Obituary of Sophie Pawluk
PAWLUK, Sophie (nee Klapuschak)
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Sophie on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at the age of 85. Beloved wife of the late Dimitro. Loving Mother to Jerry (Gwen) and Jeanne. Most awesome Baba to Jaime and Mitchell. Dearest sister to Eugene (Tamara). She will be dearly missed by her nieces and nephews; Anne (Tom) Barker, Stella (Jim) Malherbe, Sandra (Steve) Ciona, Steven (Jacqueline) Klapuschak, Lynda (Michael) Dors, Helen Melnyk and by many other extended family members. Predeceased by her sisters Mary (the late Steve), Jean and nephew John Melnyk. On a summer’s day, the backyard was where you could always find Sophie, whether it was gardening, sharing a drink or just watching the kids grow up. Always a practical joker, she loved to share a laugh. The family would like to thank the staff at the NHS- St. Catharines Site for all their care and compassion. Family and friends are welcome to the GEORGE DARTE FUNERAL HOME, 585 Carlton St., St. Catharines for visitation from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. with Panachyda being held at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2018. A Funeral Service will be held in the Funeral Home’s Ceremony Room on Monday, June 25, 2018 at 10 a.m. followed by a Rite of Committal at Victoria Lawn Cemetery, Queenston St., St. Catharines. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Walker Family Cancer Center or to St. John The Theologian Ukrainian Catholic Church.
For those of you who don't know us we are Sophie’s grandchildren, Mitchell and Jaime. We wanted to start off with a thank you note I wrote when I was 14. At the time I was visiting Saint Catharines and, with our trip was nearing its end, I found myself unable to fall asleep, upset at the thought of leaving. To calm myself down, I decided to write a thank you letter to Baba and Auntie to let them know how much we appreciated their love while we stayed over. It was Baba’s wish that we read this note today. Even though we are all hurting, I feel blessed that Baba is giving us the chance to say thank you one last time for all the love she gave us.
“Dear Baba and Jeanne,Thank you so much for letting us stay here! It was really fun! Thanks for the food, the drinks, the glowsticks and most importantly, your love. Baba- Thank you for doing everything and anything to make us comfortable. You were always putting us ahead of you and that’s a tough thing to do and I love you for it! Jeanne- Thank you for driving me all around! Guys and Dolls was very fun thank you for taking me. I can’t wait to see more! It will be our tradition! Love you big! Thank you guys for making this like my second home. I love you guys and can’t wait to see you soon! -Mitch”
While we stand in front of you today incredibly sad and mourning an extraordinary life, that was lived to its absolute fullest, we want people to know more than anything that we could not be prouder to be her grandchildren. People often tell us that she was so proud of us but we rarely get to say how proud we were of the values she passed down to us. From her work ethic, to the acts of kindness she consistently exemplified, we wouldn’t have become the people we are today if it wasn’t for her patience, passion and love. Growing up in Edmonton, Jaime and I often spent our summers in a variety of ways. However, there is no doubt that the highlight of every summer was the trip we took to Baba’s house. The quote “what happens at Grandma’s house stays at grandma's house” could never be truer for us. From the moment we arrived, Baba never passed on an opportunity to dote on us. The fridge was always stocked with all our favorites: Baba’s homemade pickles, her perogies and more than enough pop to give us a mouthful of cavities. Of course, this would be on top of the dinners she made for us, the neighbours, and anyone stopping by every night. Everyone was welcome at Baba’s and no one was made to feel like a stranger. She had a way of connecting everyone and making everyone feel like part of the family. Our Baba was everything. She was no one word. She was funny and outgoing, quiet and loud, a listener and leader. She was the world’s best cook and you could never go hungry in her house or anywhere she was. She was patient and kind. She was hardworking and dedicated to everything she did but she also knew how to let loose and enjoy every moment. She was all encompassing and truly lived every moment to its fullest. More than anything, Baba was a jokester. She loved to laugh and she loved to make other people laugh. One time she helped mom fix the garden on a visit to Edmonton and she found a rock that looked like a potato and decided it would be hilarious to put on my plate for dinner that night. There I was at dinner once everyone sat down to eat, trying to butter and stab into a rock. Everyone thought it was funny, but she was the one who laughed the hardest. Her infectious smile and contagious laugh will always be something I miss about her the most. For me, the memory that stands out the most was two years