an honourary Doctor of Canon Law Degree from St. Andrew's College of the University of Manitoba. In 1992, Klymkiw and the Olexander Koshetz Choir were awarded the Taras Shevchenko Medal from the government of Ukraine, the first such honour given to an individual or group outside of the country. In 1999, the Olexander Koshetz Choir paid tribute to Klymkiw with an evening gala for his lifetime devotion to Ukrainian culture and music in Canada. They honoured him by establishing the Walter Klymkiw Endowment Fund at the University of Manitoba School of Music and Music Education. In December 2000, after a lengthy battle with cancer, Walter Klymkiw died at the age of seventy-four in Winnipeg.

Martynec Family

  • martynec_family
  • Family
  • 1899-2018

The Martynec family, although not entirely representative, was part of the post-World War II wave of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons who settled in Canada.
Volodymyr Martynec (1899-1960) was born into a Ukrainian middle class family in the city of Lviv (then also formally known as Lemberg [in German] or Lwów [in Polish]), Crownland of Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Ukraine). He was educated in the city’s primary and secondary schools and participated in the Ukrainian armed struggle for independence (1918-20) as a member of the (Ukrainian) Sich Riflemen. After the Great War he was active in the Ukrainian student movement while studying law at Lviv’s Ukrainian Underground University (1921-23), economics at the Higher Commercial School in Prague, Czechoslovakia (1923-26), political science and journalism in Berlin, Germany (1927-29), and philosophy at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France (1934-36). In 1927, he became one of the leaders of the underground Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and one of the founders of the militant and radical Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In subsequent years, he served as a member of the OUN Leadership (Provid) and as editor of some of its most important ideological journals, including Surma (The Bugle; 1927-33), Rozbudova natsii (Building the Nation; 1928-1934) and the Parisian Ukrains’ke slovo (The Ukrainian Word; 1934-40). In 1941, Martynec and his family returned to German-occupied eastern Galicia or western Ukraine where he became one of the leaders of the OUN Melnyk faction (OUN[m]). In 1944 the Germans incarcerated Martynec at the Brätz (Brójce) Work / Re-Education (Arbeitserziehungslager) camp in western Poland. After the war, Martynec and his family spent time in the Displaced Persons’ Camps in Karlsfeld (1945-46) and Berchtesgaden (1946-48), Germany. In January 1949, the family left Germany and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where Martynec became one of the editors of the weekly Novyi shliakh (New Pathway; 1949-60), the official organ of the Ukrainian National Federation, a Ukrainian-Canadian mass organization ideologically aligned with the OUN(m). He also served on the presidium of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee. The author of 18 books and pamphlets, in particular Ukrains’ke pidpillia: vid UVO do OUN (The Ukrainian Underground: From the UVO to the OUN; 1949), and over 4,000 periodical and newspaper articles, Martynec died in Winnipeg in 1960.

Around 1930 Martynec married Irena Turkevycz (1899-1983), the daughter of a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, catechist, choir conductor, and music critic. Born in the town of Brody, she grew up and was educated in Lviv and in Vienna. Her education included music lessons (voice, piano, theory) from a very early age, and featured private instruction by the composer Stanyslav Liudkevych. During the 1920s Irena studied music and acting at the Lviv Conservatory and drama school, made her debut as a concert soloist, and also performed on the stage of the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. During the early 1930s she studied voice at the Berlin University of the Arts, and in Prague, where she sang with the Prague Opera. Between 1942 and 1944, when the family resided in Lviv, she sang a number of major roles with the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. She continued to participate actively in Ukrainian opera and theatre productions in Karlsfeld, Karlsbad and Berchtesgaden, Germany, during the immediate post-war years. After emigrating to Canada in 1949, Irena Turkevycz-Martynec was particularly active with youth and children’s groups, staging and directing very successful and memorable productions of Mykola Lysenko’s children’s operetta Koza-Dereza (in the early 1950s and then again in 1964), and Zymova kralia (The Snow Queen) in 1965. In 1967, her troupe of youthful singers performed Koza-Dereza at Expo 67. She passed away in Winnipeg in 1983.

