With deep sorrow we announce that
IRYNA HARMATY nee CIKALO passed peacefully in her sleep on the morning of Tuesday, April 10th, 2018, at the age of 89 spending her last hours with all four of her children.
Iryna was born Feb 28, 1929 in Kamenobrid, a small farming village outside of Lviv in western Ukraine to Ivan Cikalo and Eva Marushchak. At 15, her childhood was shattered as her family narrowly escaped imprisonment by the Soviet NKVD.
Fleeing cultural oppression by horse and wagon, they survived WWII in a Czech forest and settled into the American Displaced Persons camp in Regensburg, Germany. There at the gymnasium, she once more was able to express the culture she loved and were she found solace from the horrors of war and the home to which she would never return. She soon started to reflect valuable leadership and organizational qualities by becoming a youth leader in the Ukrainian Youth Association CYM.
Ever searching for a new home to express cultural freedom, the Cikalo family entered the US on January 20 1949 in New York City and started a new life in Philadelphia. She married Oleh Harmaty and moved to New York City where she proudly became an American citizen and started a family. Here Iryna was able to dedicate her life to the culture she so loved. She worked tirelessly to raise awareness of Ukrainian culture in both Ukrainian and American societies. As a board member of both St Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and School in Ozone Park, she also taught kindergarten and founded the School of Ukrainian Folk Ballet under the direction of Ulana Kunynska-Schmerekowska. She sang in the church choir and organized kolyadnycky accompanied by the bandura. She was also a board member of the Bandura Ensemble in Hempstead under the direction of the Rev Serhij Kindzeriavy-Pastukhiv. Iryna also endlessly led classes and demonstrations creating pysanky at schools, church’s and even local New York City public libraries.
To pay the bills, she worked as a licensed home health care aid for several years before becoming a foster mother through Catholic Charities to several young girls. Iryna will probably be most known for her culinary art of traditional Ukrainian Korovai that she baked hundreds of wedding celebrations throughout the United States and Canada. She took great pride and joy, embellishing her mastered edible intricate doves, pine cones and of course the “tree of life.”
Iryna is survived by her children, grandchildren and siblings:
Anna Myroslawa with husband Paul and their son Aaron Myroslav
Borys with wife Susan Carmody and their son Cole.
Halyna with husband Larry Morton and their children Danny, Andrew and Christopher
Andrey with his wife Maritza and their children Alex and Adrian
Sisters Katrusia Danko, Oksana Jarymowycz, brother Antin and many loving nieces and nephews
Foster children Eileen and Christina
Contributions in lieu of flowers can be made in Iryna’s name to: The Zorya Inc Foundation, P.O. Box 7640 Greenwich, CT 06830. A not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing and inspiring awareness of the richness of Ukrainian history, culture, art and the sciences.