Annie was born in Buchanan, Saskatchewan June 27, 1934, to the Doukhobor family of John J. and Elizabeth W. Rilkoff. She had two older siblings: brother Timothy and sister Dorothy. They soon moved to Veregin, Saskatchewan, where Annie attended Linden Valley country school. In 1942, the Rilkoffs moved to Grand Forks, B.C., where Annie completed grade eight. She then worked at Overwaitea Foods and The Style Centre, but her working career was interrupted, when a tumour in her spine gradually paralyzed her. With miraculous help from family, friends and community, she was taken to the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where exactly on her 17th birthday surgeons removed the tumour and with subsequent therapy she regained full use of her legs.
From a young age, Annie was deeply involved in her Doukhobor faith, participating in youth cultural activities, where she soon met a young man named Cecil Plotnikoff. Immediately attracted to each other, they married on December 28, 1952, and were soon blessed with three daughters, Irene in 1954, Elizabeth in 1956 and Leona in 1962. While Cecil made a living in the local forest industry, Annie kept busy as a housewife and mother, raising a garden as well, with many enjoyable social occasions and community activities in between. Both life-long members of the USCC, Cecil and Annie were members of the USCC Friendship Choir, and the Doukhobor EXPO Choir which performed in Montreal in 1967. Annie also served on many USCC Committees, including the USCC Executive.
From a young age Annie composed poetry and many of her poems were published in ISKRA, the Gazette and other publications. In 2004, over 120 of her English language poems were published in a book, titled “With Each Bend in the Road”, which quickly became a regional bestseller. Annie also wrote a weekly column in the Boundary Community News and an occasional column for ISKRA.
Annie also created several dramatic productions, including “The Story of the Doukhobors”, a Historical Pageant performed at venues across Western Canada as part of the Russian-Canadian Heritage Festival in 1987, and “Voices for Peace” International Tour (during the 1995 Doukhobor Centenary of the Burning of Arms), for which Annie wrote the script and served as Drama Director, with performances at 16 venues across Canada, in New York City and several locations in Russia.
Later, Annie earned her High School Equivalency and took a real estate course, working in that field for several years. In retirement, she joined the local branch of the Red Hat Society and Cecil and Annie also enjoyed many memorable travel experiences, across Canada and abroad. But their greatest joy was always their big family, all of whom liked nothing better than to share in many joyous family gatherings, in which Cecil and Annie’s warm and generous hospitality and full-spirited joy of living set the tone for an ever-memorable time.
Despite some health issues in recent years, Annie continued to live at home with her beloved husband of nearly 64 years. After a few days in Grand Forks Hospital, Annie passed away there in the presence of her loving family, on Sunday morning, October 2, 2016. She was 82 years of age.
Annie was predeceased by her parents and in-law parents, as well as her brother Timothy and all of her husband’s siblings. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her husband Cecil; children: Paul and Irene Koodrin, John and Elizabeth Hole, Cecil and Leona Chutskoff; grandchildren: Jennifer (Jeff) Odorizzi, Matthew (Stephanie) Lebedoff, Alison (Ron) Shaw, Kyle Chutskoff and Bryce Chutskoff; great grandchildren: Shiloh, Eila, Nicolas, Nathan and Jake; blended grandchildren: Greg and Stefani Koodrin ; and blended great grandchildren: Kyle and Jenna Odorizzi; also her sister Dorothy Popoff, sister-in-law Helen Plotnikoff, and numerous nephews, nieces and other relatives, and many friends.
Funeral services were officiated by Larry Jmaiff at the USCC Community Centre on October 7 and 8, with interment at the Sion Cemetery. Grand Forks Funeral Home in care of arrangements. Memorial donations may be made to ISKRA or Whispers of Hope.