Early Monday morning, on 15 September 1997, Lily (Hryhirchuk) Zuzak passed away at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Vernon, B.C. after a long illness and battle with cancer.
Lily was born 12 December 1938 in Edmonton, Alta. Her parents , Marshall and Rose Hryhirchuk, moved to Chilliwack, B.C. in 1947. Lily had exceptional talent for music -- singing and playing the violin. As a four year old girl, she appeared on radio to sing Al Jolson songs. In Chilliwack, she further developed her coloratura soprano voice and consistently won prizes at music festivals.
In 1957, Lily moved to Vancouver where she worked at various jobs at the same time as she was taking singing lessons and playing roles in musical productions such as Wizard of Oz at the Theatre under the Stars and Pirates of Penzance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. As a result of being chosen the most promising future performer in "Singing Stars of Tomorrow" on CBC radio, she received a Sir Ernest McMillan Scholarship to study in Toronto.
In 1961, she launched her professional career in Toronto using the stage name, Loro Farell. She sang opera and other classical and popular arias on television and in theatres. In between her musical appearances, she worked as an editor for McGraw-Hill and other publishing companies.
Her leading roles amongst many productions include "Lili" at Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg and "Jacques Brelle is Alive and Well and Living in Paris", Boston. She participated in Canadian Opera Tours, criss-crossing the continent from Alaska to Halifax. She often appeared on CBC television and radio shows and performed with many of North America's leading entertainment groups.
In 1967, Lily married George Raymond, but the marriage failed and they eventually divorced.
In 1970, physically and emotionally drained, Lily returned to the Vancouver-Chilliwack area. Since surviving on music alone is difficult, she worked as a reporter for the Chilliwack Progress amongst other jobs.
On 2 October 1976, she met physicist, Will Zuzak, at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Chilliwack. (On Orthodox Easter 1997, they had the opportunity to visit this church and to talk to Reverend Sasevich and the parishioners who remembered them from the old days.) Lily and Will were married on July 8, 1978 and started their life together in Grande Prairie, Alberta in the construction industry with his brother Maurice Zuzak. From 1981 to 1984, Will taught mathematics and physics at colleges in Grande Prairie, Kamloops and Vernon, while Lily occupied herself with work, physics and chemistry courses, playing in Symphony Orchestras and doing volunteer work for the SPCA.
In 1984, Lily and Will moved to Montreal, where Will worked as a physicist in Canada's national fusion program. They became members of St. Sophie's Ukrainian Orthodox church and sang in the choir. Lily served many years as secretary for the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Montreal. She also was a secretary for CHIP (Communications Hearing Impaired Persons).
During this time, there was a serious attack on Ukrainians associated with the John Demjanjuk affair and the Deschenes Commission. Lily became head of the Charitable Committee in Aid of John Demjanjuk's Family, Montreal Branch. She gathered thousands of pages of documents, wrote letters to newspapers defending Mr. Demjanjuk, organized fundraising meetings for the Demjanjuk defense team, attended court processes in the United States. Finally, on 22 September 1993, John Demjanjuk was set free.
On Nov. 28, 1991, Lily was diagnosed with cancer on her neck (squamous cell carcinoma from an unknown primary). Although the cancer appeared to be arrested for several years, the state of her health started to fail, such that on Oct. 4, 1996, Lily and Will left Montreal and returned to Vernon, B.C. to live with her parents. The love of her mother and father postponed death for a year, but when she broke her hip, her body was too weak to withstand the operation. Her long ordeal with pain ended at 00:55 hrs, September 15, 1997.
Will Zuzak; 1997-09-16; c:\qawin\zuzak\Lily2Hry.qw