In memory of

"Tina" Valentina "Aunt Tina" Tarasuk

July 17, 1923 -  December 11, 2021

Valentina "Tina" Tarasuk passed away peacefully on the morning of December 11, 2021, at her home on the Scarborough Bluffs, ON. Born July 17, 1923 in Horodishche Ukraine to Dimitri and Anastasia Tarasuk, Tina was the second eldest of ten siblings. In August 1930, Tina and her family immigrated to St Walburg SK, Canada, where they established a farm. Tina's favourite childhood memories were of her adventures hunting and berry picking on the Prairies, with her brother, Mike.

Although she would never claim the moniker, Tina was a true feminist before her time. At 14 she started her retail career in the town of St. Walburg, while finishing her education via correspondence. In her early twenties, Tina moved to Toronto and continued to advance in her career of sales. In 1954, using the skill-set she gained as a sales clerk and with her own moxie, Tina started her own business,Tex-Style Store Limited (a custom drapery house) which she successfully ran for 47 years. With the profits from her store, she purchased her own retail building along with triplex rental units in the Toronto Beaches. Tina became a respected pillar of the local merchant community and Tex-Style was a beloved landmark in the Queen West area.

Tina often boasted that she had read every chapter of the Bible, which she would continue to reread daily throughout her life. (When she was unable to read it for herself, her caregivers would read passages to her as part of their morning routine). Tina's Christian faith remained vitally important to her; she believed in the literal interpretation of the Bible and earnestly attempted to practice her faith with the tenants of the Gospel in mind. Tina was an original and active parishioner of Bayview Glen Alliance Church, which became the main base for her friendship community. To "honour her parents" Tina also generously contributed to the establishment and maintenance of Missionary Alliance Churches in Canada, Poland and the Ukraine.

Tina was extremely proud of her Ukrainian roots and (when able) she tried to honour her heritage by perfecting family recipes and sharing the delicacies with her neighbours and work community. Fan favourites included, her cabbage rolls, her mother's borscht, and arguably the best perogies in Toronto.

Tina had a serious wanderlust and curiosity about the world around her. On her rare vacation time, Tina travelled the globe extensively, visiting six of the seven continents. The trips Tina planned for herself were adventurous and absolutely unique; In order to island-hop throughout the Caribbean, she sailed on an ocean cargo freighter; she hand-delivered apples, oranges and fabric material to the Inuit communities in the Arctic Circle; she followed Darwin's footsteps in the Galapagos Island where she photographed her favourite red puffer booby birds; and she even dined overlooking the Taj Mahal from her hotel room balcony in India. On her last big adventure, Tina's faith was reinvigorated when she travelled to the Holy Land with members of her church congregation. Tina recounted that this trip marked the highlight of all of her travels, because she was able to see first-hand, where her niece,
Jill Tarasuk-Steinmetz, offered much needed physiotherapy to the Palestinian community, and Tina was also able to proudly stand witness while her niece Brenda Tarasuk was baptized in the River Jordan.

Because of her independent spirit and solitary nature Tina never married, however she adored children and her family. Tina was the self appointed matriarch of her Canadian family, hosting Christmas reunions, along with countless wedding and baby showers. Tina became a benevolent Godmother to all of her neighbourhood children, organizing annual Easter egg hunts and tobogganing parties in her backyard.Of all that she accomplished, Tina said she was most proud of her parents, as she always sought inspiration from their values and hard work.

Tina was predeceased by her parents, Demetri and Anastasia Tarasuk, and her siblings, Michael, Mary Hoffman (Everett), Peter (Betty), Jean, Laura (Ted) Swanson. She is survived by her brothers Walter (Doris), John (Nancy), Art (Vera), and her sisters-in-law Vi and Tomi Tarasuk, along with a host of nieces and nephews, to the third generation.

A wholehearted thank you to all of Tina's caregivers, especially Helen Serneo and Vinah Garcia, who lovingly walked with her on her final journey. In her later life, Tina retreated to her inner thoughts, however, she almost always managed to offer a blessing to visitors when they departed, saying "Thank you for your goodness." On behalf of Tina, to her loyal customers, supportive neighbours, faithful family and loving caregivers, we say "Thank you for your goodness"!

Funeral Service and Internment to beheld at Pine Hills Cemetery & Funeral Centre, 625 Birchmount Road, Toronto, ON, Saturday, January 22, 2022. There will be a quiet prayer hour starting starting at 10AM; the Funeral Service will start at 11AM, followed by the Interment at 12 noon. The Funeral Service will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend in person.

