Maria Chlibkewycz, age 92, passed away Friday March 1st, 2019 at Lankenau Hospital from complications of Lymphoma.
Maria was born in Eastern Ukraine, in the town of Tsarychanka, near Poltava on April 26, 1926. At the age of six she lost her entire family during Stalin’s policy of forced, artificial famine (Holodomor) 1932-1933. She was raised in an orphanage until she was taken to a forced labor camp in Germany during WWII. She never complained or dwelled about her difficult childhood remaining resilient and positive throughout her life.
She met and married her late husband Joseph in Germany and welcomed their eldest child, Anna. When the war ended she, Joseph and their young daughter waited for sponsorship to immigrate to the United States. With the help of the Ukrainian American Relief Association, they arrived in New York in December, 1949 with excitement and gratitude. After living in New York City a short time they settled in Philadelphia.
Maria was employed as a seamstress for a clothing manufacturer for almost 30 years in Philadelphia before retiring. Her positivity, kindness, compassion and loving nature, especially toward children and animals, was contagious. She loved spending time and creating memories with her family. She provided them with unconditional love as well as cooking and sharing her delicious meals. She was a bright light and source of inspiration to those lucky enough to know her.
Maria is survived by her daughter, Anna Besik, son, Michael (Rhona) and daughter, Maria Kozak (Petro) , step-daughter, Sofya Kraynyk; and her grandchildren, Christy Gamber (Ryan), Lt. Colonel Jon Besik (Karen), Joseph Kozak, Stephanie Kozak and Marianna Kozak and six great-grandchildren.
Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing on Friday at 9 AM at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 830 N. Franklin Street, Philadelphia PA. Requiem Services will be celebrated at 10 AM. Burial will follow at St. Mary Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Elkins Park, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Maria's memory may be made to the following:
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
819 N. 8th Street, Philadelphia PA 19123
United Ukrainian-American Relief Committee
1206 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19111
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Donor Services PO Box 98018 Washington DC 20090-8018, Washington DC 20090