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The Stephan Kwasnicia Family in Canada


Stephan and Dora Kwasnicia – at Home on the Kwasnicia Homestead – c 1930




Stephan and Dora (Gudzik) Kwasnicia were the grandparents of Sonja (Boyko) Riley. They were of Ukrainian extraction and arrived in Canada in the first decade of the 20th century as part of the wave of central European immigrants seeking the opportunities and the better way of life advertised as being available in Canada. The couple settled in east central Saskatchewan where they received a homestead lot, a 160 acre quarter section, in the Chechow District west of Preeceville. There they eventually raised a family of eight children having lost an additional child in infancy. The following provides a short summarized history of the family and its eventual dispersion from those humble Saskatchewan beginnings across much of western Canada and into the Wisconsin area of the Midwestern United States.


The Kwasnicia children generated a closeness growing up on the farm that continued to be in evidence in adulthood; indeed, that familial closeness was also instilled into the grandchildren, particularly the older ones, who early got to know and develop a warm familiarity with their cousins. The sibling closeness is readily demonstrated in how the Kwasnicia children as young adults often followed one another out of Chechow District and into the wider world.


This file was generated out of a series of six family reunions which brought the separated elements of the family together over the 28 year period 1976 - 2004. The first reunion was hosted by Pauline and Mike Chopty at their farm near Preeceville over the August 1 weekend in 1976. Some 12 years later in 1988 (when it was eventually realized that the success of that first event could be repeated!) a second initiative was hosted by Phil and Helen Kwasnicia at their cottage at Fishing Lake near Wadena, SK. In 1992 the group assembled at Cheryl McKenzie’s home in Kelowna, BC; in 1996 at the home of Karen and Peppi Pace and the cottage of Olive and Don Veal in Red Lake, ON; in 2001 the group was hosted by the Kennedy clan in Milwaukee, WI; and in 2004 the Phil and Helen Kwasnicia offspring hosted the group at Randy and Marianne Kwasnicia’s cottage at Windermere, BC.  


Most of the data in this file has been provided directly by family members. Some of the early history of the family was extracted from a short family history written by the daughters of Stephan and Dora and a second article by son Philip, both published in 1982 in Lines of the Past, The History of Preeceville & District. That same volume was also the source of some information on non-Kwasnicia families (e.g. Zawerucha). Immigration and land records were extracted from Canadian archival sources. Some detail on the Boyko family was extracted from interviews of Mike in 1964 and Myrtle c 1972 and published in local weekly publication The District News (Red Lake, ON) in 2002 and 1972 respectively. Information levels are variable on the extended families of Stephan and Dora’s children reflecting information available to the compiler. Specific detail on living family members has been muted for privacy reasons.



The Beginnings:


·         According to family oral history Stephan (also given as Stefan and Steve) and Dora (also given as Doris) were both born in Bertnickiw, Ukraine; Stephan in 1880 and Dora in 1885. The couple was married in Bertnickiw in 1904, approximately two years before they left for Canada. However, self-generated birth information provided in the 1911 Canadian census would suggest Stefan to have been born in December of 1878 and Dora in March of 1884.   


Western Ukraine from Goggle Earth showing location of Chekhiv (Chechow)

(SW yellow pin) in relation to Kiev (NE yellow pin)


·         Bertnickiw (also given as Bertnechi), now known as Bertnyky, is a small roadside farming hamlet located in the Ternopil Oblisk (or province) about eight kilometers west of the district administrative center of  Buchach and about 400 kilometers SW of Kiev. The community lies some 1.5 kilometers east of and is directly connected by road to the farming village of  Chekhiv, formerly known as Chechow. Some 3.5 kilometers north northeast of Chekhiv lies Hryhoriv, formerly Hryhoriw, after which another of the Preeceville school districts was named. These three


SW Ukraine Farming Country Showing the Relative Location of Chekhiv, Bernyky, and Hryhoriv


communities were the source of a sizable immigration cadre into the Preeceville, SK area in the 1900-1930 era. 


·         From a recent historical perspective the Buchach region of Ukraine was annexed by Austria in 1772 and ruled by Austria until the end of the WWI in 1918. At that time and until 1920 the area briefly became part of the Independent West Ukrainian Peoples’ Republic; in 1920 it was overrun by the Republic of Poland. The Poles held the area until the beginning of WWII when it was annexed by the Soviet Union and incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR. In 1941 the area was invaded by Nazi Germany and held by the Nazis until the end of WWII when it was returned to the Soviet Union through agreement among the Allies. With the breakup of the USSR in 1991 the area became part of today’s independent Ukraine. This history helps rationalize why so many of the pre-WWII Ukrainian immigrants from what is today the SW Ukraine, including the Kwasnicias, self-identified their nationality Austrian or Polish; it also rationalizes the place name changes during the first half of the 20th century.    


·         Canadian immigration records would suggest that the young Kwasnicia couple departed Antwerp, Belgium on May 16, 1906 and arrived at Montreal on May 27 on board the Canadian Pacific Railway ship Montreal. [The handwriting in this particular record is difficult to read but the last name can be interpreted as some form of Kwasnicia, Stephan is clear, the partner’s name appears to be Jawdorkia (see below), the couple’s nationality is given as Glaician (i.e., Ukrainian), occupation as farmer, and destination can be interpreted as Yorkton.] From Montreal the couple would have proceeded by train to Yorkton, SK. There arrangements to claim a homestead would have been pursued and the couple would have proceeded, probably by ox cart as did many of their neighbours, to the Preeceville area. They could have arrived in the Preeceville area by mid-June.       


·         The couple appears not to be listed in the 1906 census for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta so it is likely that they were not yet enough settled to be captured by the enumeration.


