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"CHY" 2008 Obituary


CHYCZIJ o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-02-12 published
SOLTYS, Taras Paul
Entrepreneur, father, son, brother, Orange Revolutionary. Born December 24, 1955, in Toronto. Died October 18, 2007, in Toronto of cancer, aged 51
By Alexandra CHYCZIJ, Page L8
In the 1970s, Taras knocked on our door and asked for my sister Irene. Sensing a serious suitor, I proceeded to cross-examine him, perhaps a little too aggressively for a first encounter.
He was born and raised in Toronto, the son of Stephanie and Michael SOLTYS and older brother of Dianne WITIUK.
Taras survived my questioning, and soon he joined our weekly ski excursions in Collingwood, Ontario On the ski slopes, Taras initially made up in speed what he lacked in style. He developed a passion for skiing that he shared with his children, Chrystyna and Paul, who even persuaded him to try snowboarding.
When it came to children, Taras was a natural. He handled small babies with the same ease with which he held a football.
Taras combined his love of kids with his constant quest for new adventures by organizing a road trip across Ukraine with his children and two of their cousins. Taras, with four teenagers in tow, contended with everything from bears to kropyvo, a particularly nasty stinging nettle.
Ukraine's independence made Taras a pioneer in early joint ventures, equipped as he was with Canadian know-how and familiarity with the Ukrainian language and culture.
He is remembered by his associates at Consumers-Sklo-Zorya, his first venture in Ukraine, not only for the work ethic he instilled in them but for introducing them to the concept of charitable giving. The Charity Cash Cow Club he founded provided many low-income families with a cow, which offered sustenance during the transition from a Soviet economy.
Even though he often faced insurmountable odds, Taras never succumbed to the temptation of taking the easy road by smoothing the way with a little baksheesh. He was committed to the goal of ensuring that democratic principles and the rule of law become firmly entrenched in Ukraine.
Taras was an observer during the Orange Revolution, monitoring all three rounds of the 2004 presidential elections in the Crimea, an area he knew well from his most recent project in the oil business.
As he battled cancer, we shared the poignant memory of standing on Kiev's Independence Square singing Ukraine's national anthem along with hundreds of thousands of others.
Taras's hopes and expectations for reform following the Orange Revolution have yet to be fulfilled. But his greatest legacy is his children. Whenever we see in Chrystyna and Paul a familiar gentle smile or raised eyebrow, or hear a certain tone of voice or laugh, it will remind us of the person we loved and will always miss.
Alexandra CHYCZIJ is Taras's sister-in-law.

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