TUCSON, Ariz. - Olga (Karchut) Migas, 94, died peacefully in her sleep on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 in Tucson.
Olga was born in Chicago on Oct. 12, 1918, daughter of Peter and Sophie (Jarema) Karchut. She attended schools in the Chicago area, graduating from Fenger High School in Pullman. Proudly receiving an associate degree from the Illinois School of Cosmetology, she became a beautician.
She would tell anyone who would listen that, in addition to going to regular school every day, she also attended Ukrainian school in the evening. There, she learned to read and write a second language, play the mandolin, and of most importance to her, learn and perform Ukrainian and Russian folk dances. Even in her later years, she was known to break into dance as soon as the music started.
In addition to her work as a beautician, Olga was employed for a short time in Indiana Harbor steel mills.
Olga married steelworker and union activist Nick Migas on April 1, 1937. Since they eloped and it was April Fools Day, it was difficult for people to believe that they were actually married. Olga would say, "All we knew was that it was payday." Two daughters, Darlene (Terry O'Connor) Strand and Nikki (Gyllander) Migas were the result of that union.
In 1948, Nick and Olga and their daughters moved to a vacant dairy farm near Wausaukee, Wis. It took many years and much hard work to make it a viable entity. Eventually the farm was sold and Nick worked at Lloyd Manufacturing in Menominee and Olga worked at Aerial Beauty and Barber Supply in Marinette for 10 years.
After that, they were able to retire to New Port Richey, Fla., happily experiencing 20 years of retirement.
A few years after the death of her husband in 1998, Olga moved to Iron Mountain to be near her daughter Darlene. She lived at Evergreen Retirement Village in Kingsford for nine years. Health issues necessitated a move to Tucson near her daughter Nikki. She lived at Crossroads Adult Care Homes for two and a half years.
Olga led a very active life, participating in the Marinette County Homemakers group where she planned and helped to plant a forest near Pembine. She also led the drive for a new elementary school in McAllister, Wis. In Florida, she was active in the New Port Richey Community Center and Common Cause. She participated in peace demonstrations throughout her life.
Olga will be remembered as a smiling, spirited, beautiful, and intelligent woman. She touched the lives of many with her generosity and humor.
She is survived by her sister, Ann House of Arlington, Va.; her brother, John Karchut of Plainfield, Ill.; her two daughters; four grandchildren, Shareen (Strand) Connors of Denver, Steven (Dianne) Strand of Iron Mountain, Grant (Janet) Gyllander and Greg (Sandra) Gyllander of LaCrosse; and eight great-grandchildren Mallory Connors, William and Sophia Strand, and Grace, Lilly, Gretta, Sarah, Grady, and Sully Gyllander; and eight nieces and nephews.
A family memorial service will be held in LaCrosse in June 2013. Memorial donations may be made to the Pine Mountain Music Festival, P.O. Box 406, Hancock, MI 49930. Attending PMMF concerts, and even dancing at one, were treasured times for Olga.