January 1, 1945 - September 15, 2021
Basil Kowalzuk, 76, United States Air Force Veteran, passed away Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Born on January 1, 1945, in Winzer, Germany to the late Klym and the late Domka Kowalczuk. Basil spent his childhood years between a Displaced Persons camp in Germany and then the Kowalczuk family was relocated to Tertre, Wallonia, a town in the province of Hainaut, Belgium, where Klym worked as a coal miner. Basil and his family were eventually allowed, along with over 400,000 other Displaced Persons, to emigrate to the United States. This was due in large part to the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, who persuaded the US Congress to modify the immigration laws to allow the immigration of Eastern European Displaced Persons. Personal historical documents confirm that the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee facilitated and financed the move for the Kowalczuks to the United States in 1956. Though originally relocated to Maryland to work on a dairy farm, the Kowalczuks where able to relocate to Chicago, IL., In June 1956 with the help of Katerina and Taras Omelazko who were able to find Klym a job at the railroad. (Yes, the farmer in Maryland is still looking for the Kowalczuks). They became part of the broader Ukrainian-American community there. The Kowalczuk family were longtime parishioners of St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago, IL, where Basil served as an altar boy. Basil completed 8 years of Ukrainian studies on Saturdays at St. Sophia’s Ukrainian school and once played the hunter in a Ukrainian version of Little Red Riding Hood. Basil was a long-time member of the ODUM Association of American Youth of Ukrainian Descent, Chicago, IL. He also enjoyed playing the accordion, singing, puzzles, reading, playing volleyball and soccer in Humboldt Park as a youth. Baseball, football, soccer and basketball and rooting for the Chicago teams were another favorite pastime. He was a longtime resident in Jefferson Park, Chicago, IL. after moving from the Humboldt Park area and had many friends and acquaintances at Babe’s on Milwaukee, and Twilight Lounge. Basil attended Von Humboldt Elementary School, Lane Tech High School, and received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics and also had 32 credit hours towards a Master degree in Econometrics at University of Illinois, Chicago, IL. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an Airborne Electronic Navigations Equipment Repairman and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant. Basil’s last position was a Senior Financial Operational Analyst at AB Dick Company, Niles, IL. He was previously employed by the Railroad Retirement Board as an economist, and Stewart-Warner Electronics as a senior lab technician. Caring brother of Stephanie Merkelo-Rococha, Maria (Jerry) Pringle, Kathy Kowalzuk Carnett, Peter (Paula) Kowalczuk Sr. Fond uncle to nieces and nephews: Laura Merkelo, Ludmilla Carnett (Joe) Lucheck, Lesia Merkelo (Shaun) Granucci, Jerry Carnett, Peter Kowalczuk JR., Elyse Kowalczuk (Matthew) Schleifer, and Nickolas (Kristin) Kowalczuk. Fond uncle to GREAT nieces and nephews: Samantha Lucheck (Tom) Lamppa, Marissa Lucheck (Joe) Talley, Leonard Lucheck, Holly Lucheck, Natasha Lucheck, Ilanna Lucheck, Sophia Granucci, Tyler Granucci, plus, GREAT grandnieces Juniper Talley, Maevelyn Talley and GREAT grandnephew, Devin Schleifer. Postscript: Basil (also known as Bill, Billie, and Bass) dropped the “c” in his last name and all of his legal documents from elementary school through today were spelled Kowalzuk. Memorial Visitation Wednesday, September 29, 2021; 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Muzyka and Son Funeral Home, 5776 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL with Panachyda (Wake Service) 7 p.m.; Interment private. In lieu of flowers, Donations can be made in Basil's name to: American Veterans (Am Vets): amvets.org ; Children’s Memorial Hospital www.luriechildrens.org/en/ways-to-help/Ways-to-Give ; Ukrainian American Relief Committee: www.uuarc.org ; Ukrainian National Museum, Chicago, IL: ukrainiannationalmuseum.org More information at MuzykaFuneralHome.com or 773-545-3800.
Basil Kowalzuk, 76, United States Air Force Veteran, passed away Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Born on January 1, 1945, in Winzer, Germany to the late Klym and the late Domka Kowalczuk. Basil spent his childhood years between a Displaced Persons... View Obituary & Service Information
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