Stories about Ivan Hawrysh and Family

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Ivan Hawrysh was born at Kotykiwka, Horodenka, Western Ukraine August 28, 1880 and died February 21, 1970. He received a school diploma and could speak five languages. It is said that he was wise beyond his years, so much so that his father used to ask him for advice.

Ivan's parents were Hryhory (Hryc) Hawrysz and Wasylyna (Batura), who were farmers.

Ivan and Efymia Kinash were married July 7, 1907 at the Kinash home near Hafford, SK.

Efymia Kinash was born in Western Ukraine on January 30, 1890 and died January 3, 1962. She came to Canada in 1893 with her parents, Peter and Maria Kinash.


In 1898 and 1899, Hryc's two brothers Alex and John came to Canada and took homesteads in the Fish Creek, SK area. Alex wrote back to Hryc about the land that was available.


From Saskatchewan Archives, Saskatoon, Ships Records 1903, Microfilm number T 0497:

Ivan Hawrysh came to Canada on SS Bulgaria, a twin-screw, two-masted steamer carrying 2001 Adults, 739 Children age 1-14 (3 died at sea), and 158 under 1 (4 were born at sea).

Left Hamburg 15 May 1903, arrived Halifax 27 May 1903.

On ship's manifest:

13. Hawrysz, Iwan, Age 23, Farmer, Bukovinian, going to Winnipeg

14. Hawrysz, Michael, Age 23, Farmer, Bukovinian, going to Winnipeg.

Although the manifest called them Bukoninians, they came from Horodenka, which is in Halychyna.

Michael was Ivan's cousin, and so far, we think he had a homestead in southern Saskatchewan.


Ivan came to Canada in 1903 and worked for a farmer southeast of Winnipeg for a time, then on the railway. In 1905 he went to Dana, SK, where his father had taken a homestead in 1904. Ivan looked at the farm and said, "Why should we break our teeth on these rocks in the field, when we can get better land?"

In 1905 Ivan and his cousin Peter went for a walk and wound up with a homestead in the Hafford, SK district. His father and other relatives moved to Hafford, where they took homesteads.

Hryc, Wasylyna, Ivan and Peter lived in a burdey for some time. They were snowed in at least once. In 1906, the first log house was built, and in 1921, the last house was built on land Ivan bought from Mr Nikiforuk in 1918, just across the road from the homestead. Some logs from the house were used by George Belyk to build the outhouse at the last home. This outhouse is still standing.

The original barn burned in 1927, the theory being that the hired helper found it too hard to clean, so he just got rid of it. The present barn was built in 1928.

Ivan was always a progressive person, and he installed one of the first light plants in the district, a Delco gasoline generator. His first car was a McLaughlin and the second was a Dodge.

Ivan once bought a car and drove it home, but the brakes failed as he was coming down the driveway toward the garage/workshop. He drove straight in and was stopped by the back wall, which still has a bulge in it.

Ivan's farm equipment was made by the International Harvester Company, a custom that is followed to this day on the farm. For a time the farm was operated by Yaroslaw, and then David, who passed it on to his son Andy.

Ivan was enamored of horses, and always had lots of good ones around. He used to breed the mares in the district, and his breeding records are still available. He had many types of horses, including Clydesdales and Percherons, which are pretty big. The last two on the farm were Peggy and Mabel, who were sold in 1954.

Ivan was involved in most of the community organizations, including the Local Improvement District, the Municipality of Redberry, Velechka Hall, Belyk's Church and hall, P Mohyla Institute in Saskatoon and the Canadian Ukrainian Youth Association.

In 1952, Ivan and Efymia retired to Nelson, BC and in 1955 to Vernon, BC.


Ivan's daughter Sophie Matiation remembers:

My father (Ivan) came to stay with us in Burnaby one winter in the early 1960s. One day when his pension check arrived, he wanted to go to the back, but I was busy cleaning windows, so I told him that if he waited, I would take him there, as he was a bit unsteady on his feet. However, he insisted that he would start out himself, and I would catch up when I was done. He took his cane and walked out the door in the right direction.

Finally, I went to catch up with him, but he was nowhere in sight. When I got to the bank, he wasn't there and no one had served him. I went to the drugstore, the grocery store, and all the other shops in the block, describing him to the shopkeepers. Nobody had seen him.

