We are blessing Valentine Parfiniuk, of Grand Forks, B.C., who passed away peacefully on December 31, 2015, with his family beside him, deep in prayer and singing Doukhobor soul hymns continuously during his last week on this earth.
He was a man of two worlds, being born in Tomahawk, Alberta, on August 25, 1930, in the Ukrainian settlement. He was born to a family of eight children, two brothers and six sisters, sharing the hard times of the 1930s with his mom and dad, who worked with much love to raise their beautiful family, working on the farm together.
In his early twenties, he came to British Columbia – the Okanagan and Kamloops area – to find jobs that were scarce at that time.
In 1957, he met and married Nellie Bawoolin, who at that time worked in Kamloops doing domestic jobs and bakery, because there were no jobs at home near the Perry Siding Doukhobor Community Village.
Not long after our marriage, Val hurt his back, and we decided to move from Kamloops to Osoyoos where I, his wife, knew the garden and orchard work well, and there was always enough money to get by. Val was hired on at the Monashee Packing Plant, and we lived close enough, within walking distance, that we could both work at the same plant. Val loved going fishing at a small lake between Osoyoos and Keremeos, and being in the natural habitat of the hills. We both thought the valley was so beautiful.
A year later, our first child, Marcia, was born to us in 1958, and Val was overwhelmed at being a father to such a miracle baby, walking at eight months, and so beautiful. Soon, another miracle happened; a son, Danny was born. And within a year, Steven arrived. Our family was so complete, and we were so happy with our family. All of our children were born in the Oliver hospital.
But life is a mover, challenge after challenge. I had a vision about my village in Perry Siding. After that, I was pulled like a magnet to go back home. I asked Val if we could move to the village in Perry Siding.
When we arrived, Val remodeled the cottage bought for a few dollars from the Rebalkin family. It was just the right size for our family, and we settled in. Val loved the village and the people in it, God bless him.
At that time, Sons of Freedom Doukhobor men were fasting unto death for unfair sentencing; they were on the fast for about 100 days already. In the news media, the press stated that the government was planning asbestos suits for the imprisoned men, and that no one could last longer than six months in them. All of Sons of Freedom Doukhobor communities were alarmed and in conflict with authorities.
We lived in the Village for only three months when a trek to our fasting brothers in Agassiz was announced. We, our family just babies, were going on the trek of a lifetime, and Val, from another walk of life, without question chose to help our Doukhobor brothers, and we trekked with others on this soul journey. I, his wife, will always honour him for that movement of the heart. When my mom, Mable Bawoolin, had a heart attack, I came back from the Agassiz trek before others in order to care for her, while Val followed shortly after.
And this is when we settled in Grand Forks. As time went by, Val did carpentry odd jobs here and there and later he worked on most of the dam sites as a foreman, and was well liked by people who worked along with him. Later in his life, when he broke his hip and health went downhill and dementia set in. He worked on canes to gift to family and other people, and often he told me and others of the vision he had of seeing Peter “Lordly” Verigin appear before him, patting Val on the head. He said he looked like the picture of Peter “Lordly” that we have hanging on the wall.
Valentine is predeceased by his mother, Anastasia, who passed on January 20, 1986; his father Fred, who passed on May 3, 1992; his sister, Olga, who passed on August 6, 1989; his sister, Jean, who passed on July 28, 2000; his nephew, Gary, who passed in 1990; his nephew, Dean, who passed on July 2, 2015, and his niece, Joyce.
He is survived by his wife, Anastasia Parfiniuk; brother Walter (Ruth) Parfiniuk; sisters, Annie Faminoff, Joyce (Don) Martin, and Vicky (Gary) Myck; his daughter, Marcia Shelestynski; sons Dan (Michelle) Parfiniuk and Steve (Hilary) Parfiniuk; grandchildren, Sonya (Yehudi) Schepkowski, Allie (Brad) Dixon, Lisa (Jason) Chiasson, Tanya (Danny) Shelestynski, Kayla (Jason) Lewis, Daniel Shelestynski, Nicolas Shelestynski, James Parfiniuk, Carbon Parfiniuk; great grandsons, Gage Dixon and Boden Lewis; sister-in-law, Maryann Holtz; son-in-law Darrin Shelestynski; daughter-in-law, Nina Parfiniuk, and many nieces and nephews.
May God bless you, Val, on your journey to God’s eternity. No one could fill your sacred place in my heart. My thoughts are, let God’s angels carry you on wings of God’s love.