ago. Everyone else had left and I had decided to spend some quality time with Baba. While we had decided to just watch some TV and talk, this moment stood out because of our conversation. Baba told me how proud she was of her entire family, which went beyond the mere bond of blood, and included all who embodied our shared beliefs. This is the belief that all of us here continue to share today: of putting others before yourself, working hard for those you love, and knowing that the happiness of others is a reward in itself. She told me how she saw this behavior in all of us, and I can only hope she knows that many of us, myself included, wouldn’t have learned these beliefs without her exemplifying them every single day. Our parents may give us life but our grandparents give us a sense of who we are and where we came from. Our Baba brought so many people into our lives that we never even knew we needed. She introduced us to our extended family, friends of the family, and gave us some of our very best friends. She made everyone feel like part of the family and every place feel like home. They say home is a feeling not a place, but with her- home was a person. If you knew her, you knew this to be true. You could always find her outside on the patio or at the kitchen window watching all of us out in the backyard. All of us kids transformed her house on Royal Manor Drive into our own amusement park, having annual water balloon fights, glow stick parties, silly string fights and exploring the depths of the basement. She always let us play in the coat closet that we for years had made an exclusive club. You truly would have thought this closet was the gateway to Narnia. We would wait on the curb for hours waiting for cars to run over our water balloons and she was always there to bring out ice cream, popsicles, chips, or freezies. Through all of this, we grew, and Baba quickly went from watching us as kids wearing matching outfits running around the backyard, to pouring us triple shot vodka “creamsicle” drinks on the front porch and standing on the driveway waving to all of us as we piled into the van eager to be able to drive ourselves around town. None of our fun would have ever been possible without Baba’s hard work, patience, and love. Not only would Baba let us run amuck in her well-tended yard, she would make sure to buy our water balloons months in advance, tie them when we were too young to know how, and offer to help us clean up afterwards. She taught us the importance of tradition and as we got older, she ensured that we never stopped doing the things we loved as kids, making sure we had everything to recreate our favorite memories over and over again every single year. You’ll still find us all having water balloon fights, making cookie dough ice cream, running around the backyard with glow sticks, and, without failure, taking part in the infamous backyard summer concerts complete with polka dancing, singing along to brown-eyed girl and dancing until well past dark. Even when everything was perfect, no one could stop her from going the extra mile just to make you smile, if even just for a second. It never mattered who you were or how well she knew you, Baba always did this for everyone. Baba never did these actions out of necessity or duty. Baba’s actions came from a tremendous love, one that allowed her to look beyond our surface level flaws and see the worth of every individual person. I never realized this until I was reflecting earlier this week, but these actions were some of the first examples of true love that I ever saw, and my recollection of them inspires me to love everyone with the level of authentic passion that she always did. After all the silly string was picked up off the lawn and the last of her perogies were eaten, came the hardest part; saying goodbye. Baba’s house was a place where everyone was family and there was always a seat at the table for you. Leaving this place was never an easy task. I always thought this part would get easier as we got older, but it actually got harder. However, despite the tears, Baba always gave me a great deal of comfort when she said goodbye, because her hugs and her words always made it easier. Baba knew goodbyes were hard, but she also knew that authentic love spanned time and distance. Even as we are saying our final and hardest goodbye today, we know that the love we all had for Baba continues to connect us, even beyond death. Our Baba gave us many gifts over the years but nothing will ever be comparable to the gift she gave us of all of you sitting here today. We may have lost one of the most special people in our lives but we know that she lives on in every practical joke, in every unsolicited act of kindness, and in every time someone puts in the extra effort for the people that they love. We thank you so much for being here today to celebrate the amazing life she lived. Baba, we miss you so much but we hope you’re up there playing jokes on Dido and making sure everyone else up there is well fed. There are no words for how we much we love you.
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