Sept. 25, 1933 – Dec. 23, 2017
Our mother was born on Sept. 25, 1933 at home on the family farm in Ispas, Alta., which is located 20 miles northeast of Two Hills. She was the eighth child and the seventh consecutive daughter for her parents, Nicholas and Anastasia Goryniuk. Her eldest sisters had chosen the name Victoria Margaret for her, but Vicky was the name mom preferred.
Growing up, her home life was typical to most in the area. Her father was the local beekeeper as well as farming hay land and having a small herd of cattle. Mom learned from a young age that hard work was a part of life, as growing up there was always daily chores, gardening, berry picking and canning alongside her mother. Even though both of her parents were born in this country, Ukrainian was the language used at the home and Mom remained very fluent in Polish and English as well. The local Orthodox Church was a very important part of life and the Ukrainian traditions were held strong throughout her life.
After completion of schooling, Mom’s first job was working for her eldest brother, who owned and operated a hotel in Hairy Hill. She was then dating Walter Mazurek, who was also from the area, and in June 1951 they were married. As a young couple they moved to Yellowknife for Walter’s work in the gold mines. Several years later they moved to Edmonton where their first son, Terry, was born in 1954. The following years included working in the Peace Country area [as Walter purchased and operated a gravel truck] until they moved to High Prairie where they purchased their first home shortly after.
The couple’s second child, Carolyn, was born in 1961, followed by Margaret in 1962, and then their second son, David, was born in 1964. Vicky was a stay at home mom instilling many fond memories of birthday parties, wiener roast picnics during berry picking with other families, and working in the garden with her children. Mom participated in the parents committees of her children’s extracurricular activities – figure skating, cub scouts, girl guides and ensuring music lessons were provided and attended. Vicky was a Sunday school teacher guaranteeing for years of perfect attendance for her younger three children. Vicky was the president of the United Church Women’s group for many years, actively supporting fundraiser activities, family socials/suppers, bazaars, and for sure costume making for the annual Christmas concerts at the church.
Mom began working at the local junior high school in the mid 1970s when her two younger children were attending this school [much to David’s chagrin since she was now able to keep close tabs on her baby]. Around this same time Mom became an Avon lady, which she continued to do for over 30 years. She actively enjoyed the many friendships she made and sustained over these years. She had been inducted into the Avon Presidents club, being the top seller for 10 years straight as well as a two time regional top seller that included an area from Westlock to Peace River. She remained humble about these accolades, however, took pride in her hard work. Hard work was something she expected out of herself and her children, not approving of laziness or lack of initiative – again, a trait instilled from her parents and her upbringing. In 1982 she became divorced and made a career change – now working in the health care field at the J.B. Wood Nursing home and then at the Pleasantview Lodge. Even though divorced for a decade from Walter, she was at his bedside along with daughter Carolyn for the last days of Walter’s life in 1993. Mom was a deeply devoted person to the people that she loved and cared for – this making a lasting impression on her children – a standard to strive for and uphold.
In 1995 Mom met Arnold Aarts. Upon retirement from healthcare Mom and Arnold engaged in an active social life, vacations and travel. They accompanied Carolyn and her children, Danielle and Grant, on winter vacation ski trips to Kimberly, B.C., on summer vacations to Kelowna and Osoyoos, as well as Reiki campouts at Mt. Robson near Jasper. Mom was a very active Grandma with her grandchildren – attending birthday parties, track meets, awards nights, hockey games, badminton tournaments, wedding dress shopping [and purchasing for Danielle], to finally attending great-grandchildren’s baby showers. Mom and Arnold went on an across Canada trip with their holiday trailer which left Mom speaking highly of the Great Lakes and of the Atlantic Ocean. They travelled to Europe to Arnold’s home in Holland and visited other countries while in Europe. Mom specifically spoke of her awe of Iceland during one of their trips. Mom loved to travel whether it was across Canada, overseas or with Carolyn across the province for Carolyn’s work and conferences. She was always eager to take a trip with David to visit her own family in Edmonton, Peace River and the Two Hills area. Family was a constant factor in Mom’s life and she made every effort to stay in touch with her nieces, nephews, siblings, her own children and extended families.
Throughout the years, Mom’s hobbies included crocheting and petti-point which she learned as a young girl, to embroidery and a new art called bunka – Japanese embroidery. Her home displays many of her framed pieces of art on her walls as well as crochet table clothes and afghans. Flowers and yardwork was an outdoor passion which afforded her one of High Prairie’s best of 20 yards in 2016 which she displayed her little sign proudly in her front flower bed. Mom remained active in the community working bingos, volunteering on election days, volunteering at the local stampede, participating for several years in the Royal Purple. She sat on the High Prairie Museum board and was involved at the Golden Age Club holding the position of president for several years.
Mom and Arnold were given a gift of a shitzu puppy one Thanksgiving year much to their surprise. They both fell deeply in love with this loving bundle they called Sami, which she cherished dearly. This little dog brought much constant companionship to Mom when sadly Arnold passed away in 2012. As Mom’s health kept her from taking Sami on lengthy walks in her last couple of years at home, her wonderful neighbour, Jimmy McLean, began diligently sharing in the care of Sami by walking Sami daily in which Mom was ever thankful for.
Mom enjoyed good health with a decline only in the last months of her life. The family would like to thank Joanie and Jimmy McLean for their loving support as neighbours that helped make it possible, along with the support of her family, to live in her own home for as long as she did. The family would like to thank the caring and compassionate staff of J.B. Wood Designated Supportive Living Facility where Mom was a resident of since May 2017. Mom had appreciated the kindness, hugs and care that the staff provided. It was with very heavy hearts and much sadness on Dec. 23, 2017 when Mom passed away with her daughters at her side.
Mom will be missed dearly by her son David Mazurek, Grande Prairie, AB and daughter Margaret Mazurek, also from Grande Prairie. Son Terry Mazurek and Linda MacInnis and her sons Jeremy and Ryan in Calgary, granddaughters Terra Mazurek Tuhan from Florida, USA, granddaughters Melissa and Cara Mazurek from Grande Prairie and great grandchildren Juliana, Tyler, Casey, Carter and Jackson. Mom will be sadly missed by her daughter Carolyn Killeen and Rick Dumont from Valleyview, granddaughter Danielle Albert and husband Joel and great-granddaughter Aubree, of Grande Prairie; grandson Grant Killeen and his wife Christine and great-granddaughter Brinley from High Prairie. Predeceased by all of her siblings, leaving to mourn are many nieces and nephews.
There will be a private celebration of life in May 2018 in Peace River for family and close friends.
The family knows we will all be together again one day and will bask in the glow and love with their Mother when reunited. Until that time, we will forever treasure Mom’s memory in our hearts…
With love always, David, Margaret, Carolyn and Terry.
Grandma. . .we are missing you very much and are sad you are no longer with us. You were such a big part of our lives growing up and as adults that your absence is felt deeply now.
You were always so caring and fun to be around…whether playing Parcheesi or enjoying the outdoors at the river to simply enjoying a cup of tea at your kitchen table…you were such an amazing Grandma! You were present throughout the years as we grew up and each got married and then as we had our own kids. . .you were so happy to see Aubree and Brinley when we came by to visit. You will be missed but we are grateful for all the fond memories we’ve had with you as kids and then as adults. We will love you forever!
– Your grandchildren, Danielle [Killeen] Albert and Grandson Grant Killeen.