Annie (Levy) Romanyshyn

Obituary
4 entries
  • "A lovely tribute to a woman embodying a rich, full,..."
    - Jody Halliday
  • "Sorry to hear, I used to see her all the time walking the..."
    - Bernie Smith
  • "for a life well lived ,thank you"
  • "If you knew Annie, you were very fortunate. Such a loving,..."
    - Jeanne Adamson Sawtelle
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Annie Romanyshyn, 96
PEAKS ISLAND - Annie
Romanyshyn, 96, of Peaks Island, died peacefully in the home of her family in Temple on Saturday, March 10, 2018. She was born Annie Coralie Levy on Oct. 31, 1921, in Oklahoma City, Okla., the daughter of Victor and Coralie Levy.
Annie grew up in Oklahoma City and spent the summers with relatives in Louisiana where her ancestors settled in the 19th century when many Jews immigrated to the state.
Growing up during the Great Depression, her household was nevertheless a jolly place where her brothers and sisters roller-skated in the house and kids from the neighborhood ran in and out. A neighbor once asked her mother how she could let the kids destroy the furniture. She replied that she would replace it all after they were gone. Homeless and hungry people knocking at their door was a frequent occurrence and it left a lasting impression on her. She remembered her family always had something to give.
She attended Central High School and graduated in 1939. Afterwards, she was a student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman where she met her future husband John in a sociology class. He was drafted into the army before she graduated in 1943.
During World War II she wrote to him everyday for three years. They were married in 1945. Their correspondence was part of a life-long love story and a close working relationship with many writing and community projects.
After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she studied social work at the University of Chicago where she obtained her master's degree. She did field work in Chicago and worked as a social worker in Chicago and New York City while John finished his studies.
In 1946, they moved to Orono with their first child Coralie and fell in love with Maine. Annie was much in demand as one of the only women in the state with a master's degree in social work. She became Supervisor for the Department of Child Welfare in Bangor where she worked for many years while raising four children.
In 1967, the family moved to Portland. Annie worked as a social worker in the Portland Public Schools and was a founding member of the New School Workshop, a parent-run alternative elementary school.
She took on one of her most important jobs in 1971 when she became the Director of Services for Holy Innocents Homemaker Services. There she developed a publicly funded program with a focus on providing home care for children, the elderly, the mentally ill and low-income families. The program with over 80 employees included training for home health aides working with a nurse supervisor. Both the scope of the program and the innovations in training became models for similar programs nationally.
She was a member of the Maine Medical Center Board of Trustees from 1975 - 1981.
Every summer from 1978 to 1993, Annie was the coordinator for the Bread and Puppet Theater's annual Our Domestic Resurrection Circus in Vermont. It was a job she loved very much. She managed logistics, scheduling, volunteers, took notes at rehearsals and used her social work skills with the summer staff. She and John traveled and performed with the company on three tours.
They moved to Peaks Island in 1978. Annie was instrumental in helping establish the Casco Bay Island Transit District in 1981. She was also an outspoken supporter of keeping Peaks Island a part of Portland. She delivered Meals on Wheels and volunteered at a soup kitchen in Portland.
She is survived by her daughter Coralie and son-in-law Charlie, son Michael and daughter-in-law Susie; grandchildren Liana, Auley and Maurice; great-grandchildren Chloe, Sophia, Olivia and Gabriel; and nephews John and Bob Levy. She is predeceased by her husband John; daughter Kathryn and son Victor.
Annie embodied the idea that a civilized society is a place where people take care of each other. That having a home, good food, access to health care and education are rights - not privileges or entitlements. There will be two memorial events on Sunday, June 24 to honor and celebrate her life: 11 a.m., Mayo Street Arts, It's Time to Make A Change Secular Revival with a 40 piece brass band and chorus, and a memorial gathering at 5 p.m. at the 8th Maine on Peaks Island. A memorial on August 16 at 5 p.m. will be held at the Bread and Puppet Theater in Glover, Vt.


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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on June 13, 2018
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