Local community mourning loss of ‘walking, talking Ukrainian encyclopedia’


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A cultural specialist and prominent voice in Winnipeg's Ukrainian community has died.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/11/2016 (2274 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A cultural specialist and prominent voice in Winnipeg’s Ukrainian community has died.

Orysia Tracz passed away in Winnipeg Thursday after a sudden stroke.

The writer, translator, consultant and lecturer was born after the Second World War in a displaced person’s camp in Bavaria in 1945. She was raised in New Jersey and met her husband Myroslaw at Soyuzivka, a Ukrainian resort in upstate New York. They married in 1967 and in 1968 moved to Winnipeg. They embraced the city that embraced Ukrainian culture.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / FREE PRESS FILES Last month the Ukrainian Canadian Congress presented Orysia Tracz with a Shevchenko Award for arts and culture.

A broadcaster once called Tracz a “walking, talking Ukrainian encyclopedia.”

In 2011, Tracz gathered personal stories and reflections for a commemorative book for the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble’s 50th anniversary. She escorted travel groups on 18-day tours of discovery, focused on Ukraine’s art and culture.

Earlier this year, Tracz received an honourable mention in the Thin Air Winnipeg International Writers’ Festival awards for her book First Star I See Tonight, described as the first in-depth English-language book on Ukrainian Christmas traditions.

In October, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress presented her with a Shevchenko Award for arts and culture.

A prayer service for Tracz will be held Monday at Holy Eucharist Parish at 6 p.m. It was her wish that all participants wear Vyshyvanky (Ukrainian embroidered shirts). Any donations, in lieu of flowers, are requested to be made to the Canadian Ukrainian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko.

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