Vera Tkatschenko Siegmund, 81, of Wood, S.D., passed away Wednesday, February 27, 2013, at the Winner Regional Long Term Healthcare Facility. Vera was born on March 8, 1931, in Wyzorowka, Ukraine, to Alex and Mary (Petrenko) Tkatschenko.
Vera’s early days in the village were happy and busy. She spent her time working with her brother, helping her grandmother with household chores and enjoying village life with her family. Unfortunately, this came to an end when Stalin’s Communists took control of Wyzorowka. Fear and starvation now ruled the day. When fighting between the Russian and German forces became too dangerous to survive in the village, Vera and her family left their home and began to follow the retreating German troops, all the while trying to stay ahead of the advancing Russian army. This was very dangerous, and they narrowly escaped death several times.
After reaching Germany, the Tkatschenko family was taken to the prison camp Dachau. There they were split up and sent to work as laboring prisoners on different German farms. Vera was 12 years old and the work was hard, but at least you were alive. As the war was ending, the family was united and then went to a Displaced Person’s camp in Hiedenau, where they lived until coming to America.
Vera was 18 when she and her family came to White River, S.D., in 1949. Vera worked for Arthur and Sophie Siegmund helping them as they recovered from a crippling auto accident. Vera then met Arthur’s younger brother, Orvel, and in 1952 Orvel and Vera were married. They had one daughter, Mary.
Vera enjoyed the farming and ranching life. She was an avid gardener and especially loved growing many different varieties of roses. Vera loved to travel, and after Orvel’s death in 1976, she was able to travel to many parts of America and the world. She also traveled back to Ukraine many times to see her childhood home and relatives still living there.
Vera was preceded in death by her parents Alex and Mary, one brother Aloshka (Vera), and her husband, Orvel.
Vera is survived by her daughter, Mary (Gary) Elder, of Carter, SD, four grandsons: Zachary (Jennifer) from Portland, OR, Abram (Randi) from Pierre, SD, Jeremy and Joshua, both of Carter, and one great-grandson Ryler; one brother John (Pat)Tkatschenko from Lebanon, Ohio, and two sisters: Olesia (Zenek) Repichowskyj of Omaha, NE and Anna (Mel) Pickrell of Fort Collins, Co, along with many nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at Wood Community Hall at 10:00 a.m.
Visitation was Monday, March 4, 2013, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Winner at 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. when a Rosary and Vigil Service began. Visitation was also Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. until time of service at the Wood Community Hall.
Burial will follow the service on Tuesday at the Evergreen Cemetery, Wood, S.D.