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Remembering Sylvia Fedoruk

20121012fedoruk-sylvia-404wThe Honourable Sylvia Olga Fedoruk (May 5, 1927– September 26, 2012)

Dr. Sylvia Olga Fedoruk, former Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, recipient of the Order of Canada, avid athlete, especially in curling, and an accomplished cancer research scientist passed away on Wednesday, September 26th at the age of 85. She was born in Canora, Saskatchewan to Ukrainian immigrants Annie (Romaniuk) and Theodore Fedoruk. Sylvia received her first nine years of education from her father, a rural teacher.

Sylvia received her Bachelor of Arts (1949), with Great Distinction, and Masters Degree (1951) from the University of Saskatchewan. She received five honorary degrees including those from the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan, nine scholarships between 1946 and 1952 and the outstanding gold medal university graduate in 1949. Two of the scholarships were from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Sylvia pursued a career of academics and research. She was a professor of Oncology at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine. She served on many boards including the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada, Society of Nuclear Medicine, the National Research Council plus many more. But she will be best remembered as the only woman on the research team responsible for developing the Cobalt Bomb cancer treatment unit in 1951.

In 1986 Sylvia was appointed the first female Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan and in 1988 she was appointed Saskatchewan’s first female Lieutenant Governor.

Over the years Sylvia received many awards including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal; Canada’s 125th Commemorative Medal, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Equally impressive with her academic achievements were those in the field of athletics. While a university student, she participated in basketball, volleyball, golf, softball, track and field, and curling. She was a champion curler and has been inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

Sylvia Fedoruk’s achievements are far greater than what is outlined above. Anyone wishing to learn more about this incredible woman should research her life and career on the Internet and other sources. By any measure she was an outstanding leader and exemplary role model for women.

Just recently Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, announced that the cancer research centre would be renamed in her honour.

In the presence of Metropolitan-Emeritus John, the prayers/panakhyda for the late Sylvia Fedoruk were led by Fr. Roman Kocur and supported by Fr. Alex Hupka, Fr. Taras Makowsky, Fr. Patrick Powalinsky and Fr. Taras Udod. The responses were sung by members of the Lastiwka Choir. The prayer service was held at the All Saints Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Saskatoon on Thursday, October 4th with the State Funeral on the following day at the Teachers Credit Union Centre. Interment was at Yorkton. Vichnaya Pamyat – May her memory be eternal.

Compiled by Tony Harras
Photo: the University of Saskatchewan

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