Tremors of grief reverberated throughout Canarsie last week after word spread that Cathy Krivorchuk, one of the community’s unsung foundations, had passed away.
Krivorchuk, 69, a neighborhood community activist since the mid-1970s, died after a short battle with cancer, leaving behind daughters Cheryl, Elizabeth and Debra, grandchildren Chelsea and Chase as well as the many groups she had helped out over the years.
“She was Mrs. Canarsie as far as I’m concerned,” said longtime friend and Canarsie Digest columnist Stanley Gershbein. “Anytime you needed an extra pair of hands, she was there for you. She really wanted to help people and no matter what the organization was, she showed up if she was needed.”
Krivorchuk, a Lower East Side native and Seward Park High School graduate, came to Canarsie in the early 1970s as a recent divorcee.
Naturally, her first foray into civic activism involved her three children, remembered former Assemblyman Frank Seddio.
“She started working with the girl scouts,” he said, recalling how instrumental she was in helping get the 1976 Memorial Day Parade off the ground.”We didn’t have a Memorial Day Parade in 1975 and she helped get the people together to participate.”
If the civic bug bit her at the parade, it never let go.
Over the years Krivorchuk joined the ranks of Canarsie Aware and the 69th Precinct Community Council, which she was president of for many years.
Krivorchuk was a neighborhood “go to gal,” even if it called for shoveling snow off a field just so the local roller hockey team could play.
Friends said that Krivorchuk spent nearly all of her time in the tree-lined neighborhood, working at two Avenue L businesses before becoming a secretary for downtown Brooklyn’s court system, friends said.
Even when she moved from Canarsie to Mill Basin in 2006, Krivorchuck kept returning to the neighborhood she adored.
“She was always involved,” said her daughter Elizabeth. “Even though we were out of Canarsie she would always go back to attend community council meetings. This past spring she wasn’t feeling well, so she asked one of us to take her to the council brunch. We did it without question because we knew how important it was for her.”
While growing up with a community activist isn’t always easy, Elizabeth said she always cherished her mother’s community spirit.
“We thought it was great,” she said. “It was something we all took part in. We all put on our boots and got shovels to dig out the roller hockey field in the snow and we all got dressed up and marched in the Memorial Day parade.”
“Community service became a family affair,” she remembered.
Wake services for Krivorchuk were held at McManus Funeral Home, 4601 Avenue N, on November 12 and 13. A funeral was held at St. Bernard’s Church, 2055 East 69th Street, on November 14.
©2009 Community News Group
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