·         Stephan and Dora selected a homestead grant of a quarter section described as the NE part of Section 30 in Township 34, Range 6, west of the 2nd meridian, located about six and a half miles west southwest of Preeceville. The cost would have been $10. That quarter section appears to have first been issued to and abandoned by one Anton Fyhrie.


·         The 1911 census shows a three person family on Section 30, Township 34, Range 6, W2 consisting of head Stefan Kwasnicka, 32, b Dec 1878 in Austria, immigrated 1906, racial origin Rutherian (Ukrainian), nationality Austrian, religion Greek Orthodox, farmer, language Rutherian, could neither read or write; his wife Yawdorka, 27, b Mar 1884 in Austria,  immigrated 1906, racial origin Rutherian (Ukrainian), nationality Austrian, religion Greek Orthodox, language Rutherian, could neither read or write; son Michal, 1, born March 1910 in Saskatchewan, racial origin Rutherian, nationality Canadian, religion Greek Orthodox. 


·         The family has not yet been located in the 1916 census; there is a strong possibility they and the other families living on Section 30 were missed by the enumerator.


·         According to the daughters the couple’s first dwelling was a 15’ by 25’ sod house. In later years they constructed a house out of local poplar logs which were then chinked, clay plastered, and whitewashed to keep out the cold and preserve the logs. That later house, abandoned, was still standing c1970 and the poplar walls were still remarkably sound. 


·         Breaking land was a difficult task with an annual gain of only three to four acres. Stephan, along with a number of neighbours, would travel to better-developed Manitoba in the summer to take on farm labour opportunities so as to earn the necessary cash money to allow him and the others to feed and clothe their families.



 The Century-old Chechow, SK, Ukrainian Catholic Church

(Photo extracted from Canada’s Historic Places website)

·         Stephan was listed among the original 49 parishioners of the Chechow Ukrainian Catholic church which was constructed in 1906. He remained active in church affairs for some years, presiding as president of the church executive in 1923. Today that same church is a municipal heritage property with the congregation having celebrated its centenary in 2006.


·         Stephan became early interested in education and was present at the first ratepayers’ meeting on June 26, 1908 which addressed the need for a school in the Chechow District. That meeting resulted in the filing of a petition to Regina requesting the formation of a new school district. The efforts of the ratepayers were successful and the new Chechow school district was authorized in December of 1908. The school well served the Kwasnicia family (all the children attended classes therein) and the community until 1961 when the Chechow District was amalgamated with the larger Sturgis School District and the building abandoned.   


·         Stephan farmed until his death in 1943. Dora continued to live on the farm for a number of years, finally moving into Preeceville accompanied by her daughter Mary and granddaughter Lorraine to a newly constructed house in 1948. Dora died in Preeceville circa 1963.


The Children:


The Kwasnicia Children – Ann, Philip, Myrtle, Mike, Pauline, Sam, Mary – May, 1973




The Mike Kwasnycia Family:


Mike Kwasnycia - 1973


·         Mike was the oldest of the Kwasnicia children, born in Canada in 1910, either in March (family) or December (census). Mike is the only sibling in the family who used a “y” in the spelling of his name; his children and grandchildren have continued the practice.


·         Mike married Stella Gulka, in Chechow District, SK in November of 1933; Stella was the daughter of Lucan (Lucanko) and Ksena (Joga) Gulka from the Hryhoriw area of Ukraine. Stella had been born on the family farm at NE 24.34.6.W2 in the Beaver Bluff District south of Preeceville in September of 1918. According to Mike’s sisters the couple initially set up residence on NW 20.34.6.W2 which was about a mile or so south of the Kwasnicia homestead. 


·         The life of a farmer appeared not to be a satisfactory occupation and in 1939 Mike left the Preeceville area for regular wages in the active gold mining community of Red Lake, ON, following the footsteps of his oldest sister and her husband who had moved there in 1937.


·         Mike’s wife Stella and their four children – Orest, Agnes, Steve, and Annette – followed a short time later after Mike found employment and accommodation. A fifth child, son Larry, was subsequently born in Red Lake.


·         The Kwasnycias eventually acquired a house on Red Lake’s main thoroughfare, Howey Street; part of the property subsequently became the site of the community’s Ukrainian Catholic church. Mike, after developing his mining skills at a few of Red Lake’s shorter-lived mines, eventually secured employment in the 1950s at the newly developed Dickenson mine, a property still being mined today (2013) by Dickenson’s successor, the Red Lake Mine, widely recognized as Canada’s richest gold mine.


·         Stella passed away from cancer in July, 1963 at the youthful age of 48. Mike eventually retired from the mining game circa 1970 after 30 years in the business. Mike died unexpectedly in 1976 in Milwaukee, WI while visiting daughter Annette. Mike and Stella are buried in the Red Lake cemetery.            



Orest Kwasnycia:


·         Orest was the eldest of the Kwasnycia’s five children and was born in Preeceville in September of 1933. He moved with the rest of the family to Red Lake c1940 and finished his schooling in that community.  By the time Orest left high school mining activity in Red Lake was at a fever pitch and it was reasonable that he, like many of his compatriots, should seek employment in the local mining sector.


·         In 1957 Orest married local girl Virginia “Ginger” Alexander, daughter of Mac “Curley” Alexander and Adelle Orenchuk, in Winnipeg. Orest and Ginger had two daughters, Shelly and Carolyn. A third child, a son, slotted between the two girls, died in infancy.


·         Orest spent most of his mining career as an electrician at the Dickenson Mine.  He took up recreational flying as a pastime in the 1970s and before and after he left the mining business he was moving passengers and small freight items into remote campsites for a local tourist operator.


