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On the morning of May 21, 2023, Maria Oksana Stusyk-Trycieckyj passed away peacefully at home in Philadelphia, PA surrounded by her husband Teodozij and her children Andrij and Natalka. Maria “Oksana” was 84 years old.
Oksana was born in Ternopil, Ukraine on May 21, 1939. Later that year World War II began and soon Oksana’s life journey would take a new path. A few years later the war engulfed Ukraine and Oksana’s mother, Irina Murij, packed a couple of suitcases and took Oksana as they were forced to leave their beloved homeland in search of safety and a better life. They traveled by foot west through war torn countries of Ukraine and Poland. Arriving in Innsbruck, Austria, Irina and young Oksana were settled in a displaced persons camp along with many refugees. It was here that Oksana’s love of education began in the school system set up for escaping refugees. A few years later their journey continued to the United States of America. After crossing the North Atlantic, they arrived at Cambridge, Massachusetts harbor where Irina threw their belongings overboard and told Oksana we will begin our new lives here. Soon after Oksana found herself in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where her love of learning continued.
Once in Philadelphia, Oksana completed Saint Basil School in 1954 and John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in 1958. She then attended The Ukrainian Art Studio with Professor Mehyk from 1955-1959. Oksana continued her education at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and University of Pennsylvania in Ukrainian and Cultural Studies.
Oksana immersed herself in the Ukrainian community and began spending time at Soyuzivka in the Catskills of New York, which she loved very much. This is where she met Bohdan Stusyk and they married on January 27, 1962. The new couple settled in Brooklyn, New York and started a family, Andrij born in 1967 and Natalka born in 1971. In 1978 the family moved to Millburn, New Jersey. After Bohdan’s passing in 1988, Oksana and her children moved to Philadelphia in 1992. Soon after, she reconnected with Teodozij Trycieckyj, and they married on July 16, 2000. Oksana and Teodozij enjoyed traveling and spending time with the newly expanded family which included Teodozij’s five children, their spouses and seven grandchildren.
Oksana was very involved in the Ukrainian community and had many hobbies and interests promoting Ukrainian culture and customs. Singing was one of her great passions. She was a member of many choirs, too many to mention over the years, and the last being a member of the Annunciation of the B.V.M. church choir, which she served as president for a long time. Once Andrij and Natalka were old enough to attend Ukrainian School, as to be expected, Oksana rolled up her sleeves and became involved. She volunteered her time in both Ukrainian Schools, Saint George’s in Manhattan, New York and Ukrainian Heritage School in Irvington, New Jersey where she served on the board. PLAST was also a big part of Oksana’s life as both a member and volunteer when Andrij and Natalka became members. To no surprise, Oksana also had may friends who were members of The Ukrainian American Youth Association “CYM”.
When Andrij began his Bandura career, which spanned the course of eleven years, Oksana traveled to many concerts, sometimes participating as MC. She used her sewing talents to make the performance costumes for the Bandura ensemble “Homin” along with designing and sewing dresses, suits, and traditional Ukrainian costumes and embroidery for many people. Another great love was art. Her extensive training allowed her to display many of her works all around her house. She concentrated in oil painting which included portraits and florals, charcoal sketches, and many forms of Ukrainian ceramics. During the warmer months Oksana was an avid gardener and was immensely proud of her flower beds, which were numerous, along with many unusual house plants which were beautiful and brought her much joy.
To say Oksana was a people person and a bright spirit would be an understatement. She enjoyed baking cookies, cakes and torts during the holidays and cooking delicious meals for family and friends. This was evident when Andrij and Natalka’s friends would drop by unexpectedly at dinner time and were welcomed with open arms and fed every time. A fantastic sense of humor and plentiful natural ability for joke telling, it was impossible not to have a wonderful time in her presence. Oksana is an incredibly special person with so many diverse talents, it is inspiring. She touched the lives of so many people throughout the course of her life it will be exceedingly difficult not to have her in our lives. Rest assured that in heaven Oksana will cause some trouble and watch over all of us family and friends!
Oksana is preceded in death by her first husband Bohdan Stusyk in 1988. She is survived by her current husband Teodozij Trycieckyj; her children Andrij Stusyk (Christina) and Natalka Stusyk; stepchildren Natalie Trycieckyj, Theresa Saybolt (John), Michael Trycieckyj (Charlene), Steven Trycieckyj (Christine), Diana Ziegler (Joe) and step grandchildren: Rachel, John, Michael, Anthony, Matthew, Nicholas, and Teddy. Left in grief are extended family in Ukraine, Boston, New York and Ohio.
Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing on Wednesday at 6 PM at the Fletcher-Nasevich Funeral Home. Parastas Prayers will be celebrated at 7 PM. Her funeral will be held on Thursday at 8:30 AM at the funeral home followed by celebration of her Requiem Liturgy at Annunciation BVM Ukrainian Catholic Church at 10 AM. Burial will follow at St. Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery.
Donations in Oksana's memory may be made to: World Central Kitchen or United Ukrainian American Relief Committee.