Nadia Spas
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Nadia Spas

AGE: 88 • Holmdel

Nadia Spas, 88, of Holmdel, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, a few days before her 89th birthday. Nadia was born in Debaltseve, Ukraine. She survived wartime experiences in her native homeland in Eastern Ukraine that no child should endure. Only through the grace of God, did Nadia survive as she crossed many European borders with caravans of displaced people and orphaned youth. She met a dear friend, Valentina who stood by her side like a big sister. When they reached Austria, as teens, the two of them worked in hospitals where many concentration camp survivors were nurtured back to health. Nadia longed to find her brother who had been taken along with many young boys to work in German factories during WWII. She never found her brother, but found her way to a Ukrainian displaced person camp in Karlsfeld, Germany where she met her husband-to-be, who worked for the U.S. Army as a mechanic. She was married in Munich in 1946 and eventually they came to America in 1950. They were sponsored by a tobacco farmer in Davidsonville, Maryland, later settling in New Jersey. Nadia became a U.S. citizen in 1956. She worked as an electronics assembler for RCA in Harrison, NJ for 20 years. She lived in Newark, Irvington and Union, NJ. She was a parishioner of St. John's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Newark until she retired to Miami Beach, Florida and then later to Scottsdale, Arizona, and eventually returned to New Jersey when she resided in Brick and later in Holmdel.

Her famous words to the family were: "I live in the best country in the world - the US of A". The legacy that she leaves her family is defined by her Ukrainian name which is translated to the word "hope"! Hope that steals their hearts and teaches all that there is truly a choice in life to overcome evil with good. Nadia's family has the highest hope, that those who read about the history of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33, that she endured, will share our strong feelings in light of the events currently developing in her homeland today. Her family gives undying gratefulness to her and to those who suffered these tragedies and are still suffering today.

Nadia was the daughter of Alexander and Anna Pletenciw. She was predeceased by her husband, Theodor, who passed away in 1990; her sister, Vera Peletenciw; brother, Vasyl Pletenciw; and her great-granddaughter, Adelina Theodora Poruchynsky. She is survived by her daughters, Luba Farmiga and her husband Michael of Whitehouse Station and Anna Poruchynsky and her husband John of Holmdel. Nadia is also survived by 9 grandchildren, Victor, Vera, Stephan, Nadia, Alex, Laryssa, Taissa, Nicolas and Melanie and 12 great-grandchildren, Sisika, Rainer, Lev, Fynn, Gytta, Otto, Tadeo, Revan, Maksym, Ewan, Vaughn and Dean.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, with an evening prayer service at 7:30 p.m. at the Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at St. James R.C. Church, 94 Broad St., Red Bank. Interment will follow at St. Andrews Ukrainian Cemetery, 240 Main St., South Bound Brook. The family requests that memorial donations be made in Nadia's memory to The Ukrainian Museum, c/o Daria Bajko, 222 East 6th St., New York, NY 10003-8201, or the Alzheimer's Association, Greater NJ Chapter, 400 Morris Ave., Suite 251, Denville, NJ 07834-1365. To send your condolences to the family, please visit

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Published in Asbury Park Press on Oct. 23, 2014.
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