June 17th, 1931-April 2nd, 2021
Sylvia (nee Wenke) Kuziw, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and sister, entered into eternal rest in Suffern, NY, surrounded by her family, on Good Friday, April 2nd, 2021. A visitation will be held on Friday, April 9th, 2021 at 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Higgins Home For Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ 07069. A Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, April 10th, 2021 at 11:30 am at St. Andrew’s Memorial Church, 280 Main Street, South Bound Brook, NJ 08880 followed by an interment at St. Andrew’s Memorial Cemetery.
Sylvia was born in the village of Zhadova, Bukovina Province, Ukraine, in the green and beautiful foothills of the mighty Carpathian Mountains. Her love for mountains and the nature surrounding them, became part of her from those early days and lasted till the end of her life, which ended in the Ramapo Mountains of NY. As a child she was always at the side of her grandmother Angelina Corvino, who instilled a love for gourmet cooking, masterful baking and the arts, which remained with her for the rest of her life. The Second World War tore Sylvia and her family away from Ukraine and they wound up in Salzburg, Austria, where she was introduced to music, taking violin lessons. Her interest in music stayed with her throughout her life, with her moving from the violin to the organ as an adult.
In 1949 Sylvia and her family immigrated to the United States, settling in Newark, NJ. In order to support her family, Sylvia became an excellent seamstress in a bridal shop. This became her occupation till she retired from working. In addition for sewing beautiful dresses and gowns for many paying customers, she always had time to make ladies evening wear for family members. She was also a life-long member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. In the 1950’s Sylvia met the love of her life, Demetrius Kuziw, and they got married. Settling in Irvington, NJ, they had two wonderful children. In addition to running a house and working, Sylvia was an active member of her church choir.
In 1986, after retiring, Sylvia and her husband moved to Ellenville, NY, building a home, on the land next to the bungalow colony that she and her extended family maintained for twenty years, as a summer getaway. She enjoyed being in the Catskill Mountains permanently and reliving the love for nature, she experienced as a child. She became active in the local Ukrainian Catholic church, Holy Trinity, in Kerhonkson, NY, running the annual picnic in August. When Ukraine became free in 1991, Sylvia was very happy that she would be able to visit the land of her birth and see family members she didn’t see for over 50 years. She did this and brought back photos and stories to share with us here. After her husband died, she moved to St. Mary’s Villa, in Sloatsburg, NY, were she was lovingly referred to as “Miss Hollywood”, because the cheer she brought to the other residents.
One of Sylvia’s most favorite expressions of art and faith was the writing of Pysankas, highly stylized Ukrainian Easter eggs. For over 40 years, she gifted these treasures of the heart to friends and family. If she is remembered for anything, she will surely be remembered for this. She was also a member in the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, for over 50 years. Sylvia knew that all her gifts and talents were from God.
Predeceased by her parents, Gregor and Alexandrina Wenke; her husband Demetrius; her sister Livia Datz and brother Rafael Wenke. Sylvia is survived by her daughter Maria “Kvitka” Koch and husband Danny; Son Alex; Grandchildren Nicholas Koch, Roark Koch, Danielle Koch and her husband Robert Szczubelek, Zachary Koch, Alexa Kuziw; Great-Granddaughter Lilliana Koch; Sister Daria Calluori; Nephews Cornell, Lubomyr and Marc Anthony Datz; and much beloved family in North America, Ukraine and Italy.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St, Joseph’s Adult Care Home, PO Box 8, Sloatsburg, NY 10974.