WASYL AND ELENA (NEE SEMENIUK) RADOMSKY
by Steve Radomsky, 1982
Wasyl Radomsky was born in 1873 in the village of Maliatyntsi, province of Bukovyna, Austria to village farmers. The area is now in the rayon of Zastawna, province or oblast of Cherniwtsi Bukovyna, Ukraine. He completed elementary school and probably post elementary courses which were common at that time in the village, retaining an interest in literature all his life. He married Elena Semeniuk of the same village, the daughter of Kost and Ustyna (Justine) Semeniuk. Their first child, Zonia, was born in the village and brought with them to Canada when they emigrated in 1904.
They were not the first to leave their village for Canada for Porphyry Radomsky, a cousin, had settled in Wasel, Alberta, in 1900 and another branch of the same family had arrived in Kahwin, south of the river from Pakan, somewhat later. Furthermore, Elena's brother Stefan had arrived in Canada as a bachelor in 1902 and had sent for his mother a year later. She was later to marry Dmytro Gavreliuk who lived across the road from the Radomsky family.
When Wasyl first arrived in Canada, he filed on the NW 1/4-Sec. 29-T.59-R17 W. of 4 but he found the land too low and boggy. It was also overrun by bears. After he and his wife had laboriously plastered the walls of their first shelter with clay during one day and felt satisfied that they now had a warm home, they found to their dismay the next morning that all the plaster had disappeared, scratched away by bears. A watering pail which they used to feed calves was lost and found weeks later in the branches of a tree where the bears had left it. When Wasyl bought his first reaper to which he harnessed two oxen and a horse, he would reap the grain by daylight and stook the sheaves as the sun went down. Once, when he was stooking he looked around and found that a bear tore the stocks apart almost as fast as he set them up and he had to drive the bear away by threatening it with his fork. When an other homesteader abandoned the SW Ya-Sec.17-T59.-R.17 W. of 4, which was much higher land, Wasyl immediately acquired that quarter which was to become the home which their family remembered and on which both Wasyl and Elena were to pass the rest of their lives. It still remains the property of their youngest son though he does not reside there.
Wasyl and Elena were founding members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Smoky Lake and its lay organizations.
From their home on the later quarter the Radomsky children attended Toporoutz school which was first located about one and a half miles south of the present town of Smoky Lake. Later it was moved to the south-west corner of the Radomsky farm, when Smoky Lake was established after the railway was built in 1918. When it was farther away, the two older children, Zonia and John, attended the school during the summer months but were boarded and attended classes during the winter in Kolokreeka Mission, established by the Methodist Church about half a mile north of the future village. Nykolai, who supplied the information for this story remembered that the earliest teachers were Whitney, Jacob Hawrelak, Flanigan, and a Mrs. Sutton who was teaching at the time the school was moved to its new location. Wasyl Radomsky was anxious to give all his children an education but the penury of early years on the farm and the customary summer operation of the early rural schools prevented some of the children from advancing very far in the school system.
Wasyl and Elena remained on the farm all their lives. Wasyl died on May 29,1936, and Elena born in June 1883, followed him on April 7, 1939, at the age of fifty-six. In Smoky Lake they were founding members of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox church built in 1928. They did not live to take advantage of the better times which followed the Second Great War but they laid the foundation for their children's later success. When Wasyl swam across the North Saskatchewan River to seek work on the railway being built through Vegreville to Edmonton in 1904, he had no conception of what future awaited his family in the new land.
Radomsky Family. (Front Row) Steve, Wasylyna, Baby Tom. (Middle Row) Kost, Wasyl, Elena, Jessie. (Back Row) John, Nick, Mary.
A short account of each child follows.
Zonia probably attended only to grade six or seven. She married Dmytro Klompas and moved to his farm near Andrew, south of Vancouver. He is Civil Technician of Structures and Controls Group with CP Air. John farmed at Wostock. He died in 1978. Nick obtained Masters degrees in Aeronautics and in Mechanical Engineering. He lives in Albany N.Y. and is working for General Electric on stationary turbines. Peter lives in Edmonton. He is Director of Assessment Inspection and Advisory Services in the Department of Municipal Affairs . Angie has a B.Ed. degree and is teaching in Edmonton.
Mary is the second child and attended school to the age of fifteen. She married Nick Dwernychuk who farmed north of Warspite. They had five children. Willie is farming at Smoky Lake. Kate (Bernhardt) is a teacher. She lives in Prince George, B.C. Walter is a cab driver in Edmonton. John works for NuMac Oil and lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Stephania (Kokotilo) is a medical receptionist working in Edmonton.
