Annie (Melnechuk) Tarangle

Annie Melnechuk Tarangle

(September 22, 1917 – February 12, 2011)

Annie (Melnechuk) Tarangle: “Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman?”

Life Sketch/Tribute written and presented by niece, Janice (Melenchuk) Bell

Memorial Service, Abbotsford, British Columbia
February 19, 2011

Annie (Melnechuk) Tarangle died on February 12, 2011 in Kelowna, British Columbia at age 93. Annie has the distinction of living longer than any Melnechuk family member to date. She was a beloved family member: the fourth daughter born to Mike and Catherine Melnechuk, and a sister to 10 siblings. She was a wife to John Tarangle, mother to Gordon, mother-in-law to Sandy, grandmother to Dean (Tere), great-grandmother to Sebastian and Frida, aunt to 31 nieces and nephews in the Melnechuk family, great-aunt to over a 100 descendants, and sister-in-law and aunt to the Tarangle family. (Two Tarangle brothers, John and Nickel, married two Melnechuk sisters, Annie and Pearl, making our family twice connected to the Tarangle family.)

[Grandson, Dean and his wife, Tere, and their two children are present today along with Sandy, Gordon’s wife. Two of Annie’s sisters, Eva and Caroline, are here today and Tim Tarangle and his two sisters Anna and Dolly are here representing the Tarangle family.]

Annie was also a beloved friend and, since 1966, an active member of the Abbotsford Seventh-Day Adventist church community.

Each of us comes to this celebration of Annie’s full and long life with our own memories and stories about her. Many of her peers and family members are no longer living to share their special times and experiences with Annie. But today, those of us who are living have the privilege to:

  • re-collect or gather together our own memories of the daily comings and goings of her life;
  • re-member, or bring to mind again, what we already know about her—what we appreciated most about her, and what signature strengths we observed;
  • and perhaps in this process we will re-cognize and see in a new way the gifts she gave us and the unique ways she influenced our lives for good.

Proverbs 31 poses an intriguing question: Who can find a virtuous woman? The term “virtuous” means strength of character, efficiency, and ability. The question being asked is: “Who can find a woman of moral strength?” Proverbs 31:10-31 describes several key characteristics that distinguish a woman of strength.

I am a niece of Aunty Annie’s (my father, John Melenchuk, was her brother) and over the past week, I invited family members to share their favorite memories about Aunty Annie. The tributes and stories I received by email and phone offer a fascinating glimpse of Aunty Annie’s signature strengths, character, and abilities. I would like to weave these stories into the descriptions about a virtuous woman offered in Proverbs 31 as a way to re-member and celebrate Aunty Annie’s life.

Who can find a woman of strength? “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. She will do him good, and not evil” (Proverbs 31).

When Annie was a child, she developed scoliosis in her spine. Her mother advised that she should look for a husband who was not a farmer so that she would be spared the hard physical labor required of a farmer’s wife. A young handsome teacher by the name of John Tarangle began to teach in the Beauvallon area where Annie’s family lived. He showed a romantic interest in Annie by writing several letters to her while she attended Canadian Junior College in Lacombe. She wrote in her autobiography that she “hid the letters in the mattress” so that her older sister Jessie would not learn about the budding romance. When she returned from Canadian Junior College, John proposed to her and they were married on a very rainy day in Beauvallon on August 7, 1938. Many years later, Annie would affectionately describe John to her nieces as “my jewel of a husband”.

The young couple eventually both received their teaching certification and spent several years teaching in rural Alberta including Willingdon, Byemoor, Derwent, Leduc, Three Hills, and Vermillion—sometimes teaching in the same school but more often in different schools, several miles apart and living in several ill-equipped “teacher” houses that were routinely assigned to them by the local community.

John was a scholar who loved learning and spent many summers upgrading his teaching certification, eventually earning a Master’s degree in Education from the Oregon State University in Corvallis. He also loved a good laugh—especially when he visited with his brothers. Annie had a more serious personality and often reminded her husband that he was a “professional man” who needed to act more dignified!

