Even into his eighties, Stepan Fyodorivich Lozko would pedal his bright blue tricycle through the streets of Westfield. Wearing his trademark cap and suspenders, he usually had a fishing rod to use at nearby spots along the Little and Westfield Rivers. One of thousands who arrived in Western Mass. after the breakup of the Soviet Union, he was truly a living relic – from a different time, different place, different conditions that many of us could not imagine. Fortunately, being in Westfield, he had many within the Russsian/Ukrainian/Byelorussian community, his church, and his family -- that shared the same language, culture, and life experiences that he could reflect upon with neighbors on Murphy Circle – a place he truly loved living. Stepan Fyodorovich Lozko, 96, passed into eternal life on Sunday July 7, 2019 at Baystate Noble Hospital. He was born on February 7, 1923 in the village of Kopyschye in the Olevsk region of the Zhitomyr Oblast. By the time he was 10 years old, he and his family would have to endure and survive Josef Stalin’s systematic starvation of the Ukraine, known as the Holodomor in which millions died. He survived, only to have to experience the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941. His village of Kopyschye, along the Ukrainian-Byelorussian border, was on the path of death and destruction of infantry units of German Army South during Operation Barbarossa. Stepan was taken prisoner and sent to Westen, German to work as slave laborer. Even in his nineties, he remembered his experience in Germany, the intense allied aerial bombing, working on a farm -and he still spoke a few German words. After the war, he, like thousands of others, had to find a way back home, primarily by walking. Upon return to his ruined village, very little remained, his father, Fyodor died from disease and his mother, Anna, had been executed by German troops, both in 1943. Stepan was married to Yefima Filipovna Skreet in 1946 and they had nine children – six who survived. He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1992 as religious refugees. His strong religious conviction was a guiding force in his life until the end, and even in deteriorating health, he would pray daily at dawn and before bedtime. He would also pray before and after every meal he ate. He was pre-deceased by his wife, Yefima, who died in 2002. He leaves six surviving children; Peter and his wife, Yelena, of Lyman South Carolina. Vasily and his wife, Vera, of Westfield. Fyodor and his wife, Nadia, of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Yekatrina of West Springfield and Yeva, and her husband, Richard Kagan of Chicopee also a son Nikolai, and his wife, Irina of Kursk, Russia. He leaves behind 34 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 2 great- great grandchildren. His wake will take place on Tuesday July 9 from 7-9 PM and the funeral service will be conducted on Wednesday July 10 at 10 AM -- both services will be held at the Full Gospel Church on 110 Union Street in Westfield.
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