In Memoriam

Petro Jacyk

July 7, 1921 - November 1, 2001

Jacyk, Petro, b. 7 July 1921 in Verkhnie Syniovydne, Ukraine. Businessman, civic activist, and patron of Ukrainian learning. Petro completed a six month course in Steam engines; one year course in Dairy Products and Production, its organization and mechanization; two years studying the Spanish, German and English languages; two years of Economics, Management Practices course at the University of Toronto; no degree obtained.

Petro emigrated to Canada in 1949.

In 1950 Petro started a Ukrainian retail bookstore Arka, with two partners. With the selling of the shares of the bookstore he bought into a house-building company, Accurate Builders Ltd., in 1954. Five years later, again selling his shares, he established a successful building and land development firm Prombank Investment Limited, The Jacyk Group and various other companies. He acted as the Chairman of St. Josaphat’s Cathedral Credit Union (1958-1967) and Director of the Credit Union Coordinating Committee for nine years. Petro spent many years on the Board of Business and Professionals. He was member of the Mississauga Board of Trade and Canadian Small Business Federation for more than 15 years.

He generously supported the Ukrainian Encyclopaedia project, heading its fundraising committee for thirty years he funded the publishing of elementary school text books in Ukrainian and English. Petro was instrumental in the establishment of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and Chairman of its fundraising committee. The Jacyk Fund at Harvard includes two permanent programs: the Jacyk Bibliographer Program and the Distinguished Fellowship in Ukrainian Studies. He financed the Jacyk Collection of Ukrainian Serials, the Central and East European Resource Centre, the Endowment for Ukrainian Periodicals, and other projects at the University of Toronto. In 1989, the Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research was established at the University of Alberta based on Jacyk’s one-million-dollar donation. The Centre’s projects include the English-language publication of Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s History of Ukraine-Rus, two publications series in Ukraine and in the West, and archival projects. He was a member of the President’s Committee at the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta. Through the Petro Jacyk Educational Foundation he has supported many other initiatives, including the endowment of the Jacyk Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University in New York (1994) and the Jacyk Lectureship in Ukrainian Studies at the University of London (1991). The Petro Jacyk Foundation provided Scholarships for students as well as funded students’ dormitory, orphanages, high schools, publishing of school text books in Brazil. In 1995, he was awarded honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Alberta.

President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine honoured Petro Jacyk with the Presidential Prize of Ukraine for his patronage of Ukrainian culture, education, and scholarship in 1996, and with Ukraine’s highest distinction, the Order of Jaroslav Mudry in 2000. Also in 1996, Petro Jacyk was elected member of the Harriman Institute National Advisory Committee at Columbia University which formulates an overall strategic plan for this important educational and scholarly institution. Petro Jacyk initiated the International Ukrainian Language Program during the academic school year of 2000-2001 in Ukraine. The Second Language Competition received its ruling from the Ukrainian Parliament to officially begin on November 9, 2001. This year an estimated 5-7 million students are to participate in this grand event. The Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine was established November 5, 2001 at the University of Toronto. The launch and recognition ceremonies were to take place on November 5th, 2001. This celebration will be postponed due to the sudden death of the late Petro Jacyk on November 1, 2001. A Ceremony/Memorial will be held at a later date. During the recognition ceremonies the Ambassador to Ukraine Dr. Yuri Shcherbak was to present Petro Jacyk with the highest state order of Ukraine.

On a personal level Petro Jacyk also supported Hospitals, Cancer Society, Living Arts Centre, Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre, Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Ontario Heritage Foundation, all the Educational Centres and Programs mentioned earlier and he also took part in the campaign to defend John Demianiuk (in essence all Ukrainians).

Petro also participated in many short-term social activities such as PLAST (a Ukrainian youth organization), political elections at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. He has also published various articles in Ukrainian and English Canadian papers.

Dr. Petro Jacyk was predeceased by his parents Mariana Semenivna Jacyk (Melenchuk) [April 4, 1896-June 4, 1976] born in the village of Krushelnytsia, Province of Stryj, Western Ukraine, Dmytro Vasyliovych Jacyk, (April 12,1886-September 30, 1934) born in Verkhnie Syniovydne, Ukraine, they were both farmers. He is also predeceased by 7 siblings and two step-sisters from his mother’s first marriage.

He was the last living of 9 children. He leaves behind his friend and companion Dr. Jeanette Bayduza, daughters, Sonia, Nadia and Vera, as well as many nieces and nephews in Ukraine. He also leaves behind his pride and joy – granddaughter Andrea.

Petro Jacyk was indeed a man of vision, a philanthropist and great example to his community. Ukraine and its community has been orphaned by the sudden death of a great leader, philanthropist, realist and patriot. Our deep and sincere sympathies are extended to the immediate family, Nadia Jacyk (daughter, friend, business partner), Dr. Jeanette Bayduza long time companion and grand-daughter Andrea. He was a mentor, and a friend to so many people. This truly is a great loss.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Ukrainian Language Contest in Ukraine, sponsored by the Petro Jacyk Educational Foundation. This was Mr. Jacyks’ last pride and joy to unite in solidarity and language a young growing nation. Donations can be sent to: Petro Jacyk Educational Foundation, 5080 Timberlea Blvd., Suite 202, Mississauga, ON L4W 4M2 Canada, Tel: (905) 238-0467; fax: (905) 625-8445.

Funeral services for the late Petro Jacyk took place Tuesday, November 6, 2001 at St. Mary’s Dormition Ukrainian Catholic Church (3625 Cawthra Rd./Burnhamthorpe (Mississauga, Ont.) at 10:00 a.m. Visitations at the Neweduk Funeral Home (1981 Dundas St. W. Mississauga Chapel/Erin Mills Parkway) Panachyda’s (Prayer services) held Sunday at the Funeral Home - 7:00 p.m. (Visitation 7:00-9:00 p.m.) and Monday evening at St. Mary’s Dormition Ukrainian Catholic Church at 7:00 p.m. He was buried at Park Lawn Cemetery. May his Memory be eternal!