John and Annie were thrilled to become parents of their only son, Gordon in 1948. John and Annie enjoyed 65 years of marriage and together created a home of welcome and generous hospitality. Niece Brenda Kotanko wrote, “When Annie and John learned about Gordon’s untimely death in September 1995, Annie climbed on John’s lap and they just held each other. It was a very private intimate moment of deep love and deep loss that will never be forgotten”.

Annie (Melnechuk) and John Tarangle with their son, Gordon

Who can find a woman of strength? “She worketh willingly with her hands…She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31).

Legendary stories are told about Annie’s artistic energy, creativity, and strong Ukrainian work ethic. She enjoyed creating a home of welcome hospitality.

From Nephew Bryan Proskiw: Aunty Ann’s son Gordon was only 6 days older than me, so Gordon and I grew up together like brothers. Auntie Ann always invited me to spend time at their home during school breaks and summer holidays. I grew up loving their family as my own and enjoying the new foods and recipes Auntie Ann always seemed to come up with. I remember Aunty Annie’s attention to detail with everything in the house coordinated and having a place for everything. She loved French provincial furniture as she pointed out the ornate legs on her living room sofa. Beautiful flower arrangements she had created always graced her tables.

Niece, Kathie (Slusarenko) Evans, recalls THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS: One year we went to spend Christmas with my mother Mary when she was living near Abbotsford. On Christmas Eve we went to Auntie Annie’s for Ukrainian Christmas Eve Dinner. Her house was beautifully decorated with flowers, tree lights, and a festive table setting. It was breath taking. Perfect. Auntie Annie served the traditional seven-course meal. It may have been thirteen. What a wonderful experience. I learned so much about our heritage, everything delicious and meaningful. Gordon, Sandi, and Dean were there, Nickel and family. We had so much fun during the meal. After we settled in the living room to visit, we heard this “Ho, Ho, Ho”. The children were so excited. In comes Uncle John in his full Santa suit–so there we had Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The perfect host and hostess. It gave me a truer meaning of family love and the pride of our roots.

Niece, Ellen (Tkachuk) Martin: She was such a special person and my kids and even grandkids remember her as they came to visit quite often. While we were in Victorville, Annie and John came to visit and we got the idea to take the camper to Santa Barbara for a few days. The evening before we left for the beach, Aunty Annie looked out the window and noticed a plum tree full of ripe plums. She said we couldn’t go until we had made them all into jam. We were up past midnight, but that plum jam got made!

Across her lifetime, Aunty Annie offered many acts of caring in the course of her daily living, and these interactions played a crucial role in contributing to the “social glue” that binds our family together. All of our eight Aunties have been active participants in keeping women’s caring and nurturing traditions alive and modeling these skills to us, but of our eight aunties, it is likely that Aunty Annie’s hands were the least idle!

Who can find a woman of strength? “She is like the merchants’ ships; She bringeth her food from afar” (Proverbs 31).

Aunty Annie’s Ukrainian heritage focused on food. She loved making food, experimenting with food, and entertaining through the sharing food.

Great-niece, Laurie Martin, wrote: “Auntie Annie’s passion for cooking and her talent for figuring out the ingredients in whatever she enjoyed eating was a huge inspiration to me as I was growing up and learning to cook”.

Niece Brenda (Tarangle) Kotanko tells a story about Annie’s creativity with food: When Auntie Annie decided to do something – she never did it half way, it was 110% or nothing! Well, one year for Michael’s birthday, she decided to make a castle cake. She baked the cake in all kinds of weird and wonderful cans and tins, but when she was done – it was a sight to behold. Never in my life had I seen such a bright blue cake, but Michael thought it was so cool, and that was all that mattered.