Lew Martynec (1934-2018), the only child of Volodymyr Martynec and Irena Turkevycz-Martynec, was born in Paris, France, where he spent the first seven years of his life and started his primary education. He accompanied his parents when they returned to western Ukraine in 1941 and spent his teenage years in the Displaced Person’s camps in Karlsfeld and Berchtesgaden, Germany. He completed his high school education in Winnipeg and studied engineering at the University of Manitoba (but apparently did not graduate). He worked for the City of St. Boniface and the City of Winnipeg as a department manager responsible for approving street construction plans. An avid outdoorsman, he passed away in 2018.
Stephania Luchynska-Pohorecky (“Doda”) (1923-2015), an only child and an orphan, was the niece of Irena Turkevycz-Martynec. She joined the Martynec family in Lviv around 1943 and stayed with the family as they migrated from western Ukraine to the Displaced Person’s camps in Karlsfeld and Berchtesgaden, Germany, and then on to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg she met and later married Zenon Pohorecky (the son of “Novyi shliakh/New Pathway” founder and co-editor Michael Pohorecky), an anthropologist who completed his PhD at the University of California (Berkeley) and taught for many years at the University of Saskatchewan.

The fonds also contain several photographs of Stefania Turkewicz-Lukianowicz (1898-1977), older sister of Irena Turkevycz-Martynec, a composer, pianist and musicologist, educated in Lviv and Prague, who immigrated to the United Kingdom after WWII.

Melnyk family

  • Melnyk Family
  • Family
  • 1915-2012

Stefan Sytnyk, 1897 – 1989 . Stefan Sytnyk was born in Ternopil, Crownland of Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Ukraine) in 1897, one of five children. He worked as a skilled tradesman in his early years, and drove trains during the First World War. In 1926, he immigrated to Canada, followed by his wife Eugenia one year later; together they settled in Winnipeg where they would live for the rest of their lives. At first, Stefan worked for the railroad, but he had an entrepreneurial bent so after a few years, he and his wife, assisted by their only child Irene, opened a grocery store in Winnipeg’s North End which they operated until the early 1940’s. Supported by this business, Stefan began acquiring what became an extensive collection of rental properties throughout Winnipeg which he determinedly maintained himself even well into his eighties! Through his lifetime of hard work and frugal living, Stefan supported his wife’s extensive activities in the Ukrainian community and built a foundation for the future financial security and success of his family.

Eugenia Sytnyk, 1900 ? – 1975 . Eugenia Sytnyk was born in Ternopil, Crownland of Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Ukraine). She became interested in community work very early in life, organizing women’s groups, cooperatives and schools, and serving with the Red Cross during the First World War She followed her husband Stefan to Canada in 1927, settling with him in Winnipeg where they had their only child Irene one year later. Eugenia continued her involvement in community work, teaching school, editing women’s and children’s pages of Ukrainian newspapers and helping Ukrainian immigrants adapt to life in Canada. She became a founding member of the Ukrainian Women’s League as well as of the Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada (UWOC) and also took on executive positions with a wide variety of local and national Ukrainian organizations, including the Ukrainian Canadian Women’s Committee and the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations. Eugenia was recognized for her many years of service to the Ukrainian community with the Shevchenko Medal for Meritorious Service at the ninth Congress of Ukrainians in Canada, and the City of Winnipeg Community Service Award medal.

John Melnyk Sr., 1916 – 2009. John Melnyk was the elder son of Mykola and Palagia who immigrated to Canada from Ukraine and met and married in Winnipeg. From an early age, John was drawn to the piano, studying it enthusiastically from 1924 to 1938, first with Maria Kekishiwna (a pupil of Anton Rubinstein), Leda Omansky, and finally Beryl Ferguson under whose tutelage he earned his Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music, London in 1935. He became a well-known performer in Winnipeg, participating in the Saturday Night concert series sponsored by the Men's Music Club of Winnipeg, performing live-to-air broadcasts for CBC, touring Western Canada with up-and-coming Canadian musicians, and accompanying touring international artists on their Canadian appearances. He also composed three preludes, a sonata, a concerto, and two sets of variations, all for piano and all unpublished. In later life he settled into teaching which he continued well into his eighties. Twenty-four of his students won the Aikins Memorial Trophy as top instrumentalist in the Manitoba Music Festival, with which he was associated for over 70 years. That festival now annually awards the John Melnyk trophy and bursary for the best performance of a piano concerto.

