April 16, 1913 – May 14, 2013
Sofia was born in Rudno, near the city of Lviv, in a part of western Ukraine called Galicia. Her parents were Wolodymyr and Evdokia Dmytrowycz. Sofia was the third of their five children- Osyp Mikhail (Michael), Stefan (Stephan), Sofia (Sophia), Josef (Joseph) and Iwanna (Joanne). Her mother died when Sofia was seven years old. Her father married his deceased wife’s younger sister Osypa, who committed herself to raising her three nephews and two nieces. However, the second union proved to be a genuine love match and the couple had three children of their own; Dorian (Theodore), Irena (Irene) and Roman. They were devoted to each other into their dotage.
On August 11, 1934, Sofia married Myron Leo Ochrymowycz, who was still a university student doing graduate work in Latin and Greek. She herself earned a teaching certificate in elementary education that year and taught briefly thereafter. She must have been a fine teacher because her students professed to adore her. However, she reluctantly gave up her teaching career in order to raise her own children.
Because her husband’s family was very involved in the struggle to liberate and establish an independent Ukrainian nation, Sofia and her four children fled Ukraine before the advancing Red Army, escaping to Germany in the summer of 1944. She was largely on her own in this endeavor, as her husband had been conscripted and was sent to the eastern front.
When World War II ended in 1945, the family was reunited and lived in Bavaria - in the American zone - until the spring of 1949. At this time they emigrated as displaced persons (commonly called “D.P.’s”) to the United States. They resided for several months in Wabasha, Minn., where “Leo”, as Myron was now called, worked as a hired hand for a farmer named John Brugger (God’s blessing on him and his), and then moved to Winona, Minn., in August of 1949, where Sofia and Leo resided permanently. Dr. Leo was employed for 35 years as Professor of Classical and Modern Languages at what was then known as St. Mary’s College (now St. Mary’s University of Minnesota). He passed away May 23, 1983.
In addition to her four children; Orest Ochrymowycz (Mary Ann), Winona, Minn., Martha Holtan, Rochester, Minn., Boris Ochry (Rozella), Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Leo A Ochrymowycz (Judy Kay), Eau Claire, Wis. Sofia is survived by seven grandchildren: Cynthia Murphy (James), Randall Petersen (Raylene Canby), Roxane Petersen (Scott Rye), Eric Petersen, Laura Viaene (David), Steven Ochry, and Tara Talley (Jeffrey); four stepgrandchildren - Martha Hartwich (Jan Hagenbrock), Andrew (Chris) Holtan, Amy Holtan, Douglas (Betsie) Holtan; nine great-grandchildren; Julia, Allison, William and Grace Murphy, Matthew Van Minsel, Thomas and Emma Ochry, and Nicholas and Hayden Talley; nine stepgreat-grandchildren; Will, Nora, Kate, Jack, Owen, Lily, Hank and Ivan Holtan, Tajae Viaene (Seth Rasmussen); and one stepgreat-great-grandchild, Desmond Rasmussen. Sofia was preceded in death by her parents, all her siblings, one son-in-law, Jerry Holtan, one daughter-in-law, Jane Ochrymowycz, and one grandchild, David Ochrymowycz.
Sofia became a U.S. citizen in 1954, of which she has always been extremely proud. She was a past member of St. John’s Catholic Church and later on of the Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Winona, Minn. She was a loving mother (almost to the extreme), an accomplished homemaker, a conversationalist on many topics and a loyal friend. She was especially famous for her holiday meals during family gatherings, including a second turkey. While Leo was locally known as an accomplished vegetable gardener, Sofia loved flowers with a passion and surrounded her house with them. More than occasionally people would stop by and snap photos of her riotous displays. She was informed, frank, opinionated, sincere, and uncommonly devout. She will be deeply missed by all whose lives she touched, with the exception that she outlived all of her contemporaries.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka.
The Reverend Monsignor Thomas J. Hargesheimer will officiate.
Sofia will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Visitation will be held at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka, on Saturday, May 25, 2013, from 10 a.m.to 11:15 a.m. Memorials may be directed to: The Ochrymowycz Family Scholarship Fund, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, 700 Terrace Heights, Winona, Minn., 55987.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Sofia’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com