Walter (Volodia) Smyrniw Ph.D.

August 4, 1934February 15, 2021

Walter passed away peacefully on Monday February 15, 2021 at the age of 86.

Loving husband of Lina for over 61 years. Cherished father of Oksana Slipenkyj (Zenon) and Nadia Coakley (Mark). Beloved Dido to Stefan, Larisa, Michael, Linus, Lex and Torfinn. Older brother to Boris (predeceased).

Walter and his family left war-torn Europe to find a better life in Canada, settling into Hamilton’s east end in 1950. After working for several years as a car mechanic, Walter pursued higher education, receiving his B.A. from McMaster University and then his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Walter taught Ukrainian and Russian literature in the Department of Modern Languages at McMaster University for over 30 years and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2001. He published many articles and books on literature, religion and science fiction. After retirement in 2001, Walter was devoted to his growing family, writing his memoirs, reading (mainly science and history), sending daily email jokes and playing with his dog, Coco. He was a long-time member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Vladimir’s. Known for his wide smile and friendly nature, Walter will be deeply missed by his family and friends.

In accordance with the regulations of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario due to COVID-19, all events are restricted to a specified number of attendees. Please RSVP for visitation in advance by calling 905-528-6303. All visitors are asked to remain in their vehicles until their allotted time. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Visitation will be held at the MARLATT FUNERAL HOME, 615 Main Street East (east of Sanford Ave.), Hamilton, on Sunday, February 21st, 2021 from 5 pm – 7 pm. Panachyda will be held at 7 pm. Please follow the directions of the funeral home staff upon arrival. Due to the current restrictions, a private funeral service will take place on Monday, February 22nd, 2021. Private interment to follow at Woodland Cemetery. Everyone is invited to watch the online livestream of the funeral at 11 am on Walter’s webpage at and clicking on “Join Livestream” under the Service section of the webpage.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Vladimir’s or the charity of your choice would be appreciated.


  • Visitation

    Sunday, February 21, 2021

  • Panachyda

    Sunday, February 21, 2021

  • Private Funeral Service

    Monday, February 22, 2021



Walter (Volodia) Smyrniw Ph.D.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Phyllis Way

February 22, 2021

Dear Lina so sorry to hear about Walter my sincere condolences to you and your family. Take care,

George Thomas

February 22, 2021

So sorry to see the sad news of Walter's passing. He and I began our careers at Mac in the same year. In fact, it was Walter, who picked me up at Pearson and took me along the QEW to Hamilton. He introduced me to the Ukrainian language, literature and culture and was a very supportive colleague throughout the time we served together. I never truly understood what an incredible achievement his path to the professoriate was. But I did understand the incredible support he had in Lina. Those early precarious days in the miniscule Russian department are very dear to me.

Walter was a much respected scholar in many fields especially Turgenev and Russian and Ukrainian Science Fiction. A dedicated marathon runner, pioneer in the use of Mac computers, a generous host and wise counsellor. For these many other things, I will remember him.

2 of Walter's jokes I continue to retell to every class I teach.

To Lina, Oksana and Nadia my sincere condolences. You are all in my thoughts on this sad day.

Silvia Willard

February 22, 2021

Dear Lina and family...please accept our deepest condolences.We always enjoyed chatting with Walter on the street.He will truly be missed.............Barry and Silvia.

Denise Anderson

February 20, 2021

Dear Lina, Oksana, Nadia & families
I am so sorry to hear of Walter’s passing - my deepest condolences. I’m sure you have many fond memories that will help you through this difficult time.
With sympathy,

Harold Cipywnyk

February 20, 2021

Lina, Voldia’s family and friends
Our deepest sympathies. A scholar, gentleman, conversationalist, listener and true friend who we will miss and remember. Memory Eternal.
Harold and Sylvia Cipywnyk

Irene Sych

February 19, 2021

Lina and family---my thoughts are with all of you at this time. Memories from the Chaika days, memories sharing the pew in Church, and memories of our talks together.
Walter was a very wonderful man, and has left a wonderful legacy.
My thoughts will be with you on Monday.
Irene Sych

Nina Kolesnikoff

February 19, 2021

Dear Lina and family,
Please accept our deep sympathy on the passing of Walter whom we considered a close friend for almost forty years. I met Walter at McMaster University and from the very beginning he shared with me his experience and offered his wise advise. Our professional relationship eventually changed to friendship and we had a privilege to attend to attend many family gatherings at Walter and Lina’s home. Walter was a very generous person and a reliable friend and we will miss his kind spirit and his sense of humour.
Nina and Jim Kolesnikoff

Walter Rosizky

February 18, 2021

Dear Lina & Family
Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of you husband, father and grandfather. Dr Smyrniw was a gentle and kind individual who always greeted us with a friendly smile and a warm handshake.
I personally always enjoyed working with him in the various organizations at St. Vladimir's - his support and insight will be deeply missed.
May His Memory be Eternal! Вічная Пам'ять!

Walter & Donna Rosizky

Yurij and Halina Hanas

February 18, 2021

Дорога Ліно - Желібна Родино,

Прикро було довідатися про смерть Володі.
Він так мужньо боровся за кожну стопу життя.
Складаємо наші співчуття, передусім Тобі Ліно,
за довголітню віддану опіку і поміч.

Хай Спочиває у Царстві Небесному,
Вічна Йому Пам’ять.

Юрко і Галя Ганас

Sophia Prydatkewycz

February 17, 2021

Dear Lina and Family,

We were deeply sadden to hear about Walter's passing. You all are in our thoughts and prayers. May Lord give you strength in this difficult time.

Vichnaya Pamiat & Carstvo Nebesne Volodia ! always loved and never forgotten.

Sophia & Roman Prydatkewycz