Irene Melnyk, 1928 – 2012 . Irene was the only child of Ukrainian immigrants Stefan and Eugenia Sytnyk. She grew up helping her parents in their store, accompanying her mother to community meetings, participating in Ukrainian groups and taking piano lessons from John Melnyk whom she married in 1948. Irene was then attending the University of Manitoba from which she received a Bachelor of Science in 1950. Shortly thereafter her two sons were born, and she devoted herself wholeheartedly to raising them, yet still found time to teach Ukrainian and Sunday school, publish two Ukrainian primers with her friend Nadia Pip, as well as teach piano in her husband’s burgeoning studio and publish a scale book for beginners with him. As her sons grew older, Irene turned her energies and love of learning to holistic health. She opened a health food store under the Shaklee organization, studied extensively at the Moreau Institute of Natural Healing, and also earned credentials in Physical Health, Natural Nutritional Sciences and Natural Therapeutics among others. She became a respected reflexologist and teacher, serving on the Reflexology Association of Canada (RAC) board of directors for several years; RAC awarded her a lifetime membership in 1997 and recognized her as Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2006.

Michalchyshyn Family

  • michalchyshyn_family
  • Family
  • 1909-2009

The Michalchyshyn family is one of many Ukrainian pioneer families who have shaped the history of Ukrainians in Manitoba. Walter Michalchyshyn was born on June 24, 1909 in Byczkiwci (Chortkiw), Crownland of Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Ukraine). In 1923, he came with his parents, George (Yurii) and Kateryna Michalchyshyn to Canada, and settled in Portage la Prairie. His parents were deeply religious and were very active in the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Portage la Prairie. They inspired their children and Walter followed his father’s footsteps, and became a cantor in Ukrainian Catholic churches.

In 1935 Walter married Catherine Kuzyk and worked as a baker in Brandon. Catherine was a devoted member of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League and other Ukrainian women’s organization. In 1948, the couple bought a bakery in Shoal Lake and worked there until 1959. When they moved to Winnipeg, Walter got a position as a supervisor at the Donut House. Walter was a member of the Parish Council of St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, and the St. Nicholas Mutual Benefit Association. Walter and Catherine Michalchyshyn had five children: Irene (Gajecky), Stella (Hryniuk), Joseph, Ivan, and Ray. They are all educated professionals who followed their parents’ example in their love for Ukrainian culture and history. Catherine Michalchyshyn died on October 8, 2009 predeceased by Walter Michalchyshyn, who died on September 1, 2000

Post Family

  • postfamily
  • Family
  • 1903-1958, 1974

Stephen Elesworth Post was born on February 24, 1878 in West Bend Iowa, U.S.A. In June 1880, he immigrated to Canada with his parents and settled at Woodmore, Manitoba. He lived and worked with his parents until 1898. He then moved to a homestead near Overstone, Manitoba where he farmed for five years. On November 3, 1903, Stephen Post bought the N.W. quarter 9-3-4 in the R.M. of Franklin (near Dominion City). He moved to the farm on this property in 1904, where he resided until his death.

On March 10, 1908, Stephen Post married Orythia Myrtle Post (maiden name unknown), who was born at Greenridge, Manitoba on May 22, 1887. They had two children: C. Myrtle Post, born on January 25, 1909, and Elesworth F. Post, born on May 18, 1910. Both children worked on the farm with their parents. Stephen Post died on February 19, 1954. Orythia Post died on November 6, 1963. C. Myrtle Post died on September 17, 1983. Elesworth F. Post died in 1998.

Spencer Family

  • spencer_family
  • Family
  • 1880-[197?]

Percy Spencer was born in England and came to Canada in the 1880s. He homesteaded in the Russell area, and had seven children with his wife. One of their daughters, Lucy, became a Registered Nurse (R.N.) in 1931. Her diaries are particularly interesting for what they reveal about women's education and careers in the first part of the 20th century. Scholars in the fields of Women's Studies and History will find much useful information in these diaries. Percy Spencer also wrote consistently and over a long period of time on the problems of homesteading.

