Eileen Hryhoriw

Obituary of Eileen Hryhoriw

EILEEN HRYHORIW, born Sept. 18, 1929; died July 12, 2022

Peacefully at home with her son Wayne and daughter-in-law Sandra with her, while anticipating watching her beloved Toronto Blue Jays play the Phillies. Eileen moved to Gananoque with Wayne and Sandra in September 2021 from Oshawa, where she had been living with them for many years, and she loved looking at the Gan River and watching the kayakers every morning while she ate breakfast, or sitting on the deck and reading her Kindle with her little dog, Kayla, at her feet.

Eileen was born Wasylina Dzuiba in Toutes Aides, Manitoba. Life for Ukrainian-Canadians then was not easy, but her memories of her farm childhood are filled with bright spots. She often spoke of her mother, Franzicka, and how much she missed and loved her. She was one of many children, but sadly is now survived only by the sister she was closest to, Alice Brendt, of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Our hearts go out to Alice, who we know will miss her very much. 

Throughout her life Eileen was renowned for her amazing Ukrainian cooking. Her daughter-in-law, Sandra, managed to winkle her recipe for pierogies out of her in the last few years, but knows she will never be able to make them taste like Eileen’s. In Hamilton, where Eileen raised her two sons, Wayne and Mark, and her niece, Janice, who unfortunately died young, she was very active in St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, organizing and cooking church feasts for large crowds as fundraisers. The priest at that time, the Reverend Stephen Chmilar, who later served as Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto until his retirement, recognized Eileen’s many contributions to the church. More importantly, he also always managed to persuade her to sneak him a Tupperware container of pierogies just for himself whenever she put on a spread for the church.

Eileen was married to Nick until his death in 1996. The two of them enjoyed their garden in Hamilton, where they grew the best tomatoes for spaghetti sauce and other vegetables that she would can and freeze. Eileen showed her love by feeding us all. But she had a wild side, too: she loved going out for an evening at the casino or watching horse races. Her favourite anecdote was how she bought a ticket for the Irish Sweepstakes back in the ‘50s, and won enough to buy her home in Hamilton and furnish it, right down to the pots and pans in the kitchen.

Hopefully these insufficient words convey a bit of who she was and how much she was loved. She adored her sons so much. She loved talking to Mark during his many calls to check in on his mum, and when baseball season was in full swing nothing pleased her more than exchanging views on bad pitchers and managers with him. She and Wayne had a similar sarcastic sense of humour, and she loved being teased by him. She thought the world of Mark's  wife Nancy,  her grandson, Steve, and her granddaughter, Jessica, and wished so much to meet her first great granddaughter, Scarlett, although unfortunately the travel restrictions of the pandemic made that impossible. Her friends and loved ones from out west, including Sophie, Delphine and Linda, and Alice’s daughters Mary, Tanise and Debbie, were constantly in her thoughts.

Eileen had such a soft spot for birds and animals, and she wouldn’t even let anyone move Pomp, the cat who loved to sit on her lap while she was trying to eat her dinner. Every night when Sandra was shutting off the lights to go to bed, she would call to Eileen, good night, I love you, and Eileen would call back, I love you too, girl. We are going to miss her so much. We wish she could have stayed with us just a little longer.