Since we lived so close to Auntie Annie’s we would always spend Christmas Eve together for an early dinner. Auntie Anna would bring her special mushroom dish, and Annie was in charge of the vegetables. One year in particular, I remember sitting down for dinner, and my kids trying to tell me not to take any of the beets. Auntie Annie had read in a recipe book somewhere, to add orange juice to the vegetables and it would make them taste better. It didn’t work! They were horrible! We always seemed to be the ones that she would try her experiments on….and in hindsight, I give her full points for being so willing to try something different, and now we can laugh about those memories. As Uncle John, Auntie Annie, and Dad got older, the kids would help me cook and we would just bring the entire meal and enjoy it together. I must admit, Auntie Annie did make some killer juice concoctions – they were fabulous!

Who can find a woman of strength? “With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard” (Proverbs 31).

Aunty Annie loved flowers. She loved working in her garden–or perhaps gardens–would be a more appropriate description for the size, scale, and design of her horticultural skills.

Niece Karen (Melenchuk) Ferguson remembers: When I was in grade 11 at CUC, I received a box from Auntie Annie brought back to school from students who stayed at her house during their spring band tour in Abbotsford. It was filled with fresh cut daffodils from her garden. There was still snow on the ground at CUC so the daffodils were a very special treat.

Great-niece Kristi Kotanko: My most fond memory of Aunty Annie was her love of flowers! I remember as a young child being in her Kindergarten class in Abbotsford and walking through her backyard in awe of her beautiful garden. When I was in high school she showed me how to arrange flowers in a vase properly and how to make bows for my graduation. We used to sit in her flower workshop (aka: garage) and just talk and work. I will always remember her white large calla lilies on the side of her house (on Downes Road) as her pride and joy! Those flowers were not to be picked unless it was a special occasion. As a teenager I remember wanting one so bad and even sneaking them, to which I got a stern talking to, but she finally gave me some cuttings before she moved to Kelowna.

Can you picture the large ranch-style house on 32549 Downes Road in Abbotsford that Annie and John purchased in 1984? Aunty Annie loved that house. Around the house on three sides is garden, where Annie grew many kind of flowers: roses, lavender, lilacs, columbines, poppies, pansies, clematis, snapdragons, potentilla, forget-me nots, peonies, campanula, rosemary, irises, and at the side of her house, her prized white calla lilies.

There are two apple trees, three plum trees, a cherry, and a pear tree whose fragrant fruits are canned and enjoyed in the middle of winter. At the side, beyond the flower garden are multiple vegetable patches all in raised beds where Annie grew potatoes, onions, runner beans, broad beans, peas, sweet corn, squash, carrots, garlic, beets, lettuce, zucchini, and cabbage. In between the vegetables, dill and parsley grow wild, self-seeded. To one side, a long strip of blueberry bushes and a soft-fruit patch of raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, red and black currants are nurtured. The hazelnut tree grows by the back door. A large patch of rhubarb fills another corner of the garden. That garden was her pride and joy.

Who can find a woman of strength? “She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31).

After several years of teaching in rural schools, Annie established a successful kindergarten in her home on Rosestree Road in N.W. Calgary where she and John lived. She was proud to own her own business. She also operated a private nursery school and kindergarten in her home in Abbotsford for many years. Hundreds of children received a strong foundation for learning as she provided music, stories, and art in the familiar, nurturing routine of her classroom.

Great-niece, Debbie (Slusarenko) Merritt comments: My link with Auntie Annie was that we were both teachers. She always wanted to know how I was doing in life, in the classroom, and just “teach talk”.

Great-niece, Brenda (Martin) Schermann also fondly recalls her visits with Aunty Annie: I loved hearing Aunt Annie share her stories of teaching her kindergarten students. I am an early childhood educator and we shared this common passion for working with young children.

