Yaroslaw Kushnir

Kushnir, Yaroslaw WATERVLIET Yaroslaw Kushnir, 87, cantor and choir director at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Watervliet, died Sunday, November 4, 2012 surrounded by his loving family at Albany Memorial Hospital. Son of Ihnaty Kushnir and Sophia Hadze wycz Kushnir, Yaroslaw was born on 1/25/25 in the village of Viyshko, Peremysl Region of western Ukraine. His father Ihnaty, director of the Peremysl School of Cantering, recognized his son's exceptional talents in music and encouraged him to take up the violin at the age of six. By 14 Yaroslaw was studying alongside his father beginning his journey through life preparing to be a professional cantor and musician. With the threat of Soviet occupation nearing, the Kushnir family regretfully fled their beloved homeland of Ukraine during World War II and assumed temporary refuge in a displaced persons' camp in Germany. There Yaroslaw had the unique opportunity to continue his studies in music and directing at the Munich Conservatory. In 1949, the Kushnir's arrived in America and settled in Wilmington, Del. Immediately they found St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church where his father became the cantor and Yaroslaw the church choir director. In 1954 he married his beloved wife Theodosia and later was blessed with three lovely daughters. In 1965, Yaroslaw moved his family to Watervliet accepting positions as cantor and choir director at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church and teacher of Ukrainian language and music at St. Nicholas Parochial School until its closure in 1970. Yaroslaw dedicated his life and efforts to the preservation of the Ukrainian Catholic tradition as well as the propagation of Ukrainian culture and language. He was very successful in organizing major church and community events, choirs, instrumental ensembles, musicals and patriotic commemorations. His musical talent allowed him to write and arrange most of the materials he used. In 2005, Yaroslaw was awarded the Papal Medal of Dedication "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" by Pope John Paul II for his 60 plus years of service to the catholic church. He was a wealth of knowledge and a valuable resource on the topics of the Byzantine rite, church and religious music, Ukrainian language and affairs. His greatest joy was to pass down the love of the Ukrainian Eastern Rite, Ukrainian tradition and language to his daughters and granddaughters. Yaroslaw is survived by his wife of 58 years, Theodosia Matkiwsky Kushnir; daughters, Vera N. Kushnir of Watervliet, Natalka Y. (William) Verzole and Luba C. (Nicholas) Kushnir-Dryansky both of Clifton Park; granddaughters, Oleksandra and Zenia Verzole; brothers-in-law, Dr. Zenon (Nadia) and Dr. Walter (Ivanka) Matkiwsky of Short Hills, N.J.; nieces, nephews and cousins of the Hadzewycz, Platosh and Matkiwsky families. The family would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to the wonderful staff at Albany Memorial Hospital Heart Program and ICU especially Martha Doyle Miller and Sherry Stanton for their exceptional care, compassion and friendship. Funeral, Friday, November 9, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. from the Parker Bros. Memorial, 2013 Broadway, Watervliet and at 10 a.m. at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Watervliet. Interment, St. Nicholas Cemetery. Friends may call Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. with the Parastas service at 6:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Yaroslaw's memory may make a contribution for the Patriarchal Cathedral of Kiev Fund c/o St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, 2410 4th Ave., Watervliet, NY 12189.

Funeral Home

Parker Bros. Memorial Funeral Home, Inc.
2013 Broadway Watervliet, NY 12189-2225
(518) 273-3223

Published in Albany Times Union from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, 2012