Mary Lena Smith (Panchuk)
Passed on January 17, 2022
It is with deep sadness that the family of Mary L. Smith announces her peaceful passing on Monday, January 17, 2022 at Riverview Health Centre, Winnipeg, with the love of her family and special friend, Rev. Milly Malavsky encompassing her.
Mary is survived by her son Jim (Joyce); daughter Phyllis (James) Marsch; grandchildren: Michael (Emma) Smith, Jennifer (Chris Taylor), Jason (Kathyrn) Nagy, Colin Marsch; great grandchildren: Brendan, Skylar, Danika, Rhys; brothers: Mike (Shirley) Panchuk, Nick (Sharon) Panchuk; sister: Lil (Martin) Dodd and many nieces, nephews and friends, notably Florence Smart and longtime neighbors and friends, Bunny Graham and Faith Brown. Mary is predeceased by her husband, George Smith; daughter, Christine Fillion; grandson, Sean Nagy; parents, Michael and Tina Panchuk; her brother Bill Panchuk.
Mary was born on September 13, 1930 in Ansonville, ON, where she lived until she was 5 years old. At the age of 5, she moved with her parents to live with her grandparents, who owned a farm just north east of the town of Stonewall, MB. It was here where she attended all her school, up to and including grade 9. Upon her graduation from grade 9, the excitement of having her first job, attracted her to move into Winnipeg, where she lived with her aunt Doris and uncle George Demetrioff in St. Boniface. Mary’s first job was as a waitress with Canada Packers, in what was then known as a private cafeteria for the administrative staff. After a couple years, she returned to Stonewall where she continued her employment as a hostess/waitress at Wilf’s Café. It was here where mom met her favorite regular customer and love of her life, our dad, George Smith.
Over the years, Mary enjoyed part time employment with Avon, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce in the dining room as a hostess/waitress, and in retail at the Dominion and then Safeway bakery counter. Although mom enjoyed the connections with others throughout her various job opportunities, mom always put the care for her family first. This especially held true in her willingness and warm embrace of child rearing her young sister, Lil, as her own, along with her own children throughout her early years of being a mom. Mom was never idle, filling her spare time with a number of enjoyable hobbies, needlework, knitting, crocheting, calligraphy, gardening and especially loved tending to African violets and flower gardening, baking and cake decorating, and making pressed flower pictures and bookmarkers. Mom shared her patience, joy and pride in teaching anyone who was interested in any of her hobbies, including how to make our traditional family favorites of pyrohy, chroostycky, holubtsi, along with Scotch oatcakes and scones.
Mom and dad celebrated their 54th Wedding Anniversary before dad’s passing. Throughout those years they enjoyed square dancing, bowling, and taking family trips. In their later years they continued to enjoy the adventure of travel with one another, visiting Canada from coast to coast, parts of the US, Europe, the British Isles – making a couple trips specifically to visit dad’s family in Scotland, and also to Australia where they visited longtime friends. Mom’s life time dream to connect with extended family in Ukraine came true when she travelled there on a tour and was able to coordinate a visit with them. In keeping with mom’s interest in strengthening her knowledge in faith and spirituality, she had the opportunity to join a Charleswood United Church tour of the Holy Land. This trip along with all the others held many happy memories, the numerous photo albums mom and dad compiled over the years was proof of this.
A celebration of Mary’s life was held on Monday, January 24, 2022 at 1:00 PM at Charleswood United Church, 4820 Roblin Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB, followed by interment at Stonewall Cemetery, Stonewall, MB. Rev. Milly Malavsky officiating.
As per government regulations, all guests must be fully vaccinated and able to provide valid proof, masks must be worn during the service and social distancing will be adhered to.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Riverview Health Centre, 1 Morley Ave, Winnipeg, MB. R3L 2P4 or Charleswood United Church, 4820 Roblin Boulevard, Winnipeg, MB, R3R 0G6.
The family would like to extend warm thanks to the manager, doctors, nurses, allied health care workers and support staff on UNIT 2 West at Riverview Health Centre for their care of mom over the past 4 ½ years. You were like a second family to mom. Your care, concern and gentle understanding with mom and her family is truly appreciated. Also heartfelt thanks to Rev. Milly Malavsky and Rev. Dr. Michael Wilson for their spiritual care and pastoral presence.
The day you left and gained your wings, Our hearts just broke in two, We wish you could have stayed with us, But Heaven needed you.
You left us with the memories, And we love you dearly still, No matter how much time goes by, You know we always will.
You were a very special person, With kindness in your heart, And the love we had together, Grows stronger now that we are apart.
We know we cannot bring you back, Although we wish it everyday, But a piece of us went with you, The day you went away,.
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