It is with profound sorrow that the Board of Directors and staff at the New Pathway – Ukrainian News announce the passing of Stefan Andrusiak (August 2, 1950 – September 5, 2023). Stefan was an indispensable member of NP-UN's Board for several years. Journalism was Stefan's true calling, and he dedicated significant time and effort to enhance the relevance and appeal of New Pathway – Ukrainian News. His insights into our newspaper's content and layout were invaluable.
Stefan's tenure with NP-UN's Board was marked by the same passion that characterized his journalistic, scholarly, and musical career. Immediately following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, he harnessed his journalistic expertise to guide NP-UN in adapting to the necessary changes, transforming it into a vital source of timely information for our community and a vital communication channel for Ukrainians arriving in Canada.
Everyone who had the privilege of knowing Stefan recognized his kindness and exceptional qualities as a human being. He was not only a devoted Canadian citizen but also a steadfast Ukrainian at heart who dedicated his life to the preservation and advancement of Ukrainian culture. New Pathway – Ukrainian News feels deeply honored to have had such an accomplished media personality and distinguished community figure as Stefan Andrusiak on our Board.
May his memory be eternal. Вічная Пам'ять.
For more about Stefan Andrusiak, see NP-UN’s feature article. https://newpathway.ca/stefan-andrusiak-on-the-importance-of-loving-kasha-and-everyday-people/
Steve (Stefan) Orest Andrusiak, cherished father and husband, has passed away at age 73, on September 5, 2023.
He is predeceased by his parents, Maria Leskiw and Mykola Andrusiak. Stefan is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Larysa, and his three beautiful children: Natalie, Michael (wife Danielle and baby-to-be), and Paul (wife Meghan and grandson Jacob). He is also remembered by his two cousins, Andrea Leskiw and Mary Pawlus.
Stefan was born August 2nd, 1950 in Montreal. He was a devout Habs fan and always felt Montreal to be his home at heart.
Steve is a founding member of the illustrious Ukrainian band Rushnychok, which took the Ukrainian Diaspora in North America and beyond by storm. With their modern take on traditional melodies and patriotic compositions of their own, along with their colourful costumes and commanding stage presence, they delighted audiences through the 1970s. Their 5 albums are still widely accessed on streaming services.
For more about Rushnychok, see Stefan’s own recollections which he wrote upon the 50th anniversary of the band. https://newpathway.ca/reflections-rushnychok-50/
Journalism was his greatest passion. He graduated with a BA from Concordia University. He then took Graduate Courses at the School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, and holds a Masters of Education degree from the University of Toronto.
He began his career in Toronto on the writing desk of CTV National News, working for Lloyd Robertson and Harvey Kirk. He moved on to report for CFRN Radio and Television in Edmonton and was recruited by the CBC. The National News ran his stories regularly – on the Hinton train crash, the trial of Jim Keegstra, the Gainers Meat Packers’ Strike and John Paul’s first visit to Canada. He became Executive News Director at Windsor’s TV 9, which produced two hours of news and information programming every week night. He worked briefly in Detroit at WXYZ-TV and WDIV- TV, before moving his young family to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and became Executive News Director of the PEI Newsroom.
While at the CBC, Stefan co-authored an updated Radio Television News Directors Association Code of Ethics. He was also a Vice President for Canada of the Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and Canadian Representative to the International RTNDA Board.
In London, Ontario, Stefan served as Dean, then Chair, of Communication Arts at Fanshawe College, overseeing 11 post-secondary and graduate programs, as well as the construction and design of the new campus Media Arts Building. He was responsible for starting a Theatre Arts program and collaborating and launching a joint degree-diploma program with Western University in Media.
He later taught Media Ethics and Journalism at Western University and served as Regional Councillor for TVO: Ontario’s education network for 13 years.
Upon retirement, Stefan launched, wrote and published “Story Village”, an East London, Ontario weekly paper. In May of 2016, he became a volunteer at Radio Western at Western University. “Nasha Kasha” was born: a 28-minute English language radio program about Ukrainian life and the extraordinary stories of regular people, warm and sustaining like Kasha, a cereal surely all Ukrainians were nourished with. There were no commercials on this program which was freely offered to radio stations throughout Canada. It was carried at 19 community radio stations in all provinces except PEI and Alberta. Stefan loved traveling North America, meeting regular people of all ages and backgrounds to hear and record their incredibly fascinating and moving stories. He completed 300 episodes.
Stefan and his family are proud of their Ukrainian heritage. Apart from the indelible contribution to the music and culture of Ukrainian life in North America and beyond of the Rushnychok Band, they were recognized on multiple occasions including a Special Achievement Award at the First Ukrainian Contemporary Music Awards in Edmonton and the FR Jean Foundation Award for Service in 2015.
Stefan served as Parish Council President: Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church in London (2010-2012); as Vice President: Ukrainian Canadian Congress, London Branch for many years and was President: Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ontario Council from 2012-2015.
He is proud to have written the lyrics, with music by Igor Zhyliak, to a song entitled Edna Star, an anthem about Ukrainian settlement in Canada, which was first presented at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival in September 2011.
Stefan participated in experiences that were very memorable for him. He had been a Scouts Canada Leader when his boys were young. His moniker was Hawthie, the wise elephant. He was a regular participant in morning fitness classes organized by the Retirement Research Association at Western University.
He was a part of a not-for-profit team founded by his friend Zenon Andrusyszyn that reproduced exact copies of the beautiful carvings of Canadian WWI soldiers from an underground hideout near Vimy Ridge. This project honours and commemorates these heroes in that seminal battle.
Stefan was a member of the Knights of Columbus in London, Ontario. His association and friendship with the many fine men of that organization has meant so very much to him.
Through his journey with cancer in 2023, Stefan was honoured when his long-time friends from across Canada made trips to visit, reminisce, laugh and offer support to one another. Family visited from California and Phoenix, including his 90-year-old mother-in-law. His children and their partners were so very loving and supportive. He took great joy in his grandson, Jacob. Stefan was also overjoyed to learn that son Michael with wife Danielle are expecting their first baby! Stefan’s wife and love, Larysa, was there every step of the way. He felt blessed, grateful for the life he was granted, and at peace with it being time to “put a bow on it”.
We will miss him greatly.
Visitation will be held at Westview Funeral Chapel, 709 Wonderland Road North, London on Sunday, September 10, 2023 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., with prayers at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church, 707 Nelson Street, London on Monday, September 11, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. Interment at St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Stefan are asked to consider Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church (Building Fund) (cheques can be mailed to 707 Nelson St., London, ON, N5Z 1J8), St. Joseph’s Hospice, or the Music Program at Fanshawe College.