Posted: March 15th, 2016


Mary Varzari

1927 – 2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother Mary Varzari. Mary will be deeply missed by her family and friends.

Mary married the love of her life, George, in 1949 and they were blessed to have over 66 years of happy married life. Together they had their son Glenn and daughter Cory. Mary was equally proud of and close to both of her children. But that did not complete their family. Mary welcomed Glenn’s wife Janice to their family as her second daughter. She dearly loved her granddaughters Jennifer (Nick Noronha) and Cara (Quintin Pike). It was a bonus for Mary to have the good fortune of welcoming her three great- grandchildren Kya, Omari and Reon into the family.

Mary was born June 2, 1927 in Djurow, Poland, the only child of Andrew and Sophie Oleksiuk. Andrew emigrated to Canada to start a new life for his family near Lethbridge. Mary was 10 years old when she and Sophie crossed the Atlantic by ship to join Andrew. Mother and daughter, neither of whom spoke English, arrived in Halifax and boarded a cross country train bound for Alberta. They disembarked in Winnipeg by mistake and were lost for some time, but being the resourceful women they were, figured out where they went wrong and eventually arrived in Lethbridge. Finally, the small family was reunited, but sadly Mary’s father passed away shortly after his family arrived. Mary and her mother had a very close and loving relationship. Mom and daughter lived together not just while Mary was growing up. Mary and George made their home Sophie’s home and she lived with them until her passing.

Although Mary attended school, learned English and the customs of her new country, and became a Canadian citizen, she remained intensely proud of her Ukrainian heritage. She spoke fluent Ukrainian and she continued throughout her life to stay connected with relatives and friends from her home village in the Old Country through letter writing, welcoming visitors into her home, and visiting the village. She learned well from her Mother the art of Ukrainian cooking. Mary’s cabbage rolls and perogies are famous and fought over.

Mary was passionate. Mary loved her family and friends with all her heart. Her famous family dinners were one of the ways she expressed her love. She would cook for days, and dinner was a banquet. She invited family, friends and neighbors. She was a gracious host and she would keep her guests in stitches with her witty story telling. Mary loved her home and took great pleasure in making it a place that was welcoming, comfortable and elegant. She excelled at gardening and worked tirelessly in her yard creating velvet grass and beautiful flowers. Mary lived for her time in Hawaii and she and George spent many happy winters there. Not surprisingly, they also held their amazing dinners for their Hawaii friends and visitors from home. Mary was an adventurous traveler: She, George and Cory enjoyed trips to many parts of Asia, Europe, Australia, Eastern Canada and Alaska. In her later years Mary continued her passion of spending time with her family and friends and telling her stories. As an adult Cory and Mary developed a very special bond. Cory was Mary’s close friend, help mate and partner in crime. Cory’s friend Larry became one of Mary’s supports and kept a close eye on Mary and George, for which the family is deeply grateful. Whether lunching with Cory and the girls, hanging out with George and visitors at the home and enjoying special family dinners, or having a nip with the girls at the condo, Mary had a great story to tell that was always funny and never short on poetic license.

A Celebration of Mary’s Life will be held on Tuesday, March 15 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Anton’s Room at Lethbridge Lodge (320 Scenic Drive South) with a short program at 3:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers a donation to YWCA Harbour House (604-8 Street South Lethbridge, T1J 2K1) is greatly appreciated.

Mary, we will always carry you in our hearts.

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2 Condolences for “VARZARI Mary”

  1. Ellen says:

    My heartfelt condolences go out to Mary’s family. I will surely miss the presence of a truly loveable, gracious and kind person. She will forever remain in my heart.

  2. Ted Anctil says:

    I am sorry to hear about you mom I know she will be missed, Ted and family

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