Mary Jean Petrenko
We had an angel living in our midst and suddenly she’s gone.
She shared her love, her caring and compassion steadfastly with her family, throughout the
years that she gave to us. Her husband Victor of 54 years, her children Sophia and Christian,
grandson Jack and all who she chose to be close to, are heartbroken.
She selflessly was there for all those she loved, making every moment of our lives better
without precondition or concern for herself.
Born in Toronto in 1944 to Paul and Helen Kornylo, she grew up in an Ukrainian family with
strong cultural and Ukrainian Orthodox convictions. Living in Toronto, Ridgeway, Thunder Bay
and St. Catharines over her childhood and adolescent years she decided to become a teacher
and completed Teachers College in 1968. During her studies she met a U of T student, Victor, at
St. Volodymyr Institute where they both resided. She said she loved him at first sight and chose
to spend the rest of her earthly time with him. They married in St. Catharines on July 26, 1969.
Mary loved teaching young children. She taught primary school for 25 years in the Toronto area
while also building her own family at home. Sophia was born in 1978 and Christian arrived in
1984. She was the heart and soul of her family, teaching, raising her children and running the
household while her husband spent long hours at work building a business.
When Victor retired in 2014 she wept with joy that she could finally have him all to herself
without the distractions of work. She gladly moved with him to a home in Stevensville on the
banks of the Niagara River which she has said have been among the happiest days of her life.
Here, she could be in touch with nature and experience the changing seasons. She seemed to
attract all kinds of birds that sang to her and nested around the house, giving her great
There was a special place in her heart for frogs. She awaited their chirping with great
anticipation every spring and even in summer they would “sing” for her whenever she
approached our backyard pond.
Retirement also provided the time to travel. She cherished visiting her son Christian in
Vancouver and salmon fishing with him on Haida Gwaii. Travelling to Europe and spending
more time at her cottage in Muskoka were now also possible. She loved that and particularly
the solitude of the north in winter.
And there was no greater joy for her than watching her grandson Jack grow while sharing
books, games and puzzles which she has saved from her teaching days in the event that she was
ever blessed with grandchildren.
On Saturday night July 15 th she had a major heart attack. Everything was done in the attempt to
save her but the damage was too severe and she went into cardiac arrest on Sunday morning.
And now suddenly, she’s gone leaving us all overwhelmed with grief at our loss.
She loved us so much and we in turn loved her.
Our only consolation is that a soul so good, so loving and so pure must have been called to a
higher purpose. She is now in God’s care. May her memory be eternal. Vichnaya Pamyat.