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MEDWID, Mary (nee Kolach)

August 26, 1919 – February 7, 2013

On Friday, February 7, 2013, one of Alberta’s true pioneers, Mary Medwid of Edmonton, passed away at the age of 93 years.

Mary was a woman of great strength of character and perseverance. Born the third child in a rural Ukrainian family, her Cossack father died when she was a very young. Her mother and new stepfather immigrated to Canada with their blended family of six children in 1927. The young family settled in Frains, Alberta, sheltered by relatives. Life was hard, but Mary was an energetic contributor, learning to do everything from caring for young children to helping with farm chores. Because there were no local opportunities to go to school in Frains, she left her family at the age of twelve to live as a mothers helper, caring for children and livestock in the mornings and evenings and going to school in the day. At a church picnic at the age of eighteen she met the love of her life, Mike Medwid, a man of similar convictions and history. One ice cream cone and she was smitten, marrying him four months later in 1937. They quickly settled down to a life of farming, buying their first quarter section for $10.00 near Grassland, Alberta, where they embraced the opportunity of working for themselves. They cleared the land by hand, raised livestock and grew grain crops, all while creating a loving family. They lived for the first year winter in Mike’s bachelor shack, which later became the chicken coop. They had a long and successful career as farmers, the entire family contributing to the close knit rural community in a myriad of ways. In 1967, the family moved to Edmonton to advance the educational opportunities of the younger children. Mary remained active as a farmer, but found new opportunities in Edmonton, working at the local high school. When she was older, Mary would retell the stories of her youth, freely giving advice to any who would listen. She gave practical advice – how to make perogies and cabbage rolls, and how to dig an outhouse. She also specialized in revealing the secrets of what makes a good wife and how to keep a family strong. She taught the less concrete lesson of honesty, integrity and the value of a hard day’s work. Mary died a woman truly satisfied with her life’s accomplishments. She often said that if she could have, she would have done it all over again exactly the same.

She is survived by her devoted children, Virginia, Geri and Mike, and was predeceased by her husband Mike of sixty-six years, and sadly by daughters Natalia and Georgia. She lived the life of a true Alberta pioneer in a time that is unique in the history of our province. She will be truly missed.

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church (402 Meredith Road N.E.) on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Requiem Service will be held at St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church (402 Meredith Road N.E.) on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Graveside Services will be held at St. Michael’s Cemetery, (13819 – 82 Street Edmonton, AB) at 3:00 p.m. Forward condolences through

In living memory of Mary Medwid, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: (403) 256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Beatrice (Duigou)Varley :

    Hello Virginnia, Geri and Mike Medwid.

    I haven’t seen you for 52 years but I remember you from Grassland High School.
    I’m still in email contact with Anne Hula, she sent me the info about your mom. My sincere sympathy to you and your family. Bea

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  2. John and Lenore Beyer :

    Geri, Al, Victoria and Michael
    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Trautman (Medwid) families at this time of loss. Grandma lived life her way and we were honored to have met her and enjoyed our times of visiting with her.

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  3. Brownie & Sonia Shymoniak :

    Sorry to hear of your moms passing she was a great woman. May GOD bless and keep you all

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  4. Laura Brinkerhoff Palmer :

    Dear Mike & Family:

    So sorry to learn of your loss. It is never easy to lose a family member, especially one’s mother. I extend heartfelt sympathy.


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