While stories of her teaching career speak to her wisdom, a story from nephew Milton Kiehlbauch illustrates Aunty Annie’s “tongue of kindness”:

On one particular occasion Auntie Annie and Uncle John had the privilege of babysitting me through the afternoon and overnight…I wandered downstairs to their basement to find a veritable playground of activities surrounding a planned renovation!!! There were these huge stacks of light and fluffy pink material! Like huge sheets of cotton candy! They even had the cartoon character Pink Panther on the packages! Play heaven. Guaranteed to be a good time! I laid out these fluffy sheets…then stacked them three of four deep. I made a trampoline and bounced on them. I made a springboard and dove into them. I stacked them high and toppled them!!! I made a Fort then crashed the gates!!! This was too much fun! After a while I was hot and exhausted, so I took off my shirt, made myself a cozy nest and fell asleep half naked….in the nest of Fiberglass Pink Insulation. I awoke to find my whole body burning, my eyes hurt, and my chest and back were scratched up and I was pink everywhere…I was just a little guy and didn’t know what was going on and began to cry! I wanted to scratch everywhere…this was itchy!!! Auntie Annie quickly found me in quite the predicament. She was quite upset for me and deeply concerned. She was not mad at me, but very very concerned, very compassionate. She made a phone call then drew an ice-cold bath for me. She said it would help with the itchiness and swelling. Although the water was very cold and I was crying, my aunt Annie was very compassionate and it made me feel better. After a cold bath she wrapped me up in a warm towel and rubbed chamomile lotion all over my legs, my tummy, my back, my arms…then she made me some warm chocolate milk and put me to bed in some clean cotton sheets. I was feeling a bit better in the clean white cotton sheets. Auntie Annie was very comforting and said I’d be okay and that all the fuzzy scratches were only temporary…I would be fine. I remember this because as tough as the day had been, my Auntie was better than the best substitute for my mom when I needed a mom the most. Like all of our aunties, Aunty Annie had a special gift of love and compassion that has always tied our family together.

Who can find a woman of strength? “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms” (Proverbs 31).

Aunty Annie has contributed a multidimensional richness to our family in numerous ways. She has been a role model of generous nurturing by staging gatherings of family and church members; she’s been an adult friend to her nieces and nephews, a witness to our rites of passage such as weddings and graduations, and a cheerleader during times of discouragement and disappointment.

Niece Brenda (Tarangle) Kotanko: Auntie Annie definitely had a huge influence in the way my children were raised, and I am so thankful that she was part of our lives. She taught my children the value of working, and because she was a no nonsense kind of person, they respected her for the advice she freely doled out. At least a person always knew where she stood, there was no beating around the bush. She also taught my children many character building lessons, mostly by example.

Niece, Judy (Slusarenko) Melashenko: My earliest memories of Auntie Annie is that she was always a positive role model, in that she was an educated, very involved, interesting and energetic communicator. She never sat in the corner, but was always involved in the center of activity. I remember the time at Pinehurst when the men went out fishing the first afternoon there and brought back nearly 100 fish. Aunt Annie took charge organizing the “Filet Brigade” and before we knew it, supper was being served, with Northern Pike being the main entree, with Aunt Annie’s touch.

Who can find a woman of strength? “But a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31).

Aunty Annie was a keeper of the faith: faith in the value of safe, nurturing spaces in her classroom and in her home; faith in the importance of building a community of believers through many contributions of her floral arrangements, time, financial and organizational expertise to her church; and most importantly, faith in the saving grace of Jesus. Sometimes her strong faith seemed to invite little room for complexity, ambiguity, or difference—as some of us who received her unsolicited advice experienced and yet she meant well.

In her life Aunty Annie also knew heartache and heartbreak: a serious motor vehicle accident—a head on collision–in 1986 that left her with pain and permanent injury; the death of her only son Gordon in 1995 which invited deep emotional and spiritual suffering; the loss of her beloved husband John in 2003; and increasing forgetfulness and clouded memory as she neared the end of her life. Yet her faith remained strong—observed in her Bible reading and in her love of music as she played familiar hymns on her piano and sang in a beautiful alto voice.

Niece Laura Melenchuk remembers: I noticed something when I would visit Aunty Annie in these last couple of years. There was a graciousness about her that not even dementia could rob her of. She always said “thank you” at the end of each visit and I believe that despite her failing memory, this graciousness was just a part of her and came from her heart.

