While Paul was teaching in rural Hafford, Saskatchewan, he met the charming and attractive Mary Bahniuk. Mary worked as a telephone operator and served as secretary of the Ukrainian National Youth Federation Branch in Redberry, which Paul helped to form. Her parents, John and Irene Bahniuk, were Ukrainian farmers in the area; she was one of seven children. The couple married on July 12, 1941 in Albertown, Saskatchewan.
Following their marriage, Paul and Mary faced many years of financial hardship as they struggled to raise a growing family on a teacher’s salary, on student bursaries while Paul attended university, and on a lecturer’s salary. Mary used her artistic talents to supplement Paul’s low income by making and selling beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky). She also gave talks and demonstrations on how to make pysanky to organizations and clubs. Mary uniquely would put a date on some her pysanky. Her 1949 pysanka is considered to be the first dated pysanka in Canada. See attached article of Mary making pysanky and photos of her beautiful eggs.
- Article in Weekend Picture Magazine called Ukrainians Excel in Easter-Egg Art, April 4, 1953.
- Mary’s Pysanky in the Bahniuk Torch
While Paul focused his efforts on his career and being a provider, Mary focused her attention on being a mother and homemaker and providing a positive home life for their four children. She was patient and understanding and was always available for her children often greeting them after school with fresh homemade treats and delicious home cooked meals. Paul helped the kids with their homework and regaled them with bedtime stories about Ukrainian Cossack history. Their children took Ukrainian courses, participated in Ukrainian dancing groups and choirs as well as in Ukrainian summer school/camps. As a family, they attended and participated in many community events. Together, Paul and Mary encouraged their children to do well in school and university, to be active in Ukrainian cultural and community life, and most importantly to be proud of their Ukrainian Canadian heritage.
In addition to educational and cultural life, outdoor life was also important. During the summer months, the family enjoyed swimming, canoeing and fishing at the cottage in Val des Monts, Quebec. During the cold winter months, the family could escape to their home in North Port, Florida and enjoy swimming in the ocean and Warm Mineral Springs.
Overall, Paul and Mary provided a rich family, cultural and social life for their children and grandchildren and many lasting memories.
Paul and Mary’s family legacy includes their children: Evangeline Yuzyk, B.A. (University of Manitoba); Victoria Karpiak, B.A. (University of Manitoba); Vera Yuzyk, B.A. Hon. History, M.A. History (University of Ottawa); Theodore Yuzyk, B.A. Hon. (Carleton University), M.A. (University of Ottawa), married to Lucy Yarymowich, B.A. in Fine Arts (University of Ottawa); their grandchildren (6): Tanya Duravetz Malley, Larisa Duravetz, Paul Karpiak, Thea and Lukash Yuzyk and Paula Matinjanin; and their great grandchildren (3): Gabriel, Danin and Maya.
Evangeline, Victoria, Vera and Ted currently reside in Ottawa and are active in organizations in Ottawa and the Ukrainian community.
Grandparents and Parents
Some Family Photos
Family Photos – 2003
Family Photos – 2004