Helen Serwa, our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother, affectionately known as Bapka, died on January 22, 2018 at the age of 106 and a half. Her kindness, patience and caring ways always made you feel welcome and special. Her work ethic, wisdom and willing spirit has been and will continue to be an inspiration to her family. She encouraged all of us to be the best we could be and passed on the importance of honesty and integrity. She had 5 children, 18 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. Sadly, she was predeceased by her husband Jack in 1987, her daughters Ruth Kuhn in 1994 and Lillian Berry in 2007, as well as her great granddaughters Brittany in 1989 and Lola in 2011.
She is survived by her loving family:
The children of her daughter Ruth Kuhn (Al), Donna Drought (Peter); Chris Kuhn (Marjory) and their children Amanda and Brandon Kuhn
Her son Cliff Serwa (Lois) and their children Brad Serwa (Terri) and their children Kristi, Jason and Kelsey Serwa; Tanya Courtorielle (Victor) and Tanya’s son Shawn Goertzen; Kevin Serwa (Teri-Lyn) and their son Matthew Serwa; Peter Angle (Krista) and his children Dillon and Mikayla Angle; Susan Angle (Justice); and David Angle (Allie) and his sons James and Andrew Angle
Her daughter Doreen Large (Phil) and their children David Large and his sons Quinn and Zander Large; Michael Large (Lisa) and his children Christopher and Alexandrea Large; Jackie Large and her son Brenden Large; Jennifer Large and her son Keagan Potash; Teri Large and her son Nate Litowitz
The children of her daughter Lillian Berry, Tawny Berry; Lori Stone and her children Gary Stone (Amy) and their children Keith and Paisley Stone; Stefanie Stone.
Her daughter Helen Potts (Tom) and their children James, Daniel and Michael Potts
In 1899, Helen’s parents emigrated from Ukraine to Canada. In 1911, she was born in Garland, Manitoba, the tenth of thirteen children. Helen started school at the age of eight without knowing a word of English. She grew up a true Canadian pioneer. Light came from coal oil lamps, water was drawn from the well with a rope and bucket, gardens were their source of food and cows provided milk. Grain and hay was cut with a scythe, then raked and stacked by hand.
Helen finished grade 12 and became a teacher in a one room school. Earlier when she was 14 and a half and he was 19, she met Jack at a wedding and thought he was very handsome. After a long friendship they were married in Dauphin on April 5th, 1932. They started their family during the Great Depression. He worked as a cook, a trucker and eventually had his own sawmill. She helped Jack as much as she could.
They moved to Kelowna in 1945 and Jack started the Serwa Bulldozing Company. In 1948, they built her dream home on Pacific Avenue and Helen gradually landscaped the large yard creating a park-like haven. In 1957 she helped to establish the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kelowna, sang in the choir, played the mandolin, created and sewed many ethnic dancing costumes and later excelled in Ukrainian university courses. She wrote two family history books in her 90’s and at the age of 100, she received the award for the best vegetable garden in Kelowna. Helen continued to live in her home, independent and active, until she was 105.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Michael Bobyn, an exceptional doctor and the kind and caring staff in Cottage 2 at Good Samaritan Mountainview Village. The funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, B.C.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.