Maria Sawicky, a longtime resident of Philadelphia, died Thursday, December 3, 2020.
Born on November 15, 1924 in Horodok, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine to the late Michael and Paraskevia Szpajcher. Maria was the eldest of eight children.
Maria was the beloved wife of the late Mykola and loving mother of Eugene (Danuta) Sawicky, Daria (Joseph) Rizzello, Myron (Christine) Sawicky and the late Irina Sawicky; dear grandmother of Michael (Dianna) Sawicky, Christina (Dorian) Mazurkevich, Damien (Annette) Rizzello, Justin (Malini) Rizzello, Marcus (Julia) Rizzello, Alexander Rizzello, Nicolas (Rianna) Sawicky and Andreas (Katelyn) Sawicky; and great-grandmother of Catherine, Daniel, Mollie, Nico, Maya, Nicholas, Bodhi, and Lola.
Maria left her home in Ukraine at 17 in the middle of a world war; she was forced to leave her family and home to work on a farm in Germany. At the end of the war she met Mykola in Germany; shortly after they wed and had two children.
In 1949, with their first and second born children, they moved away from everyone and everything they knew and loved, into an unknown world, a nation of dreamers. By ship, they crossed the great Atlantic Ocean, to Ellis Island and the land of liberty. They traveled by train across a foreign country for days, ending up on a farm outside the town of Missoula, Montana where their third child was born. Sadly, within a year, tragedy struck; their second child, a daughter died (Irina) in a train accident. The grief was so great they left Montana and found refuge with friends from the old country and settled in the culturally rich city of Philadelphia. A few years later a son was born.
They worked hard to provide and raise their children. They were active in the Ukrainian community as well as their church. They established their roots in Northern Liberties where they remained for the rest of their lives.
It took Maria 31 years to return to her childhood home in Ukraine in 1971. She was able to embrace her elderly mother and siblings; it was a long-awaited reunion.
Maria was a humble person and always selfless; a truly extraordinary human being in many, many ways. She had deep faith in God, and a special devotion for the Blessed Mother. She loved her family unconditionally. She was nothing short of a chef in the kitchen-in fact her Ukrainian specialties will live on for generations.
She was always a giver and a teacher, through her actions and in the way she lived her life. She exemplified grace and dignity up until the moment of her passing.
Through her great spirit-courage resourcefulness- and integrity, she created magic for her family and everyone she managed to touch.
Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing on Friday at 9 AM at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Panakhyda Prayers will be sung at 9:50 AM). Requiem Services will begin at 10 AM. Burial will follow at St. Mary Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Elkins Park, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Maria's memory can be made to the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Maria Sawicky, please visit our floral store.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
819 N. 8th Street, Philadelphia PA 19123