·         Ginger worked part-time at the Balmer Motor Hotel, and after the girls were raised followed her passion of bottle collecting across Northwestern Ontario.  Like her mother-in-law Ginger died at an early age (56) from cancer in June of 1995 while living with her daughter in Maple Ridge, BC.  


·         Orest moved to Costa Rica after Ginger’s death and eventually married Zoraida Guzman there in 1999. Orest died in San Jose, Costa Rica in March of 2008 after a long bout with cancer.


Shelly Kwasnycia:


o   Shelly graduated high school in Red Lake and pursued secondary education Manitoba. She married Marius “Gerald” Buzikievich in Prince Albert, SK.


o   The couple eventually moved to British Columbia where son Kyle and daughter Shianne were born in the early 1990s.


o   Subsequent to the children’s birth the family moved to Pitt Meadows, BC where they operated Kyanne Industries, providing stakes to the construction and surveying industries. The family’s interest in competitive archery also led them into a small retail business selling competition and hunting bows and accessories.


Carolyn Kwasnycia


o   Like her sister Carolyn received her secondary education in Red Lake.


o   In the 1990s Carolyn gave birth to twin girls, Kailyn Broney and Kieghan Broney in BC. Unfortunately, the girls’ father died several months after their birth.


o   Carolyn and the girls continued to live in Maple Ridge, BC.



Agnes Kwasnycia:

·         Agnes was born in Preeceville in 1936; like her siblings she too completed her secondary education in Red Lake.


·         Subsequent to high school Agnes was employed in office work in Red Lake. In August of 1957 she married Dean Jones in Red Lake, the son of “Zip” and Larry Jones of nearby Balmertown.


·         Dean was an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police and as a result the couple was stationed to Nipigon, Ontario. Agnes died from a brain aneurism in Nipigon in February 1958, less than a year after her marriage. She is buried in the Red Lake cemetery.



Steve Kwasnycia:

·         Steve was born in Preeceville in May of 1937. He too received his education in Red Lake but after high school he set his sights on the greener pastures of British Columbia‘s mining sector. In 1959 Steve married Kay Blakeston, daughter of Bob Blakeston and Ardis Mortenson, in Brittania Beach, BC. However, the couple early made their way back to Red Lake where four of their five children were born in the next five years.


·         In 1965 the family pulled up stakes and headed back to BC where daughter Marni was subsequently born.  Steve spent a short time back at the mine at Brittania Beach, then moved into North Vancouver where the family lived for the next 10 years and Steve was employed in the aggregate industry. Steve finalized his active working career in the aggregate industry out of Sechelt, BC on the Sunshine Coast.


·         Kay possessed much artistic talent and after her children were raised successfully applied that talent in the retail sector, including operating her own business.


·         Steve and Kay effectively retired to Kelowna in 2004. Steve died from cancer in April of 2007. Kay continues to live in Kelowna in close proximity to her eldest daughter and youngest grandchild.


Cheryl Kwasnycia:


o   Cheryl was born in Red Lake in the 1960s. She received her education in British Columbia where she eventually assumed employment in food preparation and its associated retail sector.  


o   She married John McKenzie in Sechelt, BC and the couple had one child, Tyler. Cheryl and John subsequently divorced.  


o   Cheryl later had a daughter, Emily McKenzie-Djordjevich, with partner Milan Djordjevich in Kelowna, BC, where she and Emily continue to reside in a local heritage home.


§  Son Tyler McKenzie married recently Kelly in British Columbia.


Kenneth “Kenny” Kwasnycia:


o   Kenny was born in Red Lake in the 1960s. After high school in BC he took up carpentering and worked in construction in BC’s Lower Mainland as well as in the western and northwestern US.


o   Kenny married Shannon Martin, born in Prince George, BC, in North Vancouver. The couple has two children, Sam, born in North Vancouver and Kirsten, born in Kelowna. The family lives in Kelowna, BC.    


        Mitchel Kwasnycia:

o   Mitchel was born in Cochenour, ON, a community in the Red Lake District, in the 1960s. He is today occupied in the BC logging industry out of Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.


o   In the 1980s he married nurses’ aide Katherine Herbrik in Sechelt and the couple proceeded to have two children in Sechelt, Meghan and Kyle. Kyle tragically died in a cliff-side accident in July 2007.  


        Terrance “Terry” Kwasnycia:

o   Terry, like his older brother, was born in Cochenour, ON, in the 1960s. Terry followed in his brother Kenny’s footsteps and took up the carpenter’s trade in construction in both the Lower Mainland and the Northwestern US.


o   Terry married Sandra “Sandy” Hansen in North Vancouver in the 1990s and the couple has two children, Hannah and Jackson, both born in North Vancouver. After a swing through the western US the family took up residence in North Vancouver.


Marni Kwasnycia:


o   Marni was born in North Vancouver in the 1960s and grew up in Sechelt.


o   Marni has one child, Taylor Kwasnycia, born in Sechelt in the 1990s. Taylor’s father died in 1996. Marni resides in Cranbrook, BC.



Annette Kwasnycia:

·         Annette was born in Preeceville, SK in the late 1930s, not long before the family migrated into the Ontario “wilds” of Red Lake [It must be noted that access to Red Lake c 1940 was by dogsled or ski-equipped aircraft in winter, or by scow or float-equipped aircraft in summer; road access was not achieved until 1947.]


·         Annette married Dale Kennedy in Red Lake; Dale was the son of Red Lake high school teacher Harold Kenney and his wife Kathleen Boyuk.  


·         Dale initially took up employment in the electrician’s trade at the Campbell mine. During the early 1960s the Kennedys had four children in Red Lake.


·         Not liking the long term prospects in Red Lake without the advantage of additional formal education, Dale in the mid-1960s moved the family south into the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin where he secured employment as a lineman in the construction and maintenance of high-load power distribution systems. Dale continued to work in that arena for the next 35 years, in both the US mid-west and more latterly in Oregon.