It was now almost three in the afternoon, and my sons Doug and Don would soon be home from school, so I hiked back up the hill and went home. I asked the boys to go up and down the streets and alleys, and also called my friend Melita, who drove with her two boys all over the neighborhood. No sign of him anywhere.

I had all kinds of visions of him being abducted or having a dizzy spell and falling in a ditch. The worst thoughts went through my mind. I thought of calling the police, and went to the telephone a dozen times. At about 4:30, I finally picked up the phone, as it was going to be dark soon.

As I picked up the phone, I saw a taxi pull up in front of the house and my father get out of it. What a relief! I think that was the day I started getting grey hairs, much too soon for me.

When Father came to the house, I could hardly restrain myself, and a few tears of relief escaped from my eyes.

Father explained that he missed the turn to the bank and wound up near the highway. Finding himself there, he decided to walk to Eaton's store at Brentwood Mall, which is a fair distance, especially uphill along a busy rushing highway.

He thought that Eaton's would deliver him home, but that wasn't about to happen. If he had been a stove or a fridge, they might have. They called him a taxi, which cost him two whole dollars, which was a lot of money to him.

After that, I never let him go anywhere alone, and I don't think he wanted to.


Ivan's granddaughter Johanne (Evanishen) Kasha remembers:

Baba - always smiling and laughing. Great cook. Loved her homemade bread and butter. I felt that she was a loving and caring person. I never saw her in slacks, always in a dress or skirt with an apron and her head usually wrapped in a babushka, Aunt Jemima style. She always seemed to be in the kitchen or garden. She had a wonderful garden. I have a popsicle-stick bowl she made when older as exercise for fingers which had arthritis. I think it was made when she was living in Vernon. I also have her mother's Bible.

Dido - always had a moustache, clicked his false teeth, carried a cane, had blue, blue eyes. I remember him tending bees while living in Nelson, wearing a beekeeper's hat with the netting. Mom said that he never got stung. I have a pair of his grey, striped suspenders with POLICE printed on the black metal adjustment buckles. His garage had the most wonderful grease smell. He was usually out with the machinery or livestock, doing the usual farm work.


From granddaughter Chris Johnstone:

One day, when the family was visiting Efymia and Ivan in Vernon, Ivan had a pyrohy-eating contest to see if anyone could outeat him. He ate 44 pyrohy, winning the contest.

At Nestor's house in Saskatoon, where Dido stayed for two winters, Herman, the budgie, would sit on his head and pull at the 4 long hairs, not getting them out, almost like preening them. Dido would just continue reading his paper.

Efymia was a tiny woman, as wide as she was short, always in the kitchen, cooking. She wore a tiny bun at the back of her hair.


From daughter-in-law Doreen and her son Robin:

Robin was about 3 or 4 years old when Dido lived with Nestor, Doreen and family for two winters. Robin would play cowboys and tie up Dido's hands on the easy chair while he was reading the paper in the living room. Dido wouldn't say or do anything. He just continued reading the newspaper.


Ivan's grandson Danny Evanishen remembers:

Before the road past the farm was altered, there were banks of sand on both sides of the road. On one side there was a huge rock sticking out of the sand. Dido told my brother Jerry and cousin Edward Horbay that there was a big treasure behind the rock, and the two boys spent all summer digging. They never got the rock out, but they were too busy with it to get into trouble.

Years later, I heard the story and decided to get the treasure. I dug and dug and dug, and finally the rock fell out, nearly squashing me. I was only a little bit disappointed when I didn't find any treasure. Maybe the Highway crew found it when they dug the banks down.

Dido was visiting us in Meadow Lake one time, and he picked up a rock and showed me the little flecks of gold sparkling in it. I hadn't realized that gold was that easy to find. I was rich! I spent hours wrecking my pen knife trying to pry the bits of gold out of the rocks. About the time my knife was worn out, I took some of the flecks to Mr Bombardier, the jeweller and asked him how much they were worth. He told me that there isn't much of a demand for little specks of fool's gold and mica.

Baba never did get the hang of shuffling cards, which made things fun for everyone, kids included. Whenever there was a game going and she had to deal, she would shuffle the cards by throwing them up in the air. They flew all over the kitchen, and the kids scrambled all over the floor picking them up. It may not have been too good for the cards, but they sure were shuffled.

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