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Sophie 'Sonia' Hlywa

sonia hlywa

February 12, 1924 ~ January 13, 2020 (age 95)

AUSTINTOWN - Sophie "Sonia" Hlywa, 95, peacefully entered into eternal life Monday morning, Jan. 13, 2020, surrounded by her family.

Sonia was born Feb. 12, 1924, in Ukraine, the daughter of Jan and Maria Sokolowski, and was always proud that Abraham Lincoln shared her birthday.   

During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine during World War II, at the age of 16, she was taken to Germany to perform forced labor. After the war, she and husband, Dan, immigrated to the United States. After arriving, they lived in New York and New Jersey, and later moved west, settling in the Mahoning Valley for life. In 1954, she became a proud citizen of the United States.

Sonia was a devoted parishioner of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Youngstown, and later of St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church in Austintown. She was very involved in various church activities, including bingo, the Easter banquet, and maintaining the pastoral and altar vestments. She was also active in various Ukrainian organizations.

An avid golfer, she belonged to two golf leagues at one time, but quit the senior league she played in at the age of 70 because she said they were “too old” and “played too slow.” At age 64, she recorded a hole-in-one at Pine Lakes Golf Course, an event she frequently reminded her son, Terry, of since he never had one.

Sonia loved her family and enjoyed her homemaker “career.”  She enjoyed cooking Ukrainian food for her family and friends, and made sure everyone enjoyed it as well, till they could eat no more. She enjoyed her daily walks, routinely walking up to three miles a day, especially between her 60s and 80s.

While proud of her family, church, and Ukrainian heritage, she relished and embraced her American citizenship and the opportunity that the United States gave her and her family, and she was not afraid to show it. While shopping at the Southern Park Mall, she approached a young man who had an American flag sewn on the back of his jeans, and tapping him on his shoulder said, “What’s wrong with you, you don't wear the American flag on your ass!” She routinely approached store managers and inquired, “Where are the clothes that are made in the United States? Everything here is made in China!”

Sonia’s family and friends will miss her terribly, and will forever remember her as a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. When asked to describe her and who she was, they would simply say, “well, she was....‘SONIA’,” and everyone would know what was meant.

Sonia leaves to cherish her memory her two sons, Terry of Youngstown and Russ (Michele) of Winchester Va.; her granddaughter, Lauren (Brad) of Brookfield; her great-grandson, Eli; and her step-grandson, Travis of Arizona.

Her husband, Dan Hlywa, whom she married in 1945, passed away March 12, 2015.

Family and friends will keep her memory alive in their hearts forever, and may call on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Kinnick Funeral Home, 477 North Meridian Rd., Youngstown, where a prayer service will take place at 6 p.m.

Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 17, at St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church, at the northeast corner of Kirk and Raccoon Roads in Austintown.

Private committal will take place at Resurrection Cemetery in Austintown.

Sonia’s family thanks the staff of Hospice of the Valley for the kindness shown and care given to her during her final days. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St., Youngstown, OH 44512.

May her memory be eternal! Vichnaya Pamyat, Sonia!




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