Sofia (Susan) Solonenko (nee’ Swerhun) beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother passed away peacefully with grace and dignity on February 17, 2021 at the age of 89 in the Extendicare Michener Hill Red Deer, Alberta.
Sofia (Susan) was born on May 12, 1931, in the Stornoway District, daughter of Michael and Lousia (nee’ Derkatch) Swerhun. Sofia was baptized and confirmed on June 1, 1931 at St. Josaphat’s Church, Stornoway,SK.
Sofia grew up on the family farm; being an only child she helped both her mom and dad with day to day chores on the farm. She attended Angove School and received a grade eight education. Sofia always has a song book in her hand, she sang all the time while walking four miles to school. That was the start of her love for singing.
In May 1947 Sofia attended Marvel Hairdressing School in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she obtained her Diploma in Beauty Culture/ Hairdressing.
When she returned to Stornoway her career was put on hold, as she met John Solonenko, they were united in marriage October 31, 1948 at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Yorkton, SK. Following their marriage they commenced farming south of Stornoway; they were blessed with three children Geraldine, Larry and Michael.
Sofia worked hard on the farm doing everything from baking bread, milking cows, raising chicken, turkeys and ducks. She described how the sale of cream and eggs was a part of earnings on the farm. When it came to haying and harvesting Sofia was always involved. She hauled grain and took meals out to the field while she maintained a massive vegetable garden with an abundance of flowers in the yard. She canned fruits and vegetables so that the family could have home grown food throughout the year.
Sofia enjoyed cooking and baking the kitchen was her domain where delicious three course meals were served. Ukrainian Christmas and Easter feasts were always a family favorite.
Sofia enjoyed crocheting she made several beautiful table cloths, she also loved to knit. Everyone in the family had a hand made sweater. Sofia had a great love for music, singing and dancing which gave her plenty of opportunity to dress up.
In 1976 Sofia and John moved from the farm to Yorkton, and Sofia went back to her hairdressing career; back to what she liked to do best to work with hair and she began hairdressing at the Yorkton Union Hospital and Nursing Homes. Sofia always said “Being a hairdresser you will always have a job, as hair grows”.
Sofia and John loved to travel they visited Toronto, Windsor, Vancouver, and Florida. They also made numerous trips to Calgary, Stettler and Red Deer to visit their daughter Geraldine and her family. Sadly John passed away in November 2003.
The church was a very important part of Sofia’s life; she was a cantor for many years and was an active member of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League. She liked to gather with the church ladies to hold their meetings or to make perogies and holopchi. Sofia was a member of the St. Mary’s Ukrainian Four –Voice Choir/ St. Mary’s Parish Choir and volunteered at the Cultural Centre.
August 23, 2005 was a day that Sofia would never forget; she was notified that she had won a car! Sofia was very excited when the Health Foundation drew her name and she was the winner of the grand prize Dodge Sports car. When she was presented the keys she was also handed eighteen yellow roses (which were her favorite!)
Sofia was able to remain living in her own home until June 2014 when her health started to fail. Sofia moved to Red Deer AB, to be closer to her daughter. Sofia resided at Victoria Park and Redwoods Retirement Residences. This is where she met new friends; she participated in arts and crafts and joined in all the activities that took place at the retirement home. Having her daughter close was a great comfort for Sofia.
In April 2019 Sofia’s health declined and she became a resident at Extendicare Michener Hill.
Sofia is predeceased by her husband John in 2003; her parents Michael in 1995 and Louisa in 2006; son-in-law Lloyd in 2004. She is survived by her daughter Geraldine Morrison of Red Deer, AB; sons Larry of Stornoway and Michael (Janilyn) of Yorkton; eight grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren: Donald (Lindsay) Morrison and children Macy and Jevin of Bentley AB; David Morrison of Red Deer AB; Cynthia Ashworth and children Maddison and Kasyn of Yorkton SK, Charlene (Trevor) Gibler and children Elijah, Lilia, and Micah of Yorkton SK, Chantel (Imar) Jauod and children Jeremiah and Dominic of Calgary AB, Charity (Jonathan) Skeith and children Noah and William of Calgary AB; Nicole (Brandon) Ludwar and children Kamden and Kade of Melville SK, Brittany (Phil) Adams and child Luke and Nate of Yorkton SK; as well as many cousins, relatives and families of John Solonenko.
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