Sonia V. Morris Obituary

sonia morris

Language Lanterns Co-Founder
and Editor

With profound sadness the family announces the passing of Sonia Violet Morris (nee Stratychuk), 73, in Burnaby, BC, on Thursday, April 5, 2007.

She is survived by her loving husband Barry; son Paul Cipywnyk (Yumi Kosaka), Burnaby; daughter Raissa (Bill) Choi, and grandchildren Raya & Benjamin, Los Angeles. She leaves sister Roma (Stefan) Franko, and nephews Roman and Ivan, and their wives and children, all in Toronto. She was predeceased by her father Roman (1986) and mother Sonia (2001).

A community leader, teacher, promoter of multiculturalism, and supporter of educational and charitable causes, she will be remembered for her legacy of love, acceptance, nurturing and understanding. Her calm, caring approach to life, and her conviction that all people deserved respect and the freedom to achieve whatever they desired, inspired everyone she touched. From a pioneer childhood in a small town to a path-breaking career in education, she never forgot her Ukrainian roots, and after retiring, devoted her days to working on translations of Ukrainian literature into English.

Born Nov. 23, 1933, in Windsor, ON, Sonia completed primary education and high school in Canora, SK, where she was the Canadian Legion Gold Medalist in 1951. Based on her educational record, she was selected for a Weston Tour of Great Britain in 1951. Qualifying for several scholarships, Sonia received a Bachelor of Arts with Great Distinction (1957) from McGill University, a Bachelor of Education with Great Distinction (1960) from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Education (1968) from the U. of S., and a Master of Philosophy (1976) from Columbia University, New York.

Beginning her career as a social worker in the late 50s, Sonia subsequently taught at the elementary and high school levels for the Saskatoon Public School Board from 1958 – 63. She then joined the College of Education at the U. of S. where she taught for 32 years, including roles as Head of the Department of Educational Psychology, Acting Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and Acting Head of the Department of Communications, Continuing and Vocational Education, capping her career with four years as Assistant Dean, Student Affairs. She edited several academic books, supervised or was a committee member for dozens of theses, published papers in proceedings of numerous conferences, gave many invited lectures, and wrote or collaborated on dozens of reports.

Inspired by her hard-working, community focused parents, Sonia’s passion was promoting the Ukrainian language and culture within an overarching goal of fostering multiculturalism and battling racism in Canada and around the world. She was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Teachers of Ukrainian where she contributed from 1968 – 2001, and an original member of the Ukrainian Curriculum Committee of the Saskatchewan Department of Education, on which she sat from 1968 – 79. Together with her sister Roma, she developed Ukrainian correspondence and audio-visual programs used by the Saskatchewan Department of Education. Sonia was Vice-Chair of both the Federal Minister’s Advisory Committee on Minority Languages from 1978 – 80, and the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Heritage Languages from 1981 – 85. Sonia was Vice-Chair and Chair of the Saskatchewan Multicultural Advisory Council, and founder and President of the Saskatchewan Association for Multicultural Education. Sonia devoted eight years to the Canadian Council for Multicultural and Intercultural Education, including four years as President. Other contributions included terms on the Saskatchewan Council of Cultural Organizations, and the Minster’s Advisory Committee on Multicultural Legislation.

Sonia loved music and art, and many will remember her fine soprano voice and emotive piano playing. She chaired sub-committees of the Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Fine Arts in Education from 1975 – 80, and was Vice-Chair and Chair of the Saskatchewan Arts Board from 1998 – 2001.

Sonia spent many volunteer hours with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, and helped establish the parish of All Saints in Saskatoon. She was a leader in promoting educational exchange programs between the U. of S. and the Province of Saskatchewan, and the former Ukrainian S.S.R. She was overjoyed to see Ukraine gain its freedom, and helped arrange several pedagogical exchanges with Ukrainian universities.

Sonia received many awards, including the 2001 Saskatchewan Volunteer Award for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

Above all, she was a supportive wife to her devoted husband Barry, caring mother, and adoring grandmother. She enjoyed life to the fullest, and fulfilled her personal motto to help others be happy by allowing them to be free to make their own choices and decisions. Memory eternal.

At Sonia’s request, there will be no public service. Memorial donations can be made to the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko, 202 – 952 Main St., Winnipeg, MB, R2W 3P4; the Canadian Cancer Society, Attention: Stephani Agg, CFRE, 565 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 4J4; or Amnesty International, 312 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON, K1N 1H9


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