We Remember

LITWINOW, Victor Ivanavitch

December 24, 1921 — February 8, 2023

Victor Ivanavitch Litwinow passed away peacefully on February 8, 2023 at the impressive age of 101 years.  He was predeceased by Lydia (née Tierchow) his first wife of 43 years and survived by their 5 children: Walter (Eunice), Nettie (Don), David (Colleen), Bill (Karen), and Peter (Melody); 11 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.  He was also predeceased by Nina, his second wife of 25 years, and is survived by his 5 step-children Valentina, Olga (Herb) Winstanley, Victor (Lynn) Klemionek, Larry Klemionek, and Walter Klemionek, and numerous step grand and great-grandchildren.

Victor was born into a life of hardship in the village of Seinga, in the Siberian part of the former Soviet Union, on December 24, 1921.  In his remarkable and nearly unbelievable life, he survived: a childhood of wretched poverty, life under totalitarian rule, the Communist Revolution, conscription into the Red Army during World War 2, multiple extended imprisonments in P.O.W. camps, the Allied bombing campaigns in Western Europe, court-martial by the Soviet Army and finally tuberculosis and the loss of his left lung due to coal dust exposure, all to finally be able to realize the dream of a better life for him and his family in Canada.

Victor, his wife Lydia, and their two eldest children, Walter and Nettie, immigrated to Canada in 1956 by way of steamer ship across the Atlantic and made port in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Thousands of kilometers of travel by train and vehicle eventually brought them to the Tierchow farm, 4 miles north of the western prairie town of Biggar, Saskatchewan.  A life that had known only hardship well prepared Victor for his new experience on the prairies.  In Biggar, he was able to thrive based on his depth of knowledge that hard work is not something to shy away from, but rather a means to achieve safety and security for his family.  It wasn’t long before Victor had earned his Canadian citizenship, and enough money to purchase a ¼ section and start the family farm that continues in his name to this day.  Over 30 years, Victor along with his family built the farm from a single ¼ to roughly 2000 acres of mixed cattle, grain, and other livestock.  Victor, Lydia, and their family became respected members of the Biggar community and were proud members, Elders, and builders of the Associated Gospel Church in Biggar.  After 30-plus years of farming, Victor retired and passed the mantle to his son Bill, as he and Lydia decided to move to the warmer climate of Kelowna, BC.  Sadly, shortly after moving to Kelowna, Lydia passed away.

Eventually, Victor found companionship in his new home when he met Nina.  Victor was welcomed into her family with open arms, as she was into his.  They were married and were very active in the Russian church community serving as Elders.  Victor and Nina enjoyed retirement and the rewards of lives well lived, spending time with both of their families.  Victor often found time to hunt and fish either along, with Nina and her family or with his sons Walter, David, Bill, and Peter.  He and Nina greatly enjoyed being able to travel for pleasure with trips abroad to Hawaii, Cuba, and more than a few ocean cruises.  Victor found joy, contentment, and respite in his life in Kelowna with Nina but also sorrow as after 32 years together, Victor laid Nina to rest.  He stayed active and fiercely independent after Nina passed, right up until his final day.  He continued fishing, drove well into his 90s, and was a voracious reader, always staying up to date on events of the day and political intrigue the world over.  He remained actively involved with Nina’s family in the Kelowna area, and absolutely loved his visits from the children and grandchildren.

Victor instilled a passion for life in his family and delighted in seeing all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren find their way into this world in peace and security.  He had a deep and fulfilling relationship with the church, and his faith guided him daily to be strong of character and firm of hand if he felt you were out of line.  He was generous and kind, courageous and willful, strong and humble.  He was a pioneer, a farmer, an outdoorsman, and a builder.  But most of all he was a loving, caring husband and father who, with nothing but the clothes on his back, brought his family unscathed through fire and chaos to the new world.

We miss you dearly and can’t express enough the depths of our gratitude for the gifts you gave us.  Rest well.

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