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SERWA, Helen

SERWA, Helen

Helen Serwa, our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother, affectionately known as Bapka, died on January 22, 2018 at the age of 106 and a half. Her kindness, patience and caring ways always made you feel welcome and special. Her work ethic, wisdom and willing spirit has been and will continue to be an inspiration to her family. She encouraged all of us to be the best we could be and passed on the importance of honesty and integrity. She had 5 children, 18 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. Sadly, she was predeceased by her husband Jack in 1987, her daughters Ruth Kuhn in 1994 and Lillian Berry in 2007, as well as her great granddaughters Brittany in 1989 and Lola in 2011.

She is survived by her loving family:
The children of her daughter Ruth Kuhn (Al), Donna Drought (Peter); Chris Kuhn (Marjory) and their children Amanda and Brandon Kuhn; her son Cliff Serwa (Lois) and their children Brad Serwa (Terri) and their children Kristi, Jason and Kelsey Serwa; Tanya Courtorielle (Victor) and Tanya’s son Shawn Goertzen; Kevin Serwa (Teri-Lyn) and their son Matthew Serwa; Peter Angle (Krista) and his children Dillon and Mikayla Angle; Susan Angle (Justice); and David Angle (Allie) and his sons James and Andrew Angle; her daughter Doreen Large (Phil) and their children David Large and his sons Quinn and Zander Large; Michael Large (Lisa) and his children Christopher and Alexandrea Large; Jackie Large and her son Brenden Large-LeLievre; Jennifer Large and her son Keagan Potash; Teri Large and her son Nate Litowitz; the children of her daughter Lillian Berry, Tawny Berry; Lori Stone and her children Gary Stone (Amy) and their children Keith and Paisley Stone; Stefanie Stone; her daughter Helen Potts (Tom) and their children James, Daniel and Michael Potts.

In 1899, Helen’s parents emigrated from Ukraine to Canada. In 1911, she was born in Garland, Manitoba, the tenth of thirteen children. Helen started school at the age of eight without knowing a word of English. She grew up a true Canadian pioneer. Light came from coal oil lamps, water was drawn from the well with a rope and bucket, gardens were their source of food and cows provided milk. Grain and hay was cut with a scythe, then raked and stacked by hand.

Helen finished grade 12 and became a teacher in a one room school. Earlier when she was 14 and a half and he was 19, she met Jack at a wedding and thought he was very handsome. After a long friendship they were married in Dauphin on April 5th, 1932. They started their family during the Great Depression. He worked as a cook, a trucker and eventually had his own sawmill. She helped Jack as much as she could.

They moved to Kelowna in 1945 and Jack started the Serwa Bulldozing Company. In 1948, they built her dream home on Pacific Avenue and Helen gradually landscaped the large yard creating a park-like haven. In 1957 she helped to establish the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kelowna, sang in the choir, played the mandolin, created and sewed many ethnic dancing costumes and later excelled in Ukrainian university courses. She wrote two family history books in her 90’s and at the age of 100, she received the award for the best vegetable garden in Kelowna. Helen continued to live in her home, independent and active, until she was 105.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Michael Bobyn, an exceptional doctor and the kind and caring staff in Cottage 2 at Good Samaritan Mountainview Village.

The funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, B.C.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