To honour Tina Tarasuk donations can be made in her name to Bayview Glen Alliance Church (300 Steeles Avenue East, Thornhill, ON, L3T-1A7) and or Carr Street Gospel Church; Russian Ukrainian Baptist Church (24 Carr Street, Toronto, ON, M5T-1B5)


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Pastor Arnold Reimer (Tina's Pastor & Friend)

Entered January 18, 2022 from Bayview Glen Church

It was my privilege to serve as the Pastor of Tina Tarasuk for over 20 years. Tina was a quiet, faithful servant of the Lord. She virtually supported the building of a church in Poland in the area where her parents once lived. Almost no one knew what she had done. Besides that she gave the curtains that hung in the sanctuary and foyer of Bayview Glen Church. She wanted no recognition, just the privilege of serving her Lord. Her humble awareness of need, and willingness to serve, is a remarkable trait of Christian piety. Her love for her Lord was demonstrated in her works and in her love of family. Our similar roots helped to make us, and some of her family, friends. (Not everyone is privileged to have lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan!) Tina is with her Lord, freed of the discomfort and pain of her latter years. Those who know Jesus as Saviour and Lord also know that to live is to please Christ and to die is gain.Our sorrow is mitigated by the thought that she is in the arms of Jesus, and all is well.

Pastor Arnold Reimer, Bayview Glen Church

Walter Tarasuk (Tina's Brother)

Entered January 18, 2022 from Cavan Ontario

This tribute was given to Aunt Tina by Uncle Walter on the occasion of her 80th Birthday

Tina, congratulations on making 80! I am sure all of us here would like to be guaranteed 80 years. Well, perhaps not everyone. Mary here has seen 80, years ago. I think she plans to go on forever and we hope you plan too also. Tina, I can’t help but smile today, you know why? “Because you are my sister.” Sometimes, I can’t help laughing, I’ll tell you why. “It’s because you can’t do anything about it.”All kidding aside, 80 years is quite an accomplishment and you have done it pretty much on your own. You have had a good measure of success in your life and you have done it on own. I am sure all of us here have enjoyed elements of success, but we were not alone, we had our families, wives, husbands and our children to help us along. You had no such support. I have given this a bit of thought and came to the conclusion there are certain characteristics (virtues) that you possess--- three of which stand out above all others that propelled you along:
They are: Independent Spirit, Generosity of Heart, & Self Respect

Independent Spirit
There is a song someone wrote--- I believe it was Frank Sinatra, It's title is, “My Way,” I don’t recall the lyrics, but I do remember that they convey a strong strength of character, independence, standing tall in the face of adversity. In other words, “I did it my way” and having done it your way, you enjoyed success and, I am sure, a great deal of inner pleasure.

Generosity of Heart
I am sure there are those here, and others, who not here, who can attest to your generosity. In exercising this generosity, you expected in return, integrity and prudence from the recipient. I believe these characteristics form the foundation of your personal life.

Self Respect
You had a successful career, but this success was not achieved at the expense of your personal life. Now that you have turned 80, I know I speak for everyone here when I say that we hope you will continue making borsch and vareniki, and also continue to enjoy your beautiful surroundings and, most important of all, take care of yourself.

Enjoy your birthday celebration today, knowing that you are loved very much.

Jerry and Carol (Susie) Sanderson (Niece and Nephew in law.)

Entered January 20, 2022 from Washington State, USA

Our love and heartfelt condolences to our extended family and friends.

Carol- Susie Sanderson (Niece)

Entered January 20, 2022 from Lynden, WA

Tina held fast and firm to her faith and convictions. The older I get the more I appreciate who she was and what she stood for. In the 8-10 times that we briefly connected she was a inspiring force. Rest peacefully in God's hands Aunt Tina.

Tomi Tarasuk (Sister-in-law)

Entered January 22, 2022 from Scarborough

Tina and I were neighbours for 45+ years. Despite Robert Frost’s admonition about ‘fences’ making good neighbours, we didn’t have one. Throughout the years, we shared many events—-the raising of PJ and the hosting of his annual birthday parties, school picnics, Easter egg hunts.
Our common yards hosted many family events, including engagement showers for 5 nieces—- and even 4 weddings.
I will remain forever grateful for the many mornings that she ferried PJ and several other little neighbours to school in her Buick boat (before seat belts). And, with rueful amusement, I will always recall her distribution of packages of kilbasa and rye bread at Halloween to her favourite ‘trick or treaters.’ I will also remember Tina for her dogged dedication to tradition and routine —the annual 7 am trecks to the strawberry patch (before we each went to work) —-the forays to ‘pick-your-own’ cherry and peach farms—-her commitment to schedule (cleaning/shopping/hairdresser on Thursdays—-her day-off from the store).

