Mykola 'Mike' Koropeckyj

Mykola 'Mike' Koropeckyj (June 13, 2011)

Mykola "Mike" Koropeckyj, a retired noncommissioned Army officer who later worked for the Social Security Administration, died June 5 of lung cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Columbia.

The Edmondson Heights resident was 83.

The son of a Ukrainian Catholic priest and a homemaker, Mr. Koropeckyj was born in Dolyna, a village in the Western Ukraine.

With the coming of World War II, Mr