SALISBURY – Oleksa “Alex” Ilczuk, of Salisbury, passed away on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at Peninsula Regional Medical Center. He was 77 years old.
He was born in the small village of Kluky, Ukraine, the only child of Ivan and Anna Ilczuk on May 2, 1933. World War II brought major changes to the Ukraine and, to avoid a forced repatriation to the USSR, Alex (age 12) and his family walked to U.S. occupied West Germany to seek freedom.
His father requested that the family be permitted to emigrate to the United States and, on July 7, 1950 boarded a troop carrier ship bound for New York with all their possessions in a small trunk he had made from materials provided by NATO.
In New York a benefactor gave each family member $1 to buy food for the trip to Delaware. From there they traveled to Maryland and they eventually settled in Salisbury where they studied English. He owned and operated Alex’s Paint and Body Shop for 23 years.
At age 18, Alex enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a U.S. citizen. He began working as an interpreter and translator, being fluent in six languages. In 1959 he married Barbara Ellen Whaley of Laurel, Del.
Alex is survived by Barbara, his wife of 51 years; their three children: Patricia Ellen Ilczuk-Lavanceau, whose husband Andre’ Lavanceau passed away three years ago, Alex Michael and his wife Tracy and Mark Ivan; their grandchildren: Zachary Alex Ilczuk and his fiancee, Britini Drehmer, Christi Leigh-Ellen Ilczuk, Brandon Michael Ilczuk and Andre Lavanceau; sister-in-law, Honora Whaley and children: Steven Whaley and Michele Garner; and Alex and Barbara’s Godchild, Brandy Eby.
Service to Veterans has always been Alex’s passion and his contributions to their causes are legendary. He was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Commission and later to the Maryland Veterans commission where he served with distinction.
He was a member of Wicomico Post 64 of the American Legion and was its commander before assuming highter offices. He held numerous leadership positions culminating as State Commander of the American Legion and was chosen as an Honorary Life Member of his Post. This year was his 48th consecutive year of membership.
Also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 194 where he served as Commander and a member of two honorary societies, the Forty and Eight and the Cooties, both of which benefited from his leadership roles.
Funeral services was held April 6 at Holloway Funeral Home. The Rev. J. Harvey Dixon will officiate. Interment will be in Wicomico Memorial Park in Salisbury. Memorial contributions can be made to Faith Community Church, 219 N. Division St., Salisbury, MD 21801.
Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, PA, 501 Snow Hill Rd. Salisbury, Maryland 21804.To send condolences to the family, visit www.hollowayfh.com.