John attended Toporoutz and Smoky Lake schools until the end of grade ten when he moved to Edmonton to reside in the M.H. Institute and attend Victoria High School to complete grades eleven and twelve. He attended normal school in Camrose in 1926-27. He returned to teach in Smoky Lake but passed away very early in life due to a heart affliction with which many members in this family have suffered. He married Ruth Lawford and had one son, Hugh John, who is now law professor in Queen's University.
Nykolai or Nick, the fourth child, ceased to attend school in grade eight because he was needed on the farm on which he remained until the end of 1927. He left the farm to work in a general store and lumber yard in Radway for three years. For the next fourteen years he was an employee of the Hayward Lumber company at various Alberta points. In the spring of 1947 he established his own lumber yard and hardware business in Edberg, Alberta, which he operated until 1976 when he sold out and retired.
Nick was very active in various civic affairs, serving for 23 years as town councillor, of this, 15 years as mayor. He also served on school boards and as chairman of the Board of Directors for the Municipal District of Camrose Senior Citizens' Homes. He is a Charter and Life Member of the Elks' Lodge.
In 1937 Nick married Pearl Pylypiuk of Beauvallon, a teacher. She passed away in 1971. They had four children. Dr. Lassia Radomsky Van Hise practises in California. Dr. Audrey Radomsky Wilson heads radiologist practice in Philadelphia. Dr. John Radomsky, a radiologist, practises in Red Deer, Alberta. Dr. Eugene Radomsky, a dentist, practices in Regina.
Nick remarried in 1977. His second wife in the former Nancy Shemeluk, a teacher. They reside in Edmonton and are active members of St. John's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Parish.
Kost attended Toporoutz school and then proceeded to the Technical School in Edmonton to enroll in auto-mechanics. After working in garages for several years, he operated his own garage in a rented building in Thorhild for three years before joining a group to purchase and operate a hotel in Wainwright. Following this experience, he invested with others in other hotels including the Commercial Hotel in Edmonton. He married Olga Kulka and they had one son, Ronald, who is a principal in Calgary and now on sabbatical leave to attend university at Albuquerque in New Mexico. Kost died in 1975.
Steve attended Toporoutz and Smoky Lake schools to complete grade twelve, and then took his teacher training at the Edmonton Normal school. During his teaching career he took courses during Summer Sessions at the University of Alberta and at night school, eventually earning Bachelor and Master degrees in Science, specializing in mathematics, excellence in which won him a Mates Memorial Prize in mathematics. He also won a Fellowship tenable at Queen's University, Ontario.
Steve began his teaching career in Smoky Lake Division. For ten years he was principal of Thorhild High School. He was very active in community work. He was president of the local Lions' Club, and member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Moving to Edmonton, he taught science and mathematics at Eastwood, Strathcona, Victoria, and Harry Ainlay High Schools. He also taught, on a parttime basis, at the University of Alberta and Alberta College.
In the course of his long professional career, Steve co-authored a grade ten science textbook and helped revise the grade eleven science text. He served on a number of ATA Curriculum Committees, in recognition of which he received a Distinguished Service Citation.
He married Mary Gavinchuk of Smoky Lake, and they raised three daughters, all of whom are married: Amelia (Webb), Gloria (Dunning), and Carol (McRae). Amelia and Gloria are teachers, and Carol is employed in social work.
Steve passed away February 24,1975.
Jessie also became a teacher after attending high school in Smoky Lake and normal school in Camrose. She first taught school in Wandering River near Lac La Biche, and then in the Smoky Lake School Division. She married Stephen Semeniuk but died childless on January 1, 1941.
Wasylena completed high school in Smoky Lake and in her final year, 1940, was chosen class valedictorian by acclamation. She married Taras Kulka who, after teaching in many districts, finally moved to Edmonton. They have two children: Sonia and Kenneth. Both have completed teacher education at the University of Alberta. Kenneth has a Bachelor's degree in Science and is teaching in Edmonton. Sonia is married and has moved with her husband to North Carolina.
The youngest child in the family was Tom who attended Toporoutz school and farmed the home quarter even after the death of his parents. He left the farm to go into the lumber business with his brother Nykolai whom he also left to operate a motel in Canmore. He has now retired in Calgary. He married Marge Sparrow and they had two children: Marilyn Rose and Phillip. Marilyn obtained her B.Sc. and is now employed by the Government of British Columbia. Phillip, with a degree in education, is now teaching in Calgary.
Radomsky Family. (Front Row) Steve, Wasylyna, Baby Tom. (Middle Row) Kost, Wasyl, Elena, Jessie. (Back Row) Zonia, John, Nick, Mary.