Obituary of SOPHIE JULIA GALKA
SOPHIE JULIA GALKA
November 14, 1926 – December 29, 2023
Sophie Julia Galka went to her Eternal Rest on Friday, December 29, 2023 at the age of 97 at the Beausejour hospital, having been admitted there two days earlier. Sophie was born on November 14, 1926 at home on a farm in Walkleyburg MB, the seventh of nine children.
Sophie was predeceased by her parents Joseph (1949) and Rozalia (nee Mroczek) (1984); siblings John (1979), Stanley (1992), Charlie (2015), Amelia Schieberl (1988), Mary Lotecki (2013), Mary’s twin Walter (died in infancy), and Walter (2014); and nephews David Galka and Theodore Lotecki. She is survived by her brother Edward, and nieces and nephews Ken, Marilyn, Linda, Bonnie, Irene, Carol, Louise, Joseph, Tom, Rosemarie, Theresa, Edward, Victoria, Jackie, Robert, Brian, Mark as well as spouses, great nieces and nephews. With the help of Sophie, Joanna Jakubiszyn came from Poland to be part of the family.
Sophie was baptized at St. Michael’s Church in Cook’s Creek, MB in February 1927. Her health was precarious so her parents bundled her up and took her by horse and sled to have her baptized. Her health improved, and so started a life built on faith for Sophie.
Sophie grew up on the family farm in Walkleyburg, attending Bright Star School until grade 8. She then had to take the bus to Happy Thought School in Selkirk for high school. She would first walk 2 ½ miles to catch the bus. For the final year of high school she moved to Winnipeg. She stayed with her sister Amelia and family while attending St. John’s High School. Sophie then continued her studies at Central Normal School, a teacher training institution in Winnipeg. One of her former classmates was Msgr Stan Jaworski, Winnipeg, the last surviving classmate also at 97 years.
While most females at that time had to choose between marriage and children or a career, Sophie chose to pursue a career in teaching. She pursued university courses in the University of Manitoba, living with her younger brother Edward and his family in Winnipeg. She earned both a BA degree and an MA degree in English. Sophie’s Thesis for her Masters in 1971 at the U of M was “A Study of the Reactions of the 9th Grade Students to the Humorous Situations in Literature”. Devoted to teaching, Sophie declined the opportunity to become a principal.
Sophie began her teaching career at Brokenhead School #472 (1945-46) followed by Mayfield School #1473 (1947-1950) in Manitoba. Eventually, she was able to get a teaching position at Bright Star School #2024 (1950-1966) in Walkleyburg, a one room school house teaching Grades 1-8. She loved teaching and her students were good learners and they did well. The family farm house was across the road and down a long driveway where she continued to live with her mother, as her father had died in 1948. She taught there for 16 years.
Sophie’s brother Stan and wife, Mary, and their two children, Marilyn and Ken, lived at the farm for a few years. Marilyn really wanted to go to school with Aunt Sophie so when she was about 6 yrs she started school at Bright Star. Marilyn had a bit of an adjustment calling her ‘Miss Galka’ and not jumping up on her knee when she felt like it! Marilyn remembers that ‘Miss Galka’ made hot soup for the children at lunch time during the winter. She also remembers ‘Miss Galka’ bringing out the Sears catalogue before Christmas and letting the children pick out a gift that she would buy for each of them as a Christmas present!
Times were changing in education for the rural areas. Country schools were being closed and students bused to larger centres. With her university studies in hand, Sophie moved on to teach at the Beausejour Collegiate Institute in 1966, teaching English language and literature. This entailed a family move of her mother and herself to a house in Garson which sister Mary and husband Paul had recently moved to their property. This was ideal as they lived next door. And as Sophie did not drive, she managed to become part of a car pool of teachers who would stop in Garson to pick her up. She retired from Ecole Edward Schreyer School in 1991. While continuing to teach, Sophie cared for her mother who died at home at age 98. Sophie continued living in Garson until her death.
Sophie enjoyed travelling, having visited family in Canada, US and Belgium. She made an around the world tour and remembered most fondly the visits to Thailand and India. After reading about the alleged apparitions of Our Blessed Mother in Medjugorje, Sophie decided to make a pilgrimage there. She returned there several times, taking people with her on several occasions to share the experience with them.
Sophie was also a generous donor to charitable organizations that helped feed and care for the poor. She fostered a number of children and even grandmothers in several countries. Their photos and updates from them would be posted on her fridge. Sophie sponsored Simon Agboso to attend the Seminary in Ghana. He eventually ministered in London, ON, New York, Boston, three parishes in NL before coming to Northern BC. Fr. Simon retired from BC in 2012. He visited Sophie and her mother on several occasions and they continued to correspond for years.
Christ was the centre of Sophie’s life. She led the Rosary before Mass for years and attended daily Mass until near the end of her life. The last few months were the most difficult and she needed some help to get there. We give thanks to those who made this possible by driving her to church. The last Mass she attended at Sacred Heart was on December 3, 2023.
The last months of Sophie’s life were difficult but she carried her cross and maintained her peace, humour, and significantly her intelligence throughout. Thank you to all who helped her during this time when she needed us.
Prayers will be held at Cropo Funeral Chapel (1442 Main St) Friday, January 5, 2024 at 7:00 pm, led by Msgr Comeault. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday January 6, 2024 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Garson (19 Pine Ave.) with Fr. Sylvanus Omali officiating. Rosary at 9:25 am, eulogy at 9:45 am, Mass at 10:00 am followed by a reception at Garson Community Centre. Internment will take place at Brookside Cemetery in Walkleyburg following the reception.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You. St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us, St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.
“Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7)
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