William (Bill) Stefiuk

Title

William (Bill) Stefiuk

Description

A biography of ULFTA/AUUC Pioneer William Stefiuk, whose work was integral to the creation of many of the organization's branches.

Type

Text

Rights

Reproduction may be restricted. Contact AUUC.

Coverage

Vancouver, BC

Language

English

Birth Date

November 11, 1894

Birthplace

Oleshkiv, Ukraine

Death Date

August 14, 1970

Biographical Text

William Stefiuk, known as Bill, was born on November 11th, 1894 in the village of Oleshkiv, Stanislavskiy Rayon, Ivano Frankivskaya Oblast in Ukraine. He came to Canada in 1911 to Montreal, Quebec. He worked on the railroads in Quebec until 1914 then moved to Edmonton, Alberta where he worked on the railroad being built from Edmonton to Prince George, BC.

During the First World War many of the men who came from parts of Western Ukraine were considered Austro-Hungarians and were therefore the enemy. Bill was arrested and sent to a concentration camp in Vernon, BC. After spending three years at the camp in Vernon he was transferred to a camp in Kapuskasing, Ontario where he spent another year. In December of 1919, Bill was released from the camp and made his way to Vancouver, BC.

During 1920 he worked in the forests of BC then in 1921 moved to Edmonton where he began to develop his artistic talent and began actively participating in the activities of the organization. When working for the organization he never asked for full payment but only what the organization could afford and even returned a portion of his payment to the organization. He both physically and financially helped build the Ukrainian Labour Temples in Regina (1928) and Lethbridge (1933). Bill used his artistic talents in painting backdrops, side scenes, and various portraits in the various labour temples across Western Canada. His scenery can still be seen at the Ukrainian Hall in Vancouver. To the end of his life Bill's love of the brush never waned and he continued to paint.

This Canadian Pioneer was a longtime member of the ULFTA/AUUC and WBA. He subscribed to the Life and Word newspaper and the Ukrainian Canadian Herald. He was a bachelor who considered the organization to be his family. Bill loved to work with youth and taught Ukrainian language school in Edmonton for many years. Of his fifty-nine years in Canada, he spent fifty-five in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

In 1965 Bill fell ill. From that time Bill lived under his doctor's care, sometimes at home and more often in the hospital. Bill never recovered from his illness and on August 14th, 1970, at the age of 75, he died in St. Joseph's Hospital in Edmonton. One has only to step into one of the many Western Canadian Ukrainian Labour Temples that Bill worked on to be reminded of his artistry and the legacy he left us.

Citation

“William (Bill) Stefiuk,” Association of United Ukrainian Canadians - Vancouver, accessed April 18, 2021, https://auucvancouver.digitalhistoryhub.com/items/show/199.