Evelyn Kowalchuk

Evelyn (Chaychuk) Kowalchuk, 93, of Moneta, left this world to join her son Ivan and husband, Andrew in the Forever After on April 7, 2013. Born on March 29, 1920 in Jersey City, she was the youngest of three sisters to parents born in the Ukraine. Starting at 15 Evelyn worked at the RCA Radio Factory in Harrison, NJ as a solder but her main interest since age of five was to be a “Mother and Nurse”. After Graduating in 1941 from the Newark Memorial Hospital in Belleville (now Clara Maass Nursing School), Evelyn, against her mother’s wishes, joined the United States Army Air Corps. She trained for the Flight Nurses Training and Air Evacuation at Bowman Air Field in Kentucky. Only eight weeks later, in April of 1944 along with 24 other flight nurses, Evelyn was sent to England as part of the United States Army Air Corps 818th Medical Evacuation Transport Squadron providing comfort and much needed medical assistance. Evelyn flew to Normandy on D-Day +3 to provide assistance returning with wounded soldiers from Omaha Beach often under fire from enemy forces. After the war and being honorably discharged from the Army in 1946, Evelyn continued her nursing career, first as a school nurse in the Newark Board of Education and Health, then becoming the first female school nurse at Newark Academy, Livingston, finishing her nursing career in the Irvington Board of Education. In between she received a Master’s Degree plus 32 credits in School Health and Guidance from Kean College. Was an Alumnus of Seton Hall and Jersey City State. After her move to Livingston, Evelyn married builder Andrew Kowalchuk on January10, 1948, having two sons, Peter Andrew and Ivan James. Her son Ivan followed in his parents footsteps and joined the military with the United States Marines. Finally retiring with 14 years of service in 1988 Evelyn moved to Huddleston, at the age of 68. In Virginia, Evelyn stayed very active. Each week she worked with a student learning program at Huddleston Elementary School as a book buddy, sewed children’s sweaters and pre-natal caps for a relief organization, and also volunteered at Carilion Bedford Memorial Hospital. Evelyn was also known for her volunteer work at the National D-Day Memorial Foundation. Then on June 6, 2001 Evelyn had the privilege of escorting President George W. Bush to the National D-Day Memorial dedication ceremony. Evelyn then went on to receive the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, on April 3, 2002 in recognition of all the nurses who gallantly served the wounded soldiers in France. She also received the Air Medal, ETO Ribbon, and American Theatre Ribbon and was also recognized for her campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, Central Europe and especially Normandy. A member of the 1st Ukrainian Presbyterian Church in Irvington since 1932 and later becoming a member of Patmos Methodist Church in Huddleston. A life member of the VFW and the American Legion post # 54 of Bedford. A life member of the Flight Nurses Association, Order of the Eastern Star of New Jersey MIZPAH chapter # 33, Charter member of the Women in Military Service in Washington, first female veteran to be elected on the Board of Directors of the World War II 315th Troop Carrier Group Association, Federated Women’s Club, appeared in June 2002 article National Geographic, honored as the Citizen of the Year in 2002 in her Smith Mountain Lake Ruritan Club, and making numerous speaking engagements about her military and nursing experiences. She was also recognized for so many more accomplishment and achievements but most of all was known for her sense of humor, courageous ambitions, her remarkable smile and loving nature as a pioneer Air Flight Nurse who took care of so many. She will be missed by many especially her beloved son Peter. Those wishing to make memorial contributions in Evelyn’s name please consider, The National D-Day Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 77, Bedford, VA 24523. A Celebration of Evelyn’s life will be conducted at 10 am on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Trinity Ecumenical Parrish in Moneta with Rev. Dr. Gary K. Scheidt officiating. The family will arrange for a burial in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. To send condolences online please visit www.tharpfuneralhome.com. Arrangements by Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford, (540)-586-3443.

Funeral Home

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory
320 North Bridge Street Bedford, VA 24523-1928
(540) 586-3443
Published in Bedford Bulletin from Apr. 17 to Apr. 18, 2013