Our family acknowledges the devoted leadership of Annie’s sister Eva, who assumed responsibility for Annie’s well-being when John died in 2003. Bill Melnechuk (Annie’s brother) and several nieces also lovingly cared for Aunty Annie: Brenda Kotanko, Elayne Proskiw, and Karen Ferguson. We are also grateful to the staff at Hawthorne Park and Orchard Manor in Kelowna who provided excellent care during the last years of Annie’s life.

Who can find a godly woman of strength—a woman of virtue? Proverbs 31 says she is rare: “For her price is far above rubies”.

Aunty Annie, thank you for contributing to our family and to your community in extra-ordinary ways:

hard worker, business owner, believer,
artistic, disciplined, role model, teacher,
creative, energetic, pragmatic, proud professional,
second mother, surrogate grandmother, intergenerational advisor,

In the Ukrainian language, there is a word for “goodbye”: “Do-po-bachi-yna”. The beauty of this particular word is that it not only means “goodbye” but it also infers “I look forward to seeing you again”. Rest well, precious Annie, and we long to see you restored to wholeness on the resurrection morning!

Annie (Melnechuk) Tarangle with her sister Jessie (Melnechuk) Tkachuk

Tribute written and presented by niece, Elayne (Proskiw) Jacobson

Memorial Service, Abbotsford, British Columbia
February 19, 2011

My dear sweet Aunty Annie has been a part of my life since I was a very small girl.

My mom tells me of a time when I was left in Aunty’s care for a weekend. I was a tiny little girl with lots of energy. Aunty wasnʼt sure I should be eating in between meals so she told my mom that she was going to “train” me. Well, I guess I was UNTRAINABLE because when my mom came back and asked Aunty how she had done she said, “Oh I tried, but that didnʼt work, and besides–AS IF WE DONʼT HAVE FOOD IN CANADA.” That was the end of that but I guess I must have weaseled myself into her heart because she always told me, “You are just like a daughter to me”.

I totally loved going to Auntie Annieʼs place. She had the absolute coolest place. Aunty was running her Kindergarten from her home so she had a mini school in her HOUSE–complete with shelves of children’s books, toys, musical instruments, tables for doing crafts, and drawings. She even had a drinking fountain and separate bathrooms for boys and girls. I had always loved school so I was thrilled to be at her home. As a teen-ager, my brother Bryan and I would take turns going and staying with aunty and uncle and of course hanging out with cousin Gordon.

Aunty Annieʼs passion was flowers–growing them and arranging them–in live arrangements and in silk arrangements. It was no surprise that when I was getting married she was one of the first persons I contacted. She not only did my wedding bouquet and my bridesmaids bouquets but she even decorated my wedding cake. My wedding flowers were absolutely gorgeous and unique. She took a white gladiola and put a coral colored rose in the middle of the gladiola. Pretty clever.

If you look downstairs on the tables in the reception room you will see some examples of Auntyʼs creativity with flowers. She always seemed to be front and center with any and all family weddings and celebrations.

After I married, we lived in Williams Lake, and even there Aunty played a part in my life. Because her son, Gordon, lived in Williams Lake she would always make a point of visiting me as well. She would call and come up for the afternoon. She would help me with whatever I was doing or help me catch up on projects that I didn’t like doing. Uncle John would just have a nap or read a book and leave us “girls” to talk flowers, food, and family.

Auntyʼs move to Kelowna proved to be a huge challenge. She had accumulated a house full of “treasures” over a period of many, many years and it was impossible to move everything she had accumulated. I stopped by to see how things were going–planning on staying for an hour–I stayed three days!! We sorted, packed, threw out and sorted some more. It was a huge endeavor but through it we laughed, cried and talked.

Seems us Melnechuk girls never ran out of things to “talk about.” It was a special time of sharing and caring for each other. When she moved to Kelowna we continued to keep in touch. She was included in every family gathering and we would drop in to visit quite often. She continued to have beautiful flowers in her yard.

