UKRAINIAN BAPTIST HERITAGE CENTRE

         WALTER OSTAPCHUK

 

Walter Abraham Ostapchuk 

April 14, 1922 – May 5, 2004

     Walter Abraham Ostapchuk was born on April 14, 1922 in Rivne, Ukraine (then Poland).  He was the eldest son of Abraham and Alexandra Ostaptschuk, and he had one brother Peter and two sisters, Halia and Luba.  His father Abraham was a Reeve (Mayor) in Rivne, and both he and his mother took an active role in their church.

     As a boy, Walter loved the outdoors and was actively involved in sports, especially soccer and skiing.  He was also actively searching for truth in spirit and accepted the Lord as his Saviour and was baptized during his teen years.

     Walter completed his high school Matriculation in 1938 and was eager to commence higher learning, yet that dream would have to wait until after World War II.  During the war Walter became separated from his family and found himself in Germany on this side of the Iron Curtain.  As fate would have it Walter would not be able to reunite with his family in Ukraine until 45 years later, after the Iron Curtain fell.

     After the war and liberation, he remained in Europe and studied Medicine at the University of Munich, Germany from 1946 to 1948.  Alone and without financial support, Walter had to abandon his medical studies and decided to begin a new life.

     Upon arriving in Canada in late 1948, Walter soon settled in the Ukrainian community in the breadbasket of Canada, Saskatchewan.  There he studied at the Ukrainian Bible Institute in Saskatoon, but yearned to pursue his dreams of further education and employment.

     In and around 1950, Walter moved permanently to Toronto, Ontario where he attended the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church on Tecumseth Street, and was as active member in the youth group.  It was during this time that he met his beloved Rose Marie Nesterenko, daughter of Perferi (Peter) and Xenia (Sonia) Nesterenko.  On September 15, 1951, Walter and Rose Marie were married and together they raised four children, Suzanne, Stephen, Peter and Timothy.

     Walter’s professional career encompassed almost 30 years, primarily with Ontario Hydro, where he completed his studies at the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians & Technologists and was accredited as a Certified Engineering Technician.  He initially started as a draftsman and was promoted ultimately to the nuclear division, where he managed certain procurement operations.

     Walter devoted his life to the Lord and continued his active participation in the church as the Sunday School Superintendent for many, many years.  He dearly loved his wife and children, and was actively involved in their lives, supporting and encouraging them in studies, sports, and the love for the outdoors.  One of his greatest pleasures was the cottage at the Ocelia (in the Kawartha’s in Peterborough) that he designed and built, and where he shared so many happy times swimming, BBQ’ing, and laughing with family, grandchildren, and friends.

     Walter Abraham Ostapchuk passed away peacefully on May 5, 2004 after a lengthy struggle with heart problems at the age of 82.  He was a kind and generous man, a loving father and devoted husband to Rose Marie, and was always filled with awe and curiosity.

     His love for life will be greatly missed by us all.  May God bless you...and as he always said...be Brave!

First week of May, 1950, arriving in Toronto from the Ukrainian Bible Institute in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to start a new life. Walter Ostapchuk, John Prokopiak and Walter Kutcher (second row standing, left to right) were original charter members, 8,9, and 10, of the original group of 13 members who officially organized the Toronto Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church on May 7th, 1950. Also in the picture (bottom right) is Michael Rewko, choir director, who was original charter member # 7, and who was also anxiously awaiting these three new choir members. [Picture from the 1950-1965 ALMANAC of the 15th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Toronto, 1965, page 25]

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Peter, Nadia, Joshua and Larissa Tymciw attended Mr. Ostapchuk’s funeral, and have attended many other funerals as well, of dear people in the Ukrainian Baptist Church who have passed away during the past twenty years.  At Mr. Ostapchuk’s funeral, while Peter and his family were walking out of the funeral service, they were surprised to see Paul Henderson who was also at the funeral. Paul scored the famous goal for Canada against the Soviets in 1972.  Years ago, Mr. Ostapchuk invited Paul Henderson to be a guest speaker at Ontario Hydro, where he led a Bible Study for many years. 

Knowing that Mr. Ostapchuk loved children, especially as he was the Sunday School Superintendent at the Toronto Ukrainian Ev. Baptist Church where Peter grew up, Peter didn’t think Mr. Ostapchuk would have minded, if he asked Paul for an autograph for his son Joshua, who was seven at the time.  Afterwards, Peter told his son Joshua, that attending funerals are special times, because you never know who you will meet, like Paul Henderson, but especially paying respect to those people who have served for many years in the Ukrainian Baptist work.

     

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