(nee Kowal)

Phyllis Jean Maduke (nee Kowal) passed away peacefully on March 30, 2023, at River East Personal Care Home in Winnipeg, after a lengthy battle with dementia. Phyllis was born November 24, 1937, in the RM of Rossburn and grew up in the Oakburn area. She was the youngest of twelve children born to Dmytro and Wolianka Kowal (nee Krysowaty).

After her graduation from Oakburn school, Phyllis left home to attend Teachers’ College in Brandon to fulfill her dream of being a teacher. Her first teaching job was at Olha school where she spent two years. Phyllis next took a job in Timber school, near Roblin and taught for one year. By that time, Phyllis found love and married Ernie Maduke on June 25, 1960. Their next move was to Hilltop, which brought them to the Erickson area where they made their home and Phyllis spent the next 30 years teaching at Erickson Elementary School.

Phyllis’ love of teaching was an important part of her life. She tried to instill her compassion and kindness to the many students she taught over the years, especially to those facing unfortunate circumstances. There were many stories shared over the years about her experiences as a teacher. Some were quite funny while others were very sad, and it made Phyllis strive to help others in any way she could. She began her career in a one-room schoolhouse, and when she retired in 1997, she was just starting to learn the Internet and email. On the occasion of her retirement, Phyllis was gifted a Star Blanket from the residents of Rolling River First Nation and was so touched to receive this great honour.

Phyllis was predeceased by her parents; brothers Mike, Peter, Tony and Walter; sisters Shirley Tokaryk, Victoria Drozda, Lena Brown, Marion Isaacs and Stefie Belinski, two sisters who passed in infancy, as well as her extended family on the Maduke side. Phyllis experienced many sorrows in life but the greatest was the sudden death of her husband Ernie, who passed away in 1991 at the young age of 54. It was a loss that affected her deeply, yet she displayed much strength and resilience to her family.

Phyllis is lovingly remembered by her daughter Karen (David) Kawaler of Winnipeg; and son Dave (Terryl) Maduke of Sandy Lake. Baba will be greatly missed by her 5 grandchildren: Jordyn (Jerrett) Bicknell; Laryssa Kawaler, Kegan Maduke (Jamie), Andrew Kawaler and McKenzie Maduke, as well as her two great-grandchildren Thatcher and Yale Bicknell. Phyllis would have been so very proud of the fact that two of her granddaughters – Jordyn and Laryssa – have followed in her footsteps to become teachers. She truly was an inspiration!

Phyllis is also survived by sisters-in-law Anne Kowal, Jean Loik, Alice Derlago and Pat Maduke, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

Phyllis was a member of Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church and loved putting together the Easter baskets to take for blessing. Whenever there was a bake sale, she could always be counted on to provide an assortment of her homemade bakings.

In her retirement years, Phyllis dearly loved her babysitting duties and spending time with her grandkids. She kept herself busy pinching perogies, baking delicious dainties, preparing homemade noodles and other goodies as time allowed.

She enjoyed coffee-time with the ladies, bingo nights and gambling getaways with friends. She was fortunate to enjoy travel to Florida, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Las Vegas and all the trips out west.

Whenever Phyllis was at home working away, she always had her music playing whether it be her old-time polka music or her favourite - Charley Pride. She was lucky enough to even attend a few of his concerts. Before her stroke and subsequent diagnosis of dementia, Phyllis could always be depended upon to lend a helping hand and was someone you could count on to get the job done.

We will miss so many things about our dear Mom and loving Baba, but we know she is at peace now. Her battle with dementia may have changed her abilities and taken away her independence, but her spirit and tenacity still shone through, even at the end. As Uncle Walter told her one time: she was going to live for a very long time because God wouldn’t know what to do with her. We can only imagine that she is probably telling Him how things should be done. We are so thankful for the many great memories.

The family would like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to the staff at River East Personal Care Home where Phyllis resided since July 2017. She was treated most lovingly and with dignity by the many staff who came to know her. Your kindness will not be forgotten.

A funeral service will take place on Saturday, April 15 at 11:00 a.m. at Cropo Funeral Chapel, 1442 Main Street, in Winnipeg with Very Reverend Fr. Mark Gnutel officiating. Interment will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Erickson at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Love you Baba!


funeral service

11:00 am
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Cropo Funeral Chapel
1442 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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