Friday, March 24, 2023
Eulogy for Iris Osadchuk
We welcome everyone here today in memory of Iris Sylvia Osadchuk, so that together we may acknowledge and share both our joy in the gift that her life was to all of us, and the pain that her passing brings. In sharing the joy and the pain together today, it is our hope that we may all lessen our loss and remember more clearly the joy that Iris brought to all of our lives.
Iris was 79 when she passed away on Wednesday, March 15th in Vita. While we know that she is at peace, there is sadness. And even though she is no longer with us, we have come together to celebrate the legacy of her love and perseverance. As we reflect and remember the ways in which she touched our lives, let us keep those memories alive by sharing them with one another.
Born on the family homestead near Caliento, Manitoba, Iris was the second of five children. She took joy in being a little sister to her brother Ben and a big sister to her brothers Tony and Leonard, and her sister Grace. Life on the farm was always full of fun and surprises and many great times were spent with her family. Picking mushrooms in the bush with their mom and dad, helping with gardening and chores, riding on the tractor and helping in the summer kitchen, were the way of life back in the day.
When Iris was a young adult, she moved to Winnipeg and undertook a job as a nanny for a local family. Being the kind and friendly woman that she was, when the family decided to move to Toronto, they asked her to move with them, and she did. At the time, Iris had already met her one and only love, Bohdan (Bob) Osadchuk, and shortly after arriving in Toronto, she decided that she would return home to Manitoba to become Bob’s lifelong partner. They married in August 1964, and the young family moved first to Manigotogan, and soon thereafter, to Rainy River, Ontario, in the fall of 1968. Together, they raised two sons, Peter, and Nick. Keeping her “boys” happy, healthy, and fed was Iris’ top priority. Her love for nurturing and cooking were evident over her 25-year career, taking care of the patients and staff, at the Rainy River Hospital, from their kitchen.
Keeping friends, neighbours and the like fed, with her traditional Ukrainian food, was something Iris enjoyed all her life. We remember her for her many meals, and her getting up at any hour of the night when she heard someone rummaging in her kitchen looking for the cabbage rolls and perogies! When visiting Nick in Fort McMurray they’d spend days preparing food to share with friends and stock up the freezer until her next visit. Her perogies and cream sauce were one of my favorites, though Nick will tell you his sauce is better. She taught him well and because of this we’ll continue to enjoy her food long after her passing.
Iris was an active member of the St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church. She was also an active member of the community, being an avid volunteer and fundraiser. She was a member of the Kinettes and Lion’s Club for many, many years, two of her greatest passions. She attended many Kinette Conventions and would often talk about her experiences there. Iris believed in the causes she supported. If she approached you on the street or anywhere in public, she had a ticket to sell, or was looking for a donation for a cause. Iris also volunteered at the Bingo club in Rainy River for many years, and personally supported numerous organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, throughout her lifetime. After visiting an orphanage in Ukraine, and seeing the harsh conditions there, she faithfully supported them as well. She also enjoyed participating as a volunteer in fundraisers for the church and various organizations, be it cooking perogies or donating items to penny tables.
Travel was very important to Iris, zig zagging through US States with Bob, Peter and Nick during their regular summer vacations. Iris would make a bed for the boys in the backseat of their Ford LTD by putting two beer cases on the floor and four-two by fours across, before embarking on many 6,000 mile journeys. Iris acted as a navigator, getting the family from place to place, often stopping for family picnics. The boys shared that she would also acts as a referee and mediator between them. Travel priorities also included visiting with friends and relatives and her many trips back home to the farm in Caliento. Highlights of her travels were trips to Alaska and Inuvik, and a ten-day trip to Ukraine to experience the “Old Country”. Bob and Iris took their last trip together to Texas to experience the life of Snow Birds.
Iris always had an interest in family heritage and was always engaged in looking for any information she could find about family ancestry. She especially enjoyed planning and organizing family reunions and while at a reunion, she would always want to start organizing the next. Her love of her family brought her “back home” to Vita, Manitoba, in 2006, where she lived one block away from Peter, Donna and Aidan.
After moving back to Vita, Iris especially enjoyed having company and sharing meals with others. She looked forward to Ukrainian Christmas and preparing and arranging Easter baskets with Aidan. She especially enjoyed spending time with Tony, and Diane, often rotating between hosting meals, with their families at Easter and Ukrainian Christmas. She also looked forward to going to the farm at Ben and Annette’s and going with Leonard and Sherry to their farm. She eagerly anticipated her daily phone calls with Grace, keeping up with the news of the day. Interacting with her family was something she enjoyed most, and spending time with Peter, Donna and Aidan and Nick and Alissa were her most cherished moments. Iris played a very active role in Aidan’s life, and he in hers. As a baby and toddler, she spent hours doting over him and showing him off, any chance that she got. Iris enjoyed attending Aidan’s many sporting events, Christmas Concerts and Drama productions. Aidan will always remember taking care of baba by cutting her grass, shoveling snow, and being her chauffeur. As we loved her dearly, she will be sadly missed by all.
Iris is survived by her sons Peter and Nick, daughters in laws Donna and Alissa and her grandson Aidan, as well as other relatives and friends. This family, and her role as mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt was one of the most important things to her. This is where she drew her strength and left her legacy. Iris will forever be remembered for the things that she loved to do as well as for the love that she spread to others through her kind gestures. While she may not be with us physically today, her gentle spirit will remain in our hearts forever.