BUYNIAK, Victor Orest
October 12, 1925 – March 29, 2013
It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Victor O. Buyniak. Victor was born in Central Poland where his parents were school teachers at the time. Little did he know where his life journey would take him. He completed his primary education in Poland but his secondary education was interrupted several times because of the Second World War. Life was difficult under the different occupiers, and one had to learn first the art of survival. Victor had many close encounters and narrow escapes. For a brief period he was able to resume his secondary education in Western Ukraine. But this was no time for school. Being young, idealistically inclined and unsophisticated, he answered the call of his country and fought on four different fronts for what he believed was the cause of his nation. Because of his familiarity with different languages, after the end of hostilities in 1945, Victor was attached to the Liaisons Officer at the Headquarters of the British Occupation Troops in Klagenfurt, Austria. From there he was sent in 1946 to a school for the military in Southern Italy to resume his secondary education, which he finally completed in 1947 in Cambridgeshire, Great Britain. For over a year he worked as a clerk in the records office of the War Department in Jasper Camp near Godalming, Surrey. Later, in 1948, he won a scholarship and was to go to attend a School of Port Administration in London, but instead decided to immigrate to Canada, where he spent over two years working for the C.P.R. in Calgary. With some money saved and some scholarships he was able to enroll in Modern Languages at the University of Alberta. He completed his B.A. Honours degree there in 1954 and was awarded a fellowship to study in France. He did his graduate studies at the University of Alberta (M.A. in Modern Languages), Columbia, University of Toronto and Ottawa University (Ph. D. in Slavic Studies), supported with different grants and fellowships. He joined the staff of the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Slavic Studies, in 1958, where he was employed for 35 years. He retired in 1993 as Professor Emeritus. During this time Victor occupied a number of teaching and administrative positions. He was active in various local, national and international learned, cultural, ethnic and professional organizations and held positions on their executives. Thus, in 1965-1966 he was president of the Canadian Association of Slavists, in 1980-1983 he was Member of the Publications Committee of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, in 1993-1994 the Canadian Representative of the International Association of Ukrainists, an Associate Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, to mention a few. He was a founding Editor of the Canadian Association of Slavists' Newsletter, 1960, which is still in publication today. Victor was an author of many scholarly, literary and educational studies, among them, history of Slavic Studies in Canada, teaching of Ukrainian in Saskatchewan schools, manuals on teaching language, literature and culture, and hundreds of articles and book reviews. In addition to teaching and research, as a linguist, he translated, orally and in writing, hundreds and hundreds of letters, documents and texts for the public in general and for his university colleagues. He translated into English the Doukhobor Book of Life, and edited, in English and Ukrainian, texts for a book containing history of the Ukrainian Catholic Women's Organizations in Saskatchewan. He prepared an English translation of the Roster of Fonds, held by the Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine for the Canadian Genealogical Society. Victor tried to instill in his students the appreciation of Slavic languages, literatures and culture, and was especially interested in the promotion of Ukrainian studies. Thus, in 1999, he funded the Lesya Ukrainka Chair for Ukrainian Studies at the Prairie Centre for the Study of Ukrainian Heritage, Saint Thomas More College. He also helped to finance the placement of the statue of the most prominent Ukrainian woman author in a special garden dedicated to her in front of the Main Library Building on the University of Saskatchewan Campus. For his manifold activities and contributions Victor was honoured by the University of Saskatchewan, Saint Thomas More College, the Canadian Association of Slavists, the Saskatchewan Teachers of Ukrainian, the Saskatoon Chapter of the Philanthropists Society, the Shevchenko Society and a host of other organizations and institutes. The title of Nation Builder was bestowed upon him by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in 2011. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lesya Ukrainka Chair, c/o St. Thomas More College, 1437 College Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0W6. A Service of Remembrance will be held Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Acadia McKague's Funeral Centre. (915 Acadia Drive, Saskatoon, Ph. 306-955-1600) Pallbearers are all who attend this Memorial Service.