Ilia Shevchuk, 99, of Jersey City passed away on Thursday, March 31, 2022. He was born in
Lishchantsi, Ukraine on August 10, 1922, the youngest of 8 children. Ilia recalled his family was
not wealthy, yet always eager to help improve life for their fellow villagers. His family was
patriotic, resisting all enemies of Ukraine.
During WWII under the Bolshevik regime, Ilia studied briefly at the Zoo-Technical Institute in a
nearby village. He often told of the time the Bolsheviks detained him at school, interrogating him
about the killing of Russian agent in his home village. It seemed to Ilia that they wanted to
intimidate him into betraying his family and neighbors; he did not give them the satisfaction. In
1944, the Bolsheviks took over a nearby town and Ilia’s family suffered greatly. His father died,
one brother had to hide from the Bolsheviks, and Ilia and his oldest brother were threatened and
harassed. Ilia’s mother was exiled to Siberia and Ilia would have been sent with her, had it not
been for his brother. To the end, Ilia remained deeply grateful to his mother for her suffering in
exile on behalf of her entire family and of him specifically.
As the war came to an end, the brothers and other family members escaped to a Displaced
Persons camp at Landeck, Austria. During these years, Ukrainians at Landeck organized
churches, youth organizations, schools, celebrations of Ukrainian holidays, preserving their faith
and traditions despite being displaced. Ilia was a founding member of a young men’s Ukrainian
scouting (“Plast”) troop at the camp. They organized hikes into the Alps, local camping trips and
From 1947 to 1949, Ilia attended a Polish technical school in Schramberg, Germany. Graduation
offered a few months of gainful employment, after which he followed his two older brothers to
New York, on the ship General Stewart, in December 1949.
Ilia married Maria Konyk on October 31, 1959 at St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in New
York City. After living briefly in Manhattan, they moved to downtown Jersey City, where they
raised four children: Walter, Ihor, Nadia and Roman. Maria, his children, and his wider family
were all most precious to Ilia. He prayed daily for God’s blessings on everyone, he worried about
everyone, at the drop of a hat he was always ready to help where he was needed. Ilia’s
contributions to Ukrainian life in his adopted homeland were unceasing: leadership of youth
scouting “Plast”; management roles at the Ukrainian National Home, the Ukrainian Catholic
Church of St. Peter and Paul, the Ukrainian Federal Credit Union, and the Providence
Association. His could skillfully prepare varenyky, perform plumbing repairs when needed, sit
patiently at typically long-winded meetings of Ukrainians, and chauffeur youth to dances, camps
and hikes. In the 1990s, Ilia organized contributions from Ukrainians in Jersey City for the
benefit of Ukraine. He served as translator for the international organization Rotary, assisting
families with children from Ukraine coming to America for medical treatments. Ilia contributed
towards the betterment of all around him, wherever he could, and never declined God’s calling.
Ilia was predeceased by his wife Maria. He is survived by his son Walter and his wife Sophia,
with their children Ariana and Adrian; his son Ihor; his daughter Nadia with her husband Oleh
Maczaj, and their children Danylo and his wife Larissa, Paul and Julianna; his son Roman, with
his son David; as well as family in Ukraine, the US, Canada and abroad.
Visitation is on Friday, April 8, 2022 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Riotto Funeral Home &
Cremation Company, Jersey City, NJ 07306 (For GPS navigation it is best to use the parking lot
entrance address: 14 Stagg St., Jersey City). Panakhyda Service will begin at 4:00 PM during
visitation. Funeral Mass will follow at 6:00 PM at SS Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church,
549 Bergen Ave., Jersey City. Internment will take place 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at Holy
Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Campbell Hall, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations can be
made in Ilia's name to: SS Peter & Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, 30 Bentley Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07304 or to the Ukrainian National Home, 90-96 Fleet St., Jersey City, NJ 07306.
To send flowers to Ilia's family, please visit our floral store.