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Jubelee 90 of Anton Rudkevich

by the family

Anton lyosifovich Rudkiewich was born on January 24, 1912 in Shereshovo, Byelorussia. In 1915, the family of 4 children and parents sought refuge from WWI by going to Novorossiysk. They traveled “chuck wagon” style and endured starvation and other calamities on the way. Once in Novorossiysk, life was good, but with the Russian revolution, they felt compelled to return to Shereshovo again, starving, but able to get back. Anna, Anton’s oldest sister, was able to barter her sewing skills for food items since all money was worthless in the flux of the times. Back in their hometown, they lived mainly on “flour soup” (a handful of four thrown into a pot of boiling water). Luckily, they escaped the typhoid that was running rampant throughout Shereshovo. After they reclaimed their land, the family planted tomato seeds that they had brought back from Novorossiysk and their neighbors laughed in derision. Some of the neighbors stole one of these strange vegetable that they had never seen before and, after a taste, wanted to grow them too. Thus, the Rudkiewich family introduced the tomato to their town!
After 1918 Brest-Litovsk treaty, their part of Byelorussia was given to Poland. Anton went to a Polish school and finished the 5* grade at which time his father asked the school to release him from further studies so he could help work in the family’s tannery and shearing coat factory. Anton taught himself how to read and write Russian at home. At 16, Anton applied to go to Argentina but did not have the required funds. On February 28, 1932, Anton married Olga Pavlovna Kalineiko. He following June 1933, Leonilla (Lillian) was born, hi 1937, Jon was born.
In 1938, Anton and family immigrated to Canada. They sold all of their belongings, but were held up in Warsaw, Poland where they were told they could not go to Canada until Anton’s varicose veins were treated and Olga required glasses. Only healthy married people were allowed into Canada at that time. They were permitted to live in the Jewish Ghetto at the Polish Immigration Department’s expense because the hotels in the Jewish section were the least expensive.
After 2 months, the Rudkiewich family was allowed to immigrate and they arrived in New Westminster, ВС on September 21, 1938. The family was greeted there by Olga’s sister and brother-in-law, Sam and Sonia Lewluch.
Anton and Olga worked very hard to raise $500 to buy 4 acres of stumps and brush which they cleared themselves. Anton worked in a logging camp where he had to bribe the foreman 25 cents a day in order to keep his job. During this time, Anton received the awful word that his 4 year old son Jon had fallen into a small well and drowned (March 2, 1941). After this tragedy, Anton went to work at the Mill, came home, slept perhaps 3 hours a night, and then went back to clearing away the stumps and burning huge piles everyday. Once the land was cleared, Anton and Olga planted strawberries, raspberries, their own vegetable garden and raised a cow, pigs, chickens, geese and ducks. It was a small farm, but it produced much food and it was a happy place.
Another tragedy struck the family in 1953, when Anastasia (Nancy- born February 9, 1943) was diagnosed with paralytic polio. Anisia (Anita) born February 3, 1946 was not affected, thank God. His entire family lived life as normally as possible. Nancy, because of the family’s love and support, was able to finish high school and graduate from UBC despite being in a wheel chair and UBC not being wheelchair accessible back then. The family left no stone unturned in order for Nancy to have as full a life as possible.
Anton and Olga worked hard al of their lives. Anton retired from Fraser Mills in 1977, after 37 years. On August 26, 1988, the family suffered the loss of Olga due to a heart attack
The entire Rudkiewich family always attended the Orthodox Church and sang in the choir. Before the new Holy Resurrection Church was built, Anton and Olga, Sam and Sonia Lewluch cleared the blackberry business and other brambles from the huge future site for the church- a difficult job- but our heroes did it! Olga used to prepare a lunch at the Church almost every Sunday- s well as any Sunday when others could not. Anton and Olga loved the church with all of their might and always helped out in any way they could.
In March 1999, Anton went into congestive heart failure. It has occurred twice more, but with good medical care and medication Anton is still with us- thank God. He still works in his garden, but he no longer plants “victory” garden on all of his available land.
Anton and the late Olga, have 8 grandchildren who have produced 9 great-grandchildren- with 2 more expected this year.
May God bless this amazing man always and let us have him with us a while longer so he may continue to share his smile and kindness with us. God grant Anton many years!!!

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