Link: www.springfieldfuneralhome.com
Condolence Messages
  • Feb 26, 2018
    To all the dear Serwa families,
    We are sending our sincere condolences to you for the passing Helen Serwa. Our family grew up to her next door on Pacific Ave and have so many wonderful memories over a span of 50 years. Whether it was chatting to her in the garden about poppies and raspberries to teaching me to knit, playing the piano, cooking or sewing & she loved showing off her Ukrainian costumes. Mrs Serwa was a fantastic teacher and always had so much patience with a smile! Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love, Roze Gawlik, Pitura Family, and Czaja Family
  • Feb 04, 2018
    Doreen, Helen, Dave & family, our deepest condolences on the loss of your dear Mom & grandmother. What a great role model you had & am sure she has left you ALL with many wonderful cherishing memories!
    With Love & Compassion
    Patti & Sam DiMaria.
  • Jan 28, 2018
    Doreen, Phil and family, so sad to hear of the loss of your Mom. I know she has always been a big part of your life and that you will miss her tremendously. Thinking of you . . . Julie Tipton
  • Jan 27, 2018
    I didn't have the pleasure of meeting this amazing woman but felt compelled to comment on her remarkable life. How fortunate for you all to have such a wonderful role model and mentor. To have her in your lives for so long must have been a blessing.
    Bonita Gilbert
  • Jan 26, 2018
    My deepest condolences for the loss of this wonderful lady. I was fortunate to know and be one of many to be there to care for her in the later part of her life.I will always have a smile on my heart when I think of Helen when she would give me a little smile when I would try and speak what few words of Ukraine that Helen and other Residents have tried to teach me. She always had a kind word and spoke of her family with love. Heaven has a new Angel. My thoughts and prayers for her family.
  • Jan 26, 2018
    Cliff, Lois, and family,
    She will be missed by all - each of you will have fond memories of how much she has influenced your lives personally. You were blessed to have had this special woman in your lives for so many years and now she is satisfied after 106 and a half years her work is complete and time for an everlasting rest. Her spirit will always be with you.
    Barrie and Marie Black
  • Jan 26, 2018
    Dear Serwa family,
    I remember being Mrs. Serwa's next door neighbour. My Mom and her always spoke over the fence, sharing stories. As a little girl I loved her veggie garden and all her beautiful flowers. We would visit Helen and she would show us all her hand sewn Ukrainian dresses, and even until four years ago I saw her do her own dishes and step down to still pick strawberries. She was always so kind to me and our family in 50s-60s-70s. I'll truly miss her patient and loving way. She always had a kind word to say or teach you.
    Sent with caring thoughts,
    Ingrid Broder
    The best neighbour ever!
  • Jan 26, 2018
    Doreen, Phil and Families,
    My deepest sympathy, your mother was a beautiful lady, her memories will live forever.
    Love, Mary Welder
  • Jan 26, 2018
    Cliff, Lois and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. What an incredible life she lived and being able see and be proud of all the outstanding achievements of her family.
    Tun & Kathy Wong
  • Jan 26, 2018
    To the entire Serwa family,
    Our sincerest sympathy to all of you. How fortunate you all were to have Helen as your role model. Garry worked for Phil, Cliff and Brad over the years and always talks of the "good ole' days" And they were. My dad also worked for Phil for a short time. Helen will rest now. Look out heaven, here comes a great cook and gardener.
    Garry Birdie Hartmier and families
  • Jan 25, 2018
    My heart is with you all. I have very fond memories growing up with Lori and Tawny and my frequent visits to Bapka and Gido's. She will always be the most beautiful flower in her garden. Hugs to you all
    Janet Ford (Horkoff)
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Dear Serwa Families; we are sorry to hear of Helen's passing, she sure lived a long and wonderful life, I didn't know Helen very well, but worked for her husband Jack for many years, then for D.M.J Constr. "Phil Large" for many years, then finished my years with Canuk Enterprises & with, A.G. Appel... God Bless Helen, she will rest in peace in the arms of our Lord Jesus. "Sympathy" from Howard & Irene Sali.
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Helen, Tom, Mike, Dan and our dear son in law James, such a remarkable and well lived life of your mom and grandmother. With much love and condolences.
    Trudy and Ron Packota
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Brad, Terri and family,
    Sorry for your loss, you were fortunate to have her for as long as you did. Our sincere condolences.
    Dave and Kathy Bullach
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Helen,Tom and families,
    I have many fond memories of growing up on Pacific Avenue, neighbours to Mr. and Mrs. Serwa. She was always seen in her garden or doing something around the house. She had a great smile and was just a pleasure to be around. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Nick and Kelly Franz
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Dear Serwa Family,
    An incredible life - living independently when you are 105 is quite an achievement.
    Our thoughts are with you,
    Kathleen McFadden( Heffernan)
  • Jan 25, 2018
    I was really blessed to be able to meet this wonderful lady and her amazing family over the last two years. Helen always had a great smile, was very uplifting and strong and always positive among anything that came her way. Helen taught me wonderful things in life. Helen is dearly missed and will never be forgotten. I'll forever cherish my times I got to share with this most uplifting, positive lady. Thank you Doreen and Helen for everything, my sincere condolences for the loss in this amazing family.
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Mrs. Serwa was so proud of her heritage and very proud to be a part of Kelowna. Our families have know each other since 1945 and she always had respect for people and very interested in the history of Kelowna.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Domenic and Lina Rampone
  • Jan 25, 2018
    An inspiring woman indeed. I was fortunate to have the honour of spending time with her and enjoying her beautiful garden.
    My condolences to the Serwa family.
    Liz Panucci
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Brad and Kevin, sorry to of your grandmother's passing.
    Lloyd and Wendy Auch
  • Jan 25, 2018
    Cliff, Lois and families,
    Sincere condolences on your loss of this wonderful person. 106 1/2 years, we can only imagine what it was like to live thru all those major changes. She lived a very long and seemingly healthy life. Thinking of all of you at this time.
    David Langton