I will always remember Auntyʼs eyes–the way they would light up when I would walk in to visit her. Once they were having a special dinner at a restaurant in Kelowna. The staff at Orchard Manor had called me to let me know of the event. I hadnʼt told Aunty I was coming but just showed up to join her. She was ecstatic–so happy –she just kept holding my hand and when I was getting ready to leave she would say, “You come again, OK?”.

I took my mom to see Aunty just before Christmas. She was failing in health but even then when we walked into the room, her eyes showed she recognized someone who loved her. We sang together and she even tried to sing some of the words. When we were leaving, I stood in the doorway and said, “Aunty, I love you.” I waved to her and she lifted her hand, smiled and waved back.

I know Aunty knew she was loved and it was truly a privilege to have been able to spend time with her these past few years.

I will miss her but look forward to seeing her again.

Annie celebrates her 90 birthday with family members

Tribute written and presented by sister, Caroline (Melnechuk) Kiehlbauch

Memorial Service, Abbotsford, British Columbia
February 19, 2011

What I remember most about Annie is her wonderful ability to be hospitable. She loved having company and loved setting a beautiful table. Our family always felt welcomed at her home.

Annie loved to work. In our family we called her the “Manufacturer of Work” because she liked work and she liked other people to work also.

I have many beautiful memories of the week I spent with her in the retirement home. We went to a concert one night. Another night we went to a movie—something she never did alone. We enjoyed walking and talking. She was always interested in one’s life but also wanted to know about all the children. I missed our weekly phone conversations when she was no longer able to communicate because of her failing health.

Annie loved life and was a very cheerful, loving, and content person.

Annie (Melnechuk) Tarangle

Tribute written by sister, Ruth (Melnechuk) Eli and presented by sister, Caroline (Melnechuk) Kiehlbauch

Memorial Service, Abbotsford, British Columbia
February 19, 2011

I’m truly sorry I’m unable to be with you today, so I’ve asked my sister Caroline to share these thoughts with you.

As the youngest of the ten children, I had a lot of big sisters. Annie was one. I have an early memory of when she and John were “courting.” I must have been about five years old. John would come to our house then he and Annie would sit in the living room and talk. My mom was anxious for all her girls to marry nice men, so before he arrived, Mom would shoo Billy and me out of the house so the couple could have a little privacy.

One day I decided to hide on the landing to hear what John and Annie were talking about. I stayed hidden for a few minutes, then figured the conversation was too boring, so I came down the stairs and got a real scolding from my mother for eaves-dropping.

My sister Annie always managed to get things done with beautiful results. When I was planning my wedding I decided I wanted fresh flowers instead of artificial ones. My sister Mary knew a lady who had a large flower garden, so the morning of my wedding, Annie picked bunches of fresh gladiolas and made all the bridal party flowers and two huge sprays of flowers for the front of the church. That was after she stayed up all night sewing her son Gordon a suit. He was my Bible boy and we couldn’t find a suit that fit him. Annie managed to sew a suit and do all the flowers for a wedding between midnight and eleven a.m when the wedding started. I walked down the aisle right on time, by the way!

The year I was in 11th grade at CUC, Annie and John lived in Three Hills, where John taught school. I took the bus to their house sometimes on weekends. I remember one Sabbath; we took a picnic lunch to a beautiful river. I was so used to wide, fast-moving river like the North Saskatchewan. The river by their house was gentle, with a sandy riverbank. I was so impressed by the idea of relaxing by a river, instead of viewing a river as a means of transportation or work.

The last memory I’d like to share is about a trip we took just after I graduated from nursing. John, Annie, Gordon, Mom, Dad and I went on a road trip when Gordon was about four years old. John had just purchased a new car so my dad asked him if we could all travel to Pennsylvania and Ontario – John would provide the car and Dad would pay the gas. The six of us spent about three weeks on the road, visiting my dad’s brother in Saskatchewan, re-visiting the places our family had lived and seeing my mom’s cousins in Pennsylvania, and attending camp meeting in Ontario. We also got to see Nick and Jessie, and Bill and Esther because they lived in Ontario at the time.

