Anna was born on October 20, 1917, in Verigin, Saskatchewan, to the parents of Fred Vanjoff and Polly (Chutskoff) Vanjoff. Anna came from a large family of five sisters and one brother: Christena, Helen, Nora, Betty and Joe. Anna moved to Grand Forks with her parents in 1918 when she was one year old and the family took up residence in the Vanjoff Village, one of the last Doukhobor villages constructed in Grand Forks. She attended the Outlook School until she completed Grade 7.
Anna was a traditional Doukhobor girl growing up. She loved all the Doukhobor culture and traditions, attending the early Sunday Prayer Meetings, learning many psalms and hymns. She especially loved the Doukhobor singing at the weekly evening Youth Meetings and at the social gatherings in the Vanjoff Village where many of the youth would gather to sing light-hearted songs.
At a young age Anna began working during the summers at the Jepsen farms. She also enjoyed working with her younger sister, Betty in the Okanagan picking up orchard tree pruning and working in the packing house sorting apples.
Anna lived all her life in Grand Forks. Anna was blessed with three sons: Peter, Mike and Alex. She lived in various locations: North Fork, Outlook, Sion and in the town area. Each place held memories and stories.
During Anna’s lifetime, she was employed for many years working for Mr. Fred Fedorak at his restaurants and hotels. In 1968 Anna and her husband Nick Kurbatoff started their own vegetable farm growing asparagus for several years. Anna loved her home and garden and enjoyed the fruit and vegetable canning and sharing with her family. She was very hospitable and was always prepared with borscht and pyrahi for her grandchildren, friends and family who dropped in for visits. She particularly enjoyed sharing the Doukhobor life-concept with the grandchildren. It was the simple things in life that gave her joy.
Anna was a dedicated lifetime member of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ. She held the utmost respect for the organization and the Verigin family and did not waiver from her beliefs. Anna was an active member of the singing groups (singing was especially one of her loves). One of the highlights of her life was being part of the Grand Forks Kootenay Expo Choir that traveled to the 1967 Expo in Montreal where they performed seven times at the various pavilions. Upon returning from the 1967 Expo performances, Anna joined the USCC Brotherhood Choir. She was also a member of the USCC Ladies Choir and the USCC Ladies Spiritual Group. Anna was a lifetime and active member of the USCC Ladies Cooking Organization and was very proud of their hard work and accomplishments.
In 2004, Anna spent her first year in assisted living in New Denver. The last six years were at the Hardy View Lodge in Grand Forks. Being of a mild character she was always cheerful and always joking with those who visited her. She appreciated all of the wonderful caregivers and was always eager to teach them Russian words. Anna had an incredible memory. She would continuously provide all of us with rhymes, poems, psalms, her favorite sayings and loved to reminisce about life as it was in the early days.
In March of 2008 her beloved son, Peter Sookochoff of Blairmore, Alberta, passed away which left her deeply saddened. Anna was also predeceased by her parents, Fred and Polly Vanjoff; and sisters: Christena Plotnikoff, Nora Plotnikoff, Helen Arishenkoff, Betty Lagore and brother Joe Vanjoff.
Anna is survived by her husband, Nick Kurbatoff; son, Mike and his wife Shirley Sookochoff of Grand Forks; son, Alex and his wife Carolyn Padmoroff of Grand Forks; eight grandchildren: Sean Sookochoff who is currently living in South Korea, Brent and his wife Lisa Sookochoff of Vancouver, Andrea Padmoroff of Abbotsford, Jarred and his wife Jalene Padmoroff of Grand Forks, Marisha Matkowski of Edmonton, Christine and her husband Chris Maclean of Lethbridge, Alberta, Naomi and her husband Jamie Acusta from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Peter Sookochoff from Calgary, Alberta; 10 great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Anna passed away peacefully with her family by her side, at Hardy View Lodge on September 9, 2010, at the age of 92 years. Anna would have turned 93 years old next month on October 20th.
Funeral services were held Monday, September 13, 2010, at the USCC Community Centre with interment at the Sion Doukhobor Cemetery. Grand Forks Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
We were very blessed to have had our dear Mother and Grandmother with us for nearly 93 years. She touched many hearts and will be deeply and sadly missed by all who knew her. We will always remember her as a quiet, gentle, loving and kind natured mother and grandmother. We love you, Mom…now spread your wings and embrace the peace and eternal happiness that awaits. May God take her into His heavenly kingdom.