Stobie Family

  • stobie_family
  • Family
  • 1909-2007

William Stobie was born June 1st, 1911 in London, England. He obtained a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto and briefly did graduate work at the University of Illinois before returning to the University of Toronto to continue course work for a Ph.D. in English. In 1938, William married Margaret Roseborough, also a Ph.D. in English. That year he obtained an appointment to the faculty of De Pauw University in Greencastle, Indiania. The couple next moved to Missouri where William taught at the University of Missouri and Margaret taught at the Christian College for women. In 1944 they embarked on a two-year stint at Cornell University. In 1946 both Margaret and William joined the English Department of the University of Manitoba as assistant professors. William's area of expertise was Nineteenth-Century English writers. He participated in a lecture for University on Air in 1947 on the poet Frank Scott. William was the President of the Winnipeg Little Theatre Group in 1955-1958. William was active in the University unions and was President of the staff association of UMSU during the Harry Crowe affair. William sat on several university committees including the University College Building Committee. He attained the rank of Associate Professor in 1954 and full professor in 1967. He was the director of Summer and Evening session from 1965-1976. William Stobie retired in 1976 after 30 years with the English Department. William Stobie died in 2007.

Dr. Margaret (Peg) Roseborough was born in Vermillion, Alberta on February 26th, 1909. She received her B.A. from the University of Alberta in 1930. Margaret was awarded an IODE Overseas Fellowship and did an Honours Degree in English at King's College University of London in 1932. She returned to Canada completing an M.A. in 1934, and a Ph.D. in 1937, at the University of Toronto. The following year she published An Outline of Middle English Grammar with MacMillan's, and taught at Victoria College. In 1938, she married William Stobie. The couple moved to DePauw University in Indiana in 1938. From there, they moved to Missouri where Margaret returned to teaching at Christian College a Women's Institution. William and Margaret Stobie taught at Cornell University for two years from 1944-1946 before joining the English department at the University of Manitoba. Margaret was forced to retire from teaching with the inception of the nepotism law in 1950. She spent the next several years acting, producing and directing local theatre as well as working for the CBC in various dramatic roles and as a book reviewer on Critically Speaking. In 1958 she took an appointment at United College, but resigned in protest over the dismissal of Harry Crowe at the end of the year. In 1959 she was hired by St. John's College. From 1962-1965 she was on the executive of the College's Chapter of CAUT. In 1966 she attained the rank of full professor. Two years later she became a member of Senate and in 1971 she was appointed to the Research Grants Committee and Research Board. Margaret was the first women appointed to the academic panel of the Canada Council and was a board member of the Associations of Universities and Colleges of Canada. She wrote two more books A Critical Study of Frederick Philip Grove , Twayne Publisher (1973), and The Other Side of the Rebellion (1986). She was appointed to Professor Emeritus in 1975. Margaret Stobie died July 15, 1990. The University of Manitoba holds a lecture in Dr. Stobie's memory.

Strange, Davison, Thompson and Griffiths Families

  • sdtgfamilies
  • Family
  • 1860-2003

These papers were created by families of Theodore Strange, Andrew Davison, Thompson and Mary Ann Griffiths. Theodore Strange married Mary Ann Griffiths and together they had four children, Nita, Ella, Sims, and George. Strange worked in Winnipeg for a short while to earn money to buy land for a farm and relocated his family to Green Ridge in 1878. He died in October 1879 of pneumonia and complications from injuries received during the U.S. civil war. The following year Mrs. Strange married Andrew Davison of Green Ridge. They had five more children, Mary, Llewie, Lizzie, Bill and Bert. Andrew died in 1933 and Mary Ann in 1936; the farm was bequeathed to Bert and Bill Davison, neither of whom married. Upon their deaths, Theo Stancel Strange, the son of Sims Strange, inherited the farms. Lizzie married Thompson and had a daughter Edith Thompson. Edith lived on the farm most of her life.