When I think of my sister Annie, I’ll always remember someone who loved to create – to bake or arrange flowers or sew. She was the artistic person in our family – someone who could take simple ingredients like flour & sugar, or daisies & gladiolas and make something beautiful for others to enjoy. She helped me learn to appreciate beauty and generosity, and my memories of her will always be tied to these characteristics.

Caroline offering a tribute to her sister Annie

Tribute written and presented by grandson, Dean Tarangle

Memorial Service, Abbotsford, British Columbia, February 19, 2011

Tribute to my Grandmother, Annie Tarangle
I am here to share what I remember most about my Grandma. She loved to talk about the family. She loved her family very much. They were also her best friends. Even though many of her brothers and sisters lived in other areas, I got to know them through Grandma’s stories. In her earlier days, she would explain in detail stories of growing up on the farm, teaching and visits she had with her family. In her later days, that was what she remembered most.

I like to remember her healthier days. When she came to visit us in Williams Lake, we would go for walks and she would even run. She was so healthy that I remember her challenging me to a finger fight to test our strength. As a cocky, athletic teenager, I balked at the prospect of any physical challenge from my Grandma. After some convincing, I agreed. To this day, I still don’t talk about the result of that challenge. One thing I will say is that she was strong! It is always interesting to me how legacies are passed on. My Son Sebastian has her long, strong fingers. That definitely didn’t come from me.

She was also very giving. When she came to visit us in Williams Lake, she would always go out of her way to bring fresh home made jam, buns and fruit. When you visited her, she would always leave you with something special. She would always have a special room designated for arranging flowers. I always thought those rooms were very mysterious because the door was always closed and as an avid soccer player, was reminded ‘that room was definitely not for playing’. I knew this room was special to her and at the end of our visits, she would take us into the room and say we could choose whatever we wanted. She loved arranging flowers and was giving something she loved to someone she loved.

One very special moment I had with her is when she met her Great Grandson, Sebastian for the very first time. When we brought him over and I told her that this was her Great Grandson, there was a look of amazement and I could see the love in her eyes. Nobody could have captured that look in a photograph. She would watch him run around and play for hours, just smiling, with love.

Legacy means something different to everyone. To me, this means always remembering with my kids, Sebastian and Frida and my beautiful wife, Tere moments like these we had with Grandma.

Grandson Dean with his wife, Tere and Annie

Poem read by sister, Eva (Melnechuk) Proskiw

Memorial Service, Abbotsford, British Columbia – February 19, 2011


A sister’s smile warms your heart.

A sister’s hug reminds you she understands and cares.

Sisters stand behind you,
beside you
and with you.

They back you,
they pull for you,
and sometimes they will even push you.

Sisters always listen, listen, and listen.

Sometimes they hold back the advice–
sometimes they don’t.

They lend you a hand,
or a dollar,
or a shoulder to cry on without thinking twice.

Sisters are the first to arrive in a crisis,
the last to go home when there’s fun.

A sister’s love is a lifelong gift.

And how do I know all these things about sisters?
Because I was blessed with one of the very best —
my sister Annie.

Melnechuk Sisters: Left to right- Caroline, Ruth, Annie, Eva, 2008

Tribute to Annie by brother-in-law, Tim Tarangle

Annie entered my life when I was 3 years old. (that was the year Annie married my brother John). I’d like to say that I remember, but I can only repeat what I was told.

Apparently when John brought his bride home, after a few days I went to my mother and said “when is that lady going home?” In retrospect I sure am glad that she stayed.

On occasions such as this, one is expected to say only positive things, but even if I tried I could not say anything negative. All my memories of Annie are pleasant.

What a wonderful hostess, always ready with a home cooked meal, even with a moments notice. This was especially true on my monthly business visits to Vancouver when Nick and I would drop in for a good feed of perogies.

The latest pleasant memory was in September of last year when Steve, Dolly, Myrna and I dropped in to see Annie in Kelowna. We were delighted that she recognized us and we were able to share a few laughs.

We will miss Annie but, the pleasant memories will last forever.