For you who share Aunt Tina’s DNA, I encourage you to nurture those qualities/virtues which you perhaps received from your common helix—-the ones that contributed to her success: Independence, self-reliance, generosity. Aunt Tina—-possessed an unwavering confidence in her faith and family.
Your very existence, of course, is due to the sacrifices and perseverance of your Tarasuk grandparents. To borrow from Jewish tradition: MAY YOUR MEMORIES OF THEM AND YOUR AUNT TINA CONTINUE TO BE A BLESSING TO YOU!

Life Stories 

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Walter Tarasuk (Brother)

Entered January 20, 2022 from Cavan, Ontario

Tina's brother Walter wrote this limerick for Tina’s 90th Birthday.


In nineteen hundred and twenty-three,
In a country far across the sea;
One bright and sunny summer morn,
To Demitri and Anastasia a child was born.

The date of her birthday is somewhat obscure,
What month of the year no one can be sure;
Was it in May or was it July,
Both months are recorded makes one wonder why.

A name she needs, what will it be
It was their second girl you see;
Malluska, Palashka, Zina, Katarina,
They chose one less common, the name Valentina

Her childhood spent in Horodezy Sillo,
As a youngster they say she’s quite a shillo’;
With four kids around her, mother needed some peace,
So she'd send Valentina to pasture the geese.

Immigrating to Canada was not a small feat,
A new country, no money and Kunka to greet;
Sea sickness, diarrhea all got sick on the cruise,
And oh the clean-up of one lady shoes.

Travelling across Canada to St. Walburg by track,
Eight days on the train with all the family could hack;
Getting food for the brood was really no fun,
Dad recalled at one stop, caught the train on the run.

Soon to school she would go, a new language to learn,
Her teacher Miss Melville was just a bit stern;
She soon learned the three R's, each test she would pass,
Before you would know it, she was the head of the class.

At home she did chores, both inside and out,
At cow milking, she was tops, on that there's no doubt;
We all picked our cow favourites, Tverduha was not,
So which cow do you think, Tina always got?

In summer she picked berries, dug seneca root,
Picked stones in the fields which sure was no hoot;
She helped weed the garden, dug potatoes in fall,
In all these home chores, she outdid us all.

Depression hit hard in the thirties you know,
Railroad ties were in need so in winter she’d go;
To help cut down pine, but then even more,
She would take on the job of school janitor.

There was no running water, in those days long ago,
So with bucket in hand, to the well she would go;
Jim, our horse, would be there wanting some water,
On being denied, on the shoulder he bit her.

To St Walburg she’d go to finish her schooling,
Studies she found not a big gruelling;
Segel’s warehouse is where a room they got her,
Where she learned amongst other, how chickens to kosher.

It was clear from a young age, her mind was on sale,
Segel’s store, where she learn the art of retail;
The books how to keep and how to account,
To mark goods up high, then sell at discount.

From Segel’s to Marshall’s to a store on Queen Street,
She'd soon rival tycoon's on Bay, Wall and on Fleet;
Forcing store closure, was a part of her game,
Then taking it over with a slight change of name.

To say not of her love life, I would be remiss,
Tis true she's no husband, on one she did miss;
On matters of the heart, she kept deep inside,
Was always a bridesmaid and never a bride.

Suitors kept calling, all three score and three,
Nick and Tom Lenko, Bazuk, Reshevie;
And there was Sam Dirkson who sure had a crush,
But for one reason or other, she gave him the brush.

From Spruce Lake came Seabrook, one never to be heard,
The reason for that, he spoke not a word;
He'd just sit on the couch with love in his eyes,
Tina's love in return, she could hardly disguise.

He came one day calling, just to go for a ride,
To his grief, he would find us, the kids, piled inside;
The day it was Sunday and he sure had us beat,
He drove us to church with some in bare feet.

Good fortune allowed her to travel the world over,
from the East to the West and even down under;
She garnered great memories wherever she'd roam,
Scarborough Bluffs is still the greatest, for that is her home.

Tina's generosity helped those in great need,
the cousins from Rovno, despite apparent greed;
A loan for my first car and it sure could be said,
That car I did need, like a hole in the head.

In buying a house, a business or car,
Tina’s financing arrangements are better by far;
On ratings of credit, she never picked bones,
She's even been known to forgive certain loans.

At four score and ten, Tina's quite well preserved,
It must be the borscht she so generously served;
Or was it the kielbassa or her great Goloptsi,
But, if you should ask me, it's her great Seledtsi.

Her years of retirement are marked with events,
One comes to mind that made little sense;
This one day, there came a call from a cop,
Your sister has driven into a bake shop.

All kidding aside, we’re all pleased to be here,
To celebrate your ninetieth birthday and make it quite clear;
You're cherished as a sister, an aunt and a friend,
Much love from your kinfolk, on this note I’ll end.

With love from your brother Walter


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