Lucy (Oksana) Kukla

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Lucy (Oksana) Kukla Utica, NYLucy (Oksana) Kukla, 89, of Utica, NY, formerly of Hickory, NC, died July 28, 2014, after a long period of declining health. Lucy, a member of Saint Aloysius Catholic Church, was born near Kiev, Ukraine on May 1, 1925 and was a daughter of the late Vasili and Anna Sovchenko. For six years, Lucy's childhood was normal but then drastically changed. Suffering the rise of Communism, her family's land and home were lost to the Stalinist regime. Lucy survived the turmoil, starvation and cruelty of Stalin only to be taken by the Nazis, sent to Auschwitz and then forced to work in the labor camps in Germany. After escaping, she met and married Kazimir Karwowski, emigrated to New York and had four children before tragedy struck with the death of her husband. Lucy later met Frank Kukla, remarried and had another child. The family lived for many years in Schenectady, NY where Lucy designed and produced custom leather garments. Eventually the couple retired and moved to Hickory, NC where they made their home in the Bethlehem community. After Frank's death, and in declining health, she moved to a nursing home in Utica, NY. Lucy was talented in many ways and enjoyed gardening, flowers, fishing, making pottery, oil painting and sewing. She was an avid learner, fluent in four languages and had a beautiful singing voice. Later in life, her true fulfillment was working with the Belarus children who came to Hickory and spreading the Gospel using her life experiences as a Holocaust survivor speaking at schools, club meetings and gatherings. Lucy is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law, Richard and Loretta Karwowski and Frank and Jackie Karwowski of Schenectady, NY, and Robert and Jeanne Kukla of Hickory, NC; two daughters and a son-in-law, Anne Karwowski and Joe Buschynski of Dover Plains, NY and Dianna Karwowski-Brigadier of Cobleskill, NY; five grandsons and a granddaughter-in-law, Kaz and Angella Karwowski of Richmond TX, Thad Karwowski of Sunrise, FL, Steven Kukla of Los Angeles, CA, Jordan Brigadier of Cobleskill, NY and Philip Kukla of Hickory, NC; and a great-granddaughter, Kazia Karwowski of Richmond, TX. Visitation will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory, NC. A funeral Mass will follow at 2 p.m., conducted by Fr. Matthew Cobb. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery. Memorials may be made to , 3800 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte, NC 28215. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Bass Smith Funeral Home, 334 2nd Street NW, Hickory, NC and online condolences may be sent to www.bass-smithfuneralhome.com.

Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on Aug. 3, 2014
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