December 17, 1925 – June 28, 2018
Beloved husband of Maria (nee Posypanko) and dear Father of Halia Wirstiuk (Orest), Irene Bojczuk (Doug). Dearest Grandfather to Markian, Xpuctunka and Iko Wirstiuk, passed on Thursday June 28, 2018 at the age of 92 years.
His passing was unexpected and full of grace, surrounded and comforted by his whole family.
Mykola was born in Turky, Kolomiya, Ukraine, December 17, 1925. He was raised in a patriotic and religious family where he developed a love and pride for Ukraine. As a young boy, he would huddle with the other boys as they tended to their flocks, reading stories of folklore and heroism, dreaming of a day when he could join the fight for a free Ukraine.
Mykola wanted to do everything possible to rid his beloved homeland of the onslaught of the Stalin communist regime. At a mere 17 years of age, he enlisted in the Ukrainian army “Diviziya” and left his family and home behind to fight for the freedom of Ukraine. Unfortunately, he would have to wait many decades before his wish for a free independent Ukraine was fulfilled.
Mykola devoted his life in every way to perpetuating and keeping the Ukrainian culture alive. After the war ended, he made his home in England where he met and married his beloved Marusia. Together with his new bride and his close ‘Diviziya’ friends, he built a new life, keeping the Ukrainian traditions alive. He spearheaded a theatrical company to share the Ukrainian culture through the performing arts. As a young boy he had studied Ukrainian dance with the legendary Director Avramenko and so it was fitting that he put his talents to good use. He organized the first Ukrainian dance group in England, “Zaporozhetz”. They had the honour of receiving an award from Queen Elizabeth of England for their first place finish at a national dance competition.
In 1958, Mykola moved his young family to Philadelphia, with his wife Marusia and their 2 year old daughter Halia. Within a few years, his second daughter Irena was born. Within moments of arriving in America, Mykola was asked to join Director Avramenko in teaching Ukrainian Dance in New York and Philadelphia.
And so he did.
For the next 40+ years, Mr. Bojczuk taught hundreds of Ukrainian children of all ages Ukrainian Dance. He taught at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St Nicholas, Sviata Pokrova, St Vladimir Orthodox Church, St Josaphat’s, St Mary’s – McAdoo, CYM. He adored children and had special names for them Charlie, Chicken, Patsyorka … he used his own brand of humor to connect and express his affection and warmth with everyone he knew. He touched countless many people’s lives.
Mykola was a selfless supporter of everything Ukrainian. In addition to the performing arts he supported and was active in many other Ukrainian organizations, serving on boards and serving the community. In 1961 he began building a summer retreat, with the help of friends and neighbors in a true barn raising style, in the community of the Ukrainian Homestead of Lehighton, PA. For many years he ran the Gold Cross Children’s summer camp there as well as in Verkhovyna, Glen Spey, NY.
He wrote and published his memoirs, copies of which remain in the libraries of Kyiv/Lviv.
Mykola Bojczuk lived a rich, meaningful, amazing life. He was a genuine patriot and hero; a kind, lighthearted and generous man with a heart of gold. He loved people. He loved life. He loved God. He cherished his family and was surrounded by them in his last moments.
He will be deeply missed.
Ukrainian Education & Cultural Center
700 Cedar Road, Jenkintown PA 19046
Ukrainian Heritage Federation