Mrs. Vera Marie Derenchuk
October 24, 1930 – November 1, 2019
With Beethoven playing in the background and family at her side, Vera Derenchuk passed away peacefully November 1st, 2019 at the Misericordia Hospital.
Vera was larger than life and left her mark on the lives of thousands. Concert pianist, trailblazing educator, wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and triathlete - her legacy will live far into the future.
Vera exemplified the immigrant success story. A young girl born of poor Czech immigrant parents (Mary and Joseph Sopuck), she rose to become one of Manitoba’s most prominent leaders in education. Her story is one of struggle, determination and plain old-fashioned hard work. Vera enjoyed remarkable success, excelling at everything she did.
Vera began her career at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate in Norwood as an English teacher with a flair for the Dramatic Arts. She then climbed to become the Superintendent of Schools in Transcona Springfield School Division where she led from 1972-1990. She was a pioneer in the field of education as she became one of the first female Superintendents in Manitoba and in Canada. As an educational leader and visionary in Transcona, she modelled and provided educational leadership to school administrators, resource teachers and special education teachers. Vera was a “people developer”. With her team, she was instrumental in planning, building, and developing schools and diverse education programs such as bilingual Ukrainian education programs, Fashion Technology, Aerospace Engineering, and an Adolescent Pregnant Teen Program helping teen moms continue with their education. One can never forget the thousands of lives she touched as an educator. Vera did not do it for the glory. She was strongly committed to the professional development of her team so they could become education leaders in their own right. At the same time, she was able to inspire thousands of students to excel and reach goals that they themselves thought were impossible.
After retiring, Vera continued her commitment to education by consulting for northern school districts. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Victoria Hospital Board and was even nominated for Manitoba Woman of the Year.
Not only was she a role model in her career, she was also an influential role model for her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Vera’s love of education and determination to succeed was evident to her entire family, both immediate and extended. She inspired them all to work hard and become successful in a multitude of professions. Balance was important to Vera. She was extremely generous. Vera and her husband Peter often opened their home on Salme Drive to friends, family, and staff and would host fabulous get-togethers and pool parties with amazing food, love and laughter.
Vera will be greatly missed by her son Laddie (wife Moira Wedekind), daughter Lisa (husband Ben Ganaden), grandchildren Alex, Chase and Capri, sister-in-law Anne Sopuck, nephews Vladimir, Paul, and Lennart Sopuck, Robert and Tim Sopuck, Edward and Brian Rector, Craig Derenchuk and Carlyne, and special niece Joyce Queck. Vera was preceded in death by her husband Peter (1983), brothers Vladimir, Joseph, and Gerald Sopuck and sister Mary Rector.
Who can even begin to measure such a legacy? Vera’s legacy remains to this very day. She will be missed by her family and all who knew her, and her accomplishments and achievements will live on forever.
The family especially thanks Joan, Marcia, and Gina and the many other WRHA caregivers that brought joy to Vera’s life, including her in many trips to Tim Hortons, drives to Lockport, and welcoming her to their own homes and families.
The memorial service and reception was held this past Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Thomson “In the Park” Funeral Home, 1291 McGillivray Boulevard, Winnipeg, 204-925-1120.
Please consider a donation to establish a scholarship in Vera’s name for aspiring young musicians: Winnipeg Music Festival (winnipegmusicfestival.org), 2 88 St. Anne’s Rd, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2M 2Y7
Aspiring Young Musicians: Winnipeg Music Festival
2-88 St. Annes Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2M 2Y7
- Online Donations
- Memorial Service Thursday, November 7, 2019
Mrs. Vera Marie Derenchuk
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November 10, 2019
Throughout her career as an Educator, Vera Derenchuk (or 'Mrs. D' as we called her) affected the lives of many students. I am amongst those fortunate few who were actually taught by her. I was a student at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate from 1962 to 1965 (Grades 10-12). In those days, classes were 'streamed'. I was one of those in the 'A' class. Whether by design or good luck, our class always seemed to be blessed by being taught by the best Teachers in the school.
Mrs. D was one of those teachers. I was privileged to be one of her students in her Grade 12 English class. What an amazing Teacher she was! She challenged us every day, There was no rote learning in her class!
One of the things Mrs. D imparted to me was a life long love of Shakespeare ( I live in Vancouver now and attend 'Bard on the Beach' performances whenever I can). I well remember when she dragged off our entire class to downtown Winnipeg to watch Richard Burton in his 1964 film 'Hamlet'. How many other Teachers would have done this?
I owe her such a debt. Her class was University-level. She will be missed.
November 5, 2019
In the early 70"s, Vera was Superintendent of the Transcona/Springfield School Division. Through her leadership, the French Immersion program was introduced in the Division. To this day, we owe an immense thank-you for her foresight and strong support of that program.