Mary Antifaoff was born on February 21, 1922 in the community of, “Krestovom” of the Kootney area to the Doukhobor family of Mikhail and Lisunya Gritchen. Lisunya’s maiden name was Sapriken.
Mary was the youngest child born into a family of five children-sisters, Annie, Vera, Tina and Ethel.
When she was a young girl, her family moved to the community of Plodorodnde, “Glade” and that’s where she received some of her English education. The Russian Language she learned from family and the community, when at the time people of Doukhobor faith spoke only Russian. She also took some Russian classes in the community of Glade, which was provided by the members. Her Russian school teachers were George Dergousoff and Dimitriy “Jim,” Fofonoff. At an early age Mary attended meeting/Sobraniyes where she learned many traditional Psalms, Hymns and Russian Folk Songs.
Mary grew up and was raised in a communal village. For 17 years she lived in the era of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood and afterwards she was a member of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ. From an early age Mary was nurtured by her parents and neighbouring elders to the Doukhobor way of life, where she worked communally in the fields and gardens and helped with family home chores. In her teen years she worked for farmers on vegetable fields, she gathered strawberries in Creston, B.C. and also worked in the fruit orchards in the Kootenay area.
From her mother and sisters she learned the art of weaving, knitting, sewing and crocheting. All skills that were necessary throughout her lifetime. During the summer, when there was leisure time Mary with her friends, loved going swimming in the Kootenay River and winter going sleighing down hills on homemade slide equipment.
In the beginning of 40’s, Mary met a young man, John Argotoff and in 1914 they were united in marriage. Most of their years together, they lived in the Kootenay area and 8 years in Penticton, B.C. They were blessed with 3 children- Daughters Elise and Grace and son Harold. In Penticton, they worked in the fruit orchards and also Mary worked in a cannery plant and as a cleaning lady in the hotels.
After 26 years of marriage, in 1968, John passed away.
In the late sixties Mary met Mike Antifaoff of Grand Forks. In 1969, they were married and their life together began in the area of Ruckle Addition.
From a previous marriage, Mike had two sons – Micheal and Wayne and a step-daughter Audery. Their family consisted of six children and all were treated as their very own.
Though Mike had a steady job, together with Mary they grew a big garden and looked after their yard. Mary was a hospitable person and they always liked to entertain their relatives and friends. In their leisure time, they loved travelling, they visited several Canadian provinces and Western American states.
In their elder years, they kept themselves busy looking after their home and garden, attending prayer meetings, other gatherings and funerals. Mary belonged to a U.S.C.C. ladies cooking group and the Psalmist choir. Because of their elder years and declining health, in 2012 they moved into the residence of Silver Kettle, where in April 2013 her husband Mike passed away. Mary continued to live on her own at the same residence.
Last week her health worsened and at mid-day October 14th, 2013, with her son Harold by her side, Mary peacefully passed away. She was 91 years of age.
She was predeceased by her parents, Mikhail and Lisunya, her first husband, John Argotoff, her sisters – Annie, who died in infancy, Vera Gretchen, Tina Verigin, and Ethel Poznikoff and her husband Mike Antifaoff, with whom she lived 44 years and who passed away just 6 months earlier than her. She is survived by her children, Elsie Carmen from Penticton, Grace and Gaston Parkin from Castlegar, Harold Argotoff from Nanaimo, Micheal with wife Laurel Antifaoff from Oakville, Ont, Wayne with wife Susan Antifaoff from Vancouver and Audrey Baker from Vancouver, nine grandchild, ten great grandchildren and one great, great granddaughter, along with many nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
Mary took pride in being a member of Doukhobor faith and way of life and always spoke kindly of its heritage. She was a kind and devoted mother and grandmother, a hardworking and peace loving person.
She left us all with memories we will hold dear forever.
May God accept her soul into His heavenly kingdom and may she rest in peace. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Everett Baker of Grand Forks Funeral Home firstname.lastname@example.org.