·         Upon Dale’s retirement in the early part of the first decade of the new millennium the couple relocated to the Milwaukee area to enjoy closer ties to their children and grandchildren. Dale passed away in Milwaukee in December of 2012.     


Kelly Kennedy:

o   Kelly was born in Red Lake in the 1960s. In the 1990s Haley Meeker was born to Kelly and her partner Don Meeker in Brookfield WI. The couple subsequently chose separate paths and shared custody of daughter Haley.


o   Subsequently Kelly entered a long term relationship with partner Robert Wherly, an insurance adjustor, and shares in the upbringing of his daughter Brittany Wherly. Kelly and Robert live in Kenosha, WI.


John Kennedy:

o   John Kennedy was born in Red Lake in the early 1960s. He married Jeanne Barry, an insurance underwriter, in Milwaukee. The couple proceeded to have two children, Trevor and Brian, born in Milwaukee.


o   In deference to his Canadian roots and in support of his sons John has been significantly involved in minor hockey in the Milwaukee area.


Jean Kennedy:

o   Jean was born in Red Lake in the early 1960s. In the 1980s Jean gave birth to Tyler Kennedy in Milwaukee.


o   In the early 1990s Jean married carpenter Tim Galten in Milwaukee and became stepmother to Tim’s then three year old son Patrick Galten, also born in Milwaukee.  The couple makes their home in the Milwaukee area.


        Jim Kennedy:

o   Similar to the rest of his siblings Jim was born in Red Lake in the early 1960s.Jim is occupied in sales.


o   Jim married Suzanne “Sue” Mottsey, a systems analyst who was born in Kingston, NY. The couple had Skyler Kennedy in Milwaukee; they adopted Jenna Jinyu Kennedy in China in the mid part of the first decade of this millennium.



Larry Kwasnycia:

·         Larry was born in Red Lake in 1952 and after high school followed his older brother Steve to British Columbia where he took up employment as a heavy equipment operator in the aggregate industry, initially in the Vancouver area and later at Sechelt on Vancouver Island.


·         In 1977 Larry married Georgina Hamilton in North Vancouver and as a result became stepfather to Michael and Victoria “Vicki” Casselman.


o   Cole Casselman was subsequently born to Michael in Vancouver.


o   Vicki Casselman had a daughter Michaela Casselman in 1992 and a son Dekker Dunlop in 1993.  


§  Michaela Cassleman married Keiron Kinneard who came to the marriage with a son Damion.  In 2012 the couple, with original BC roots, was living in Buchanan, SK while Keiron worked in nearby Preeceville, SK, the location from which this Canadian family adventure originally began. A daughter Lilly was born to them in 2010.


·         Larry died of cancer in Sechelt, BC in 2006.  Georgina makes her home in North Vancouver.



The Myrtle (Kwasnicia) Boyko Family:


Myrtle (Kwasnicia) Boyko – 80th Birthday – Kelowna, 1992


·         Marta “Myrtle” Kwasnicia was born on July 1, 1912 in Preeceville, SK, the eldest daughter of Stephan and Dora Kwasnicia. The name “Myrtle” was assigned to Marta as a young girl by an employer who did not like her given name; it stuck!


·         After attending Chechow school Myrtle began working off the farm and was employed in Kelvington, in nearby Ketchen at Mrs. Cutler’s, and in The Pas in Manitoba.


·         In April 1928 the Chechow District received a new immigrant direct from the ‘old country’ community of the same name; one 17 year old Mike Boyko arrived in the Preeceville area under the sponsorship of his uncle Nick Boyko, already a resident of Chechow District. Young Mike, in possession of a Polish passport, had left Antwerp, Belgium on March 3, 1928 on the ship Arabic and arrived in Canada at Pier 21 in Halifax on March 28.


·         Mike’s birth date had traditionally been given as April 7, 1911; however, a recently uncovered school report for 1925/26 gives his date of birth as April 17, 1911.


·         Young Mike initially stayed with his Boyko relatives in order to get ‘the lay of the land’ and, once comfortable, he opened his own shoe repair shop in Ketchen, located on the rail line about a mile and a half north of the Kwasnicia homestead.


·         It is not known where Myrtle and Mike first met; it may have been in Ketchen, or it may have been in Chechow District where Mike showed a talent at directing adults in plays for concerts at the local school. In any event they somehow made a connection.


·         But alas, the shoe repair business in Ketchen was deemed not lucrative enough for Mike’s needs and he eventually moved to Flin Flon where he opted for a career in mining and its associated regular wages.     


·         In 1936 Mike decided to make a strategic move to the nickel mines of Sudbury and low and behold he was followed there by Myrtle who also found employment in the town. On January 14, 1937 the couple was married in the Knox Presbyterian Church manse in Sudbury.


·         Some eight weeks later Mike was laid off due to a downturn in the nickel business and the young couple decided they had no alternative but to make their way back to Preeceville and the security of family and friends. On their way west through Ontario Mike suggested that it might be best if they arrived back in Saskatchewan with a few dollars in their pockets and further suggested that they could accomplish same if they took a bit of a side-trip into a promising new gold camp in Northwestern Ontario where the rumor mill indicated the mines were crying for experienced hands. Mike indicated that they would have to fly into the camp because it was isolated in the bush and without rail or road access; however, they would only stay a maximum of six months until they got their “stake” together. So into Red Lake they flew on March 31, 1937 and once there that promised “six months” eventually turned into the rest of their lives.


·         The couple found accommodation in Red Lake with Dona and Gus Stanchuck who had capacity to keep boarders in their seven room house. Myrtle assumed the responsibility of feeding the six male borders who rented the Stanchuk’s other three rooms, charging them each $47/month for breakfast, box lunches, and supper. She later noted that after buying all the food for this endeavor she generally broke even. After a year Mile and Myrtle acquired their own home, a sturdy log house which was still occupied in 1972. The family lived in Red Lake until 1945 when they moved to Madsen. 


·         Mike first secured employment at the Goldshore Mine where he worked for 18 months until the operation closed. In 1939 Mike found employment at Madsen Red Lake Gold mines where he worked underground for the next decade. In 1959 he took up plumbing and pipefitting and moved to a primarily “surface” job. One of his responsibilities as chief pipefitter was managing the water supply for both the mine and the community, a function he carried into the mid-1960s.


·         Firstborn daughter Olga “Olive” Boyko was born at home in Red Lake c 1940. Because of superior medical facilities and the local support of family Myrtle’s second daughter Sonja Ann was born in Preeceville, SK in 1943.


·         For a number of years Myrtle was employed as janitor at the Madsen school; just before she retired she spent three seasons cooking at a summer tourist lodge, Bow Narrows Camp, at the west end of Red Lake.


·         Mike passed away in October 1968 from leukophilia, a cancerous blood condition. Myrtle eventually moved back into Red Lake in the mid-1970s where she lived an active life until afflicted with Alzheimer’s in the mid-1990s; she passed away from the effects of a heart attack in Red Lake in April 2002. The couple is buried in the Red Lake cemetery.         



Olive Boyko:

·         Olive received her secondary education in Red Lake and took post-secondary secretarial courses in Winnipeg.


·         In 1958 Olive married Don Veal, a miner and diamond driller, and subsequently a carpenter-contractor, in Red Lake. Don was born in Dauphin, MB, the son of Courtney Veal Jr. and Josephine Mather. The couple and their three children and families made their home in Red Lake. Don Veal passed away in Thunder Bay in the winter of 2014 in his 76th year.


Kirk Veal:


o   Kirk Veal was born in Red Lake in the late 1950s. Kirk works in construction; with his second wife he was a partner in a local car rental agency.


o   Kirk first married Valerie McIvor of Red Lake and the couple had two children, Burgundy and Jasmin. Kirk and Valerie separated and eventually divorced.


§  Burgundy Veal married Brent Dick in Red Lake in 2009 and became stepmother to his twin daughters McKenzie and Taylor Dick. In February 2013 Burgundy and Brent became parents to son Ashton Onyx Dick.


§  Jasmin Veal has one son, Deven Veal-Denkiewicz, born in Red Lake in 2005; she is employed in Red Lake. Deven represents the first member of the sixth generation of Stephan and Dora’s family in North America (he would be a great, great, great grandson).


o   In the 1990s Kirk married Winnipeg-born Karen Reiter; the couple had one child, Jackson Veal, born in Red Lake. Jackson continues to live and work in Red Lake. The couple separated c 1910.     


     Karen Veal:


o   Karen Veal was born in Red Lake in the early 1960s. In the mid-1980s she married Montreal-born Joseph Giuseppe “Peppi” Pace of Red Lake. Peppi works as a maintenance carpenter for the Red Lake Municipality while Karen owns and operates Red Lake Travel Service.


o   Karen and Peppi have two children, Kyle, who  studied natural resource management in Lindsay, ON and who in early 2019 was a Conservation Officer working for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Fort Frances, ON, and Ryley, who after playing midget AAA hockey with the Kenora Thistles in the Manitoba league, moved into junior hockey in Neepawa in 2011. In 2019 he is a journeyman carpenter working out of Red Lake and involved in part-time coaching of the Red Lake Miners junior hockey team.


    Kimberly Veal


o   Kimberly Veal was born in Red Lake in the mid-1960s and received her post-secondary education in law and security in Winnipeg. Since graduating she has been employed in Red Lake in the para-legal and law enforcement fields.


o   Kimberly married Kurt Wood in Red Lake in 2000. Kurt was born in Bissett, Manitoba and is employed at the Goldcorp mine in Red Lake.



Sonja Boyko:

·         Sonja grew up in Madsen in the Red Lake District and received her secondary education in Red Lake; she attained a post-secondary teaching diploma in Thunder Bay. Retiring in 2005, she had specialized in the kindergarten area and had been employed with a number of school boards across Ontario.


·         Sonja married Ray Riley in the mid-1960s in Red Lake. Ray was born in Nova Scotia c1942 and was the son of Alban Riley and S Dora Rice. He spent a career in natural resource management with the Ontario government.


·         The Rileys have two children, Christopher born in Kenora in 1972 and living in Thunder Bay, and Jill born in Winnipeg in 1975 and presently employed in the early childhood education area in Thunder Bay.



The Stella (Kwasnicia) Taylor Family:


Stella Kwasnicia - undated


·         Stella, Stephan and Dora’s third child, was born in Preeceville in 1914 and like the rest of her siblings attended Chechow School. Stella left home to find employment in The Pas, Manitoba, probably in association with her older sister Myrtle. While in Northern Manitoba she met Jim Taylor, son of Margaret (Taylor) Freedman and whose stepfather, Joe Freedman, was the mayor of the northern mining community of Flin Flon, MB. The couple was eventually married in Flin Flon in the mid-1930s.


·         Stella and Jim had two children in Flin Flon, Robert “Bob” and Deanna Taylor, both born prior to WWII.


·         Jim served in the RCAF during WWII and during that period Stella assisted her in-laws in operating a store and café in Flin Flon. Jim apparently returned from the air force with a somewhat changed personality and their relationship deteriorated to the point that circa 1950 Stella effectively ‘disappeared’. There is some oral history that she was subsequently observed and spoken to by a former Preeceville resident on a bus in Detroit; she did not attend the proposed meeting the next day. Stella’s whereabouts after Flin Flon continue to mystify.



Robert “Bob” Taylor:


·         Bob, intermittently living with his Kwasnycia relatives, in particularly Mike and Pauline Chopty, attended the Chechow School. In his late teens and early 20’s he boarded with his Aunt Myrtle in Madsen, Ontario where he worked at the Madsen mine, an experience that married him to the mining industry in which he spent the bulk of his successful career in equipment sales.


·         During one later downturn in the fortunes of the mining industry Bob secured employment with a Canadian brokerage firm where he worked for a successful five years.


·         Described as a “character” by many that knew him, he was also a recognized quality hockey player and downhill ski racer.


·         Bob first married Barry Richard in Manitowadge, ON and the couple initially lived in Winnipeg. They had two children, both born in Manitowadge, daughter Angela and son Bradley Taylor. The marriage dissolved in the mid-1970s.


·         Shortly thereafter Bob married Maureen McDougall in North Bay; the couple eventually moved to Sudbury in support of Bob’s employment. They had no children.


·         Bob died of an aneurism in a North Bay, ON hotel in November of 1998.



Deanna Taylor:


·         Deanna was raised in Flin Flon by her grandparents; she continued to pursue the opportunity of spending summer vacations at the farm in Preeceville, maintaining ongoing relationships with Saskatchewan cousins.


·       Deanna married Harvey Mohr in Flin Flon, MB in 1959 and subsequently had two children in Sarnia ON, daughter Dana and son Kyle. Harvey worked initially with the Hudson Bay Company, first in Flin Flon and subsequently in Sarnia, Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg. He later worked in administration with The North West Company in Winnipeg, which company was formed in 1987 to purchase and subsequently operate the northern stores of HBC’s Northern Division. Harvey died in Winnipeg in December of 2011. Deanna passed away in Winnipeg in April 2013.              


o   Dana Mohr is a writer and communications specialist living in Winnipeg where she works for the Winnipeg Health Authority as Regional Manager of French Language Services.


o   Kyle is employed as a chef in the fine art of cooking, has worked in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, including Whistler, and was recently Executive Chef at the Radisson Hecla Resort on Hecla Island in Lake Winnipeg.



Four Cousins – Deanna, Olive, Lorraine, Sonja – at the Kwasnicia Homestead - 1948




 Four Cousins – Olive, Deanna, Lorraine, Sonja – at the Fishing Lake Reunion – 1988



The Ann (Kwasnicia) Yacishyn Family:


Ann (Kwasnicia) Yacishyn - 1988


·         Ann was born in Preeceville in November 1919; she was registered in Grade 1 in the Chechow School in 1927 as was her future husband Nick Yacishyn.


·         Circa 1940 Ann followed in her older sister Myrtle’s footsteps into northwestern Ontario and found work in the restaurant trade in Red Lake.


·         By 1941 she had returned to Preeceville where she married Nickolas “Nick” Yacishyn in November of that year. Nick, born in Preeceville in 1920, was the son of Samuel and Alexandra Yacishyn former residents of Hryhoriw, Austria, who had arrived in the Preeceville area in 1910 and claimed, and eventually improved, homestead SW 20.34.6.W2 about nine miles west of Preeceville.  


·         After marriage Nick and Anne settled in a newly constructed log house on unimproved quarter section NW 17.34.6.W2 about nine miles west of Preeceville and near Nick’s parent’s homestead. In the summer of 1942 the couple cleared and broke 15 acres of land with their four horses.


·         Ann and Nick eventually raised six children on the homestead: Pauline “Paulette”, Thomas “Tom”, Robert, John, Philip, and Bonnie. Robert and John never married. Philip died in April of 2002 in Saskatoon of a heart attack; Robert died of cancer in Preeceville in November 2007.


·         Nick died in 1997. Ann, with assistance from her son Robert, stayed on the farm until Robert passed away in 2007 after which she moved to Winnipeg to live with her daughter Paulette. Ann passed away in Winnipeg in November, 2010 in her 92nd year. 



Paulette Yacishyn:

·         Paulette was born in Preeceville in the early 1940s; after high school Paulette found initial employment in an institutional setting near Winnipeg. In the mid-1960s she married Stan Nickarz, son of Stanley Nickarz and Lilly Ezinicki, and they moved to Winnipeg. The couple subsequently had three daughters in Winnipeg: Krystal, Kara, and Koralee. The marriage dissolved not long after daughter Kara was tragically killed in a neighbourhood automobile-bicycle accident.


·         Paulette found her niche in the food business and pursued catering in Winnipeg and the provision of chef services to a number of summer tourist lodges in northern Ontario and northern Manitoba.


·         Krystal works in communications for Manitoba Hydro. Koralee to date has had quite an eclectic career in the arts, including both advertising and film and more recently in music as a singer-songwriter.     



Tom Yacishyn: 

·         Tom was born in Preeceville in the mid-1940s. He married Marilyn Auth in the early 1970s and the couple had three children, Thomas, Jason, and David. The family has made its home in Edmonton, AB.



John Yacishyn:

·         John was born in Preeceville in the late 1940s. He married Leslie Patterson and the couple had two children, Shannon and Twyla. The family lived in Calgary during the early 1980s.



Bonnie Yacishyn:

·         Bonnie was born in Preeceville in the mid-1950s and spent much of her adult life working in Winnipeg. She is married to David Roseborough of Kenora, ON. 



The Mary Kwasnicia Family:


Mary Kwasnicia -1973


·         Mary was born in Preeceville in 1920. Mary initially followed her sister Stella to Flin Flon for employment reasons and she later worked in Saskatoon. She subsequently returned to the farm at Preeceville where her daughter Lorraine was born at the beginning of WWII.


·         Mary and Lorraine remained on the farm with Baba Dora until 1948 when they collectively moved into Preeceville to a newly built house constructed under the watchful eye of son-in-law/brother-in-law carpenter Nick Yacishyn.


·         In Preeceville Mary was initially employed by the local doctor and later became a long term employee at the Golden West Hotel.


·         Mary died of cancer in 1983.



Lorraine Kwasnicia:

·         Lorraine grew up in Preeceville and in the late 1950s married Nick Zawerucha who had grown up in Saskatchewan’s Halycry District southwest of the Chechow District. Nick was the youngest of 13 children born to Mike Zawerucha and Paraska Owchar and was born on the family quarter section NE 2.34.7.W2 located about nine miles as the crow flies southwest of Preeceville. Nick moved into Preeceville from the farm in 1949.


·         Lorraine and Nick initially moved to Winnipeg shortly after their marriage where Nick was employed by The Hudson Bay Company and where Lorraine found clerical work. In 1969 the couple left chilly Winnipeg for the balmy Lower Mainland of BC, settling first in North Vancouver, then to a house in Maple Ridge in 1978, in 1990 to a condominium in Pitt Meadows, and in 2011 back into a house in Chilliwack. While they both continued to be employed on a part time basis for a number of years by 2019 they had both defined themselves as 'retired'!



The Pauline (Kwasnicia) Chopty Family:



 Pauline (Kwasnicia) Chopty - 1988


·         Pauline was born in Preeceville in November of 1921. Circa 1940 she, too, went into Red Lake and was employed in the restaurant trade for a short period of time.


·         Back in Preeceville she married Mike Chopty in 1944 and the couple began farming on the homestead of Mike’s grandfather George in the Orange Vale District southwest of Preeceville. The couple raised four children on the farm: Willie, Sonja, Randy, and Kelly. Mike continued farming into his 70s until forced to quit for health reasons.


·         The couple moved from the farm first into Preeceville where they lived in brother Sam Kwasnicia’s in-town home; they subsequently moved to Regina early in the new millennium where Mike passed away in February 2009. Pauline, the last remaining Kwasnicia sibling, resides in a Regina nursing home under the watcheye of her daughter Kelly. 



Willard “Willy” Chopty:

·         Willy was born in the Preeceville area in the mid-1940s. He was early afflicted with TB and spent some months in a Sanatorium at Fort Qu’appelle from which he emerged with a clean bill of health.


·         He spent his career in sales across the west, including Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Immediately before retiring c 2005 and moving to Vancouver Island he was employed in servicing the farming and industrial tire market in southern Saskatchewan with a national brand.


·         He first married Alice Wald in Wilkie, SK but the marriage did not last. In the 1990s he married nurse Cheryl Emsley, daughter of Lawrence Emsley and Jean Cuthburt, in Las Vegas. Cheryl subsequently died of cancer in Saskatoon in 2008.  



Sonja Chopty:

·         After leaving Preeceville circa 1967 Sonja spent a couple years working for Manitoba Telephone in Winnipeg, initially living with cousin Lorraine and Nick.  She moved to Vancouver in 1969 and entered the flight attendant profession where she continues to be employed.  



Randy Chopty:

·         Randy was born in Preeceville in the mid-1950s and has spent a career as a railway conductor out of Melville, SK. Randy had a son Drew Chopty with partner Cheryl Opitz but the relationship could not be sustained. Drew is presently living in Montreal.


·         Randy subsequently married Karen Kelln with whom he had a second son, Michael Chopty but that marriage has since dissolved. In 2011 Michael Chopty was playing forward with the Melville Millionaires hockey team; Karen Chopty was listed as canteen manager for the Melville Minor Hockey Association.



Kelly Chopty:

·         Kelly was born in Preeceville in the mid-1960s; she graduated from Preeceville High School in 1981 and from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995. In 2000-2001 she was employed as Secretary of the Town of Wolseley, SK.


·         Kelly married Anthony Sepos in Saskatoon and in 2010 the couple was living in White City immediately east of Regina.


·         Anthony worked with his brother-in-law Willy for a number of years in the industrial tire market in the southern Saskatchewan area as a mobile distributor of tires and wheel products for a national chain. 


·         Kelly and Anthony moved to Vancouver Island c 2011.



The Philip Kwasnicia Family:


Philip Kwasnicia – 1973


·         Philip Kwasnicia was born in the Preeceville area in 1924. Like a couple of his siblings before him Philip initially went to The Pas, MB, when he left home in 1940 and worked there on a dairy farm until the spring of 1941. From The Pas he migrated to St. Catherine’s, ON where he worked on a fruit farm and in a factory making cloth trimming known as rickrack; in the winter of 1942 he moved to Windsor, ON and gained employment at the Ford Motor Company. 


·         In 1943 he enlisted in the Canadian army, undertaking his basic training in Southern Ontario and his signals and wireless training at Debert, Nova Scotia. In the spring of 1943 Phillip was shipped to England via Halifax and after a short stay was transshipped as a member of the Westminster Regiment to Naples, Italy as part of the reinforcement cadre on the Italian front.


·         After seeing action in Italy his regiment was again transshipped, this time to Marseille, France from which place they drove overland to Holland via Belgium where the regiment rejoined the Canadian army and assisted in the spring of 1945 in the mopping up of the remaining German troops in Holland until the war’s end. Phillip was shipped back to Canada on the Queen Mary via New York City. He arrived back in Preeceville in January 1946, initially staying with his mother on the farm. He was formally discharged in Regina on March 22, 1946.


·         In November 1946 he married Helen Banadyga, the fourth of five children born to Marion Banadayga and Mary Kozminsky, who had themselves married in the Preeceville area in 1918. Marion was the youngest of three children of Mykyta and Mary Banadyga and who in 1903 at the age of six had immigrated to Canadawith his parents from Kowaliwaka in the western Ukraine. Marion took over his father’s homestead at SW 12.34.6.W2 when his father died prematurely in the fall of 1911.  


·         Helen had earlier completed her education in Hryhoriw school and then set off to Toronto where she worked in a “war factory” for the duration of WWII.


·         Philip and Helen in early January 1947 made their way to Red Lake where Philip was employed at the Madsen mine for four years and where his two oldest children Larry and Gail were born. In 1951 the family moved to Wawa, ON where Philip continued his mining career with Algoma Steel.


·         In January 1953 the family moved to Wadena, SK where Philip and Helen went into partnership with Helen’s brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Margaret Banadyga, in a Maclouds Authorized Dealer store in Wadena. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Watson, SK, to open a second franchise in that community. The couple’s third and fourth children, Randy and Kevin were born in Watson.


·         In 1979 Philip and Helen sold their interest in the Macleods franchise and in 1980 semi-retired to Saskatoon where Philip undertook part time employment with the Canadian Corp of Commissionaires. Philip died Saskatoon in 1989 and Helen in the same community in 1998.



Larry Kwasnicia:           

·         Larry was born in Red Lake in the mid-1940s. In the early 1970s Larry married Edith Schmid, daughter of Frank Schmid and Amelia Knafelc of Watson, SK, in that community. The couple had two children Ria, born in Humboldt, SK, and Dale, born in Saskatoon.  


·         Like his father before him Larry pursued the retail business world and for a number of years worked in the Co-op store system in Saskatchewan.


·         Larry and Edith are retired and living in Red Deer, AB


Ria Kwasnicia


o   Ria Kwasnicia recently married Chris Norbert.



Gail Kwasnicia:

·         Gail was born in Red Lake in the late 1940s and married Russ Campbell, son of William Campbell and Hilda Thicket, in Watson, SK. The couple had two children, Korina and Stacy. Russ’ employment in the broader banking system saw the family living in both Saskatchewan and Alberta.  


Korina Campbell


o   Korina was born in Edmonton, AB, and was trained as a health technician. In the mid-2000s she married Gary Smith, a heavy equipment operator, and the couple had one child, Brock Smith, in Lethbridge, AB.


Stacy Campbell


o   Stacy Campbell was born in Drumheller, AB, and she married Ryan Fedechko.



Randy Kwasnicia:  

·         Randy was born in Watson, SK in the mid-1950s. He married Marianne Schmitz in Watson, SK; Marianne was the daughter of Florin Schmitz and Rose Nordick. The couple had two children, Lindsay and Braden, both born in Calgary. Lindsay graduated from the University of Victoria in geography and environmental studies and in 2010 was living in the Vancouver area. Braden has become involved in audio engineering.


·         Randy graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with degrees in economics and marketing. He spent most of his career as a principal in the oil and gas drilling business servicing the Alberta oil patch. He presently sits on the board of directors of several businesses in Alberta associated with the oil and gas and mining sectors and is president of Bralin Management Ltd., a private oil and gas and real estate investment company.


·          Marianne is employed in Calgary as an independent research professional.



Kevin Kwasnicia: 

·         Kevin was born in Watson circa 1960. He married Candace Dahlseide in Loydminister, AB, daughter of Ken Dahlseide and Velma Harriott.  Kevin and Candace had two children, Philip born in Weyburn, SK, and Devon-Lynn born in Lloydminister, AB.


·         Not unlike his siblings Kevin followed the entrepreneurial route and after a period in sales took on the ownership and operation of an A&W outlet in Weyburn, SK. The couple now lives in Warman, SK, a short distance north of Saskatoon.



The Sam Kwasnicia Family:

Sam Kwasnicia – 1988


·         Sam was the youngest of Stephan and Dora’s children and was born in the Preeceville area in 1925. In 1949 he married Josie Stachiw, the daughter of Wasyl [Bill] Stachiw and Ksena Demtriw; Josie was raised on a farm south of and close to Preeceville.


·         The couple initially lived on and farmed Sam’s father Stephan’s homestead but later moved to and purchased NW 20.34.6.W2, the same quarter section on which his brother Mike and wife Stella had started their married life in the late 1930s. The couple had four children, Peggy, Ronnie, Linda, and Lorri.


·         Sam farmed for most of his adult life and died of cancer in 2007. Josie continues to live in Preeceville.



Peggy Kwasnicia:

·         Peggy was born in Preeceville. She married Al Dirkson; the couple had one son Zachary Dirkson, and subsequently separated. Peggy lives in the Charleswood area of Winnipeg and works in the area of institutional personal care at a major Winnipeg lodge setting.



Ron “Ronnie” Kwasnicia:

·         Ronnie was born in Preeceville. He initially worked as a heavy equipment contractor in the Preeceville area and subsequently moved to Yorkton from which location he has more recently been working at Fort McMurray, AB.


·         Ronnie and Carol Holowachuk had two sons: Jesse Kwasnicia who was recently living in Saskatoon, and Jason Kwasnicia, who was recently living and working in Yorkton.


·         Most recently Carol has been working for the Saskatchewan Government in Yorkton as Assistant Supervisor of Child Protection Services.



Linda Kwasnicia:

·         Linda, born in Preeceville, married Ramsay Clark, and the couple had two children, Lindsay Clark and Matthew Clark.


·         The couple was living in Regina circa 1982 and subsequently lived in Winnipeg.    



Lorri Kwasnicia:

·         Lorri was born in Preeceville in the late 1950s and now resides in South Headingly, MB in her parents’ former home which she had moved to its new location. Lorri works in Winnipeg as an office administrator for a national survey company.


·         Lorri and former partner Jim Moir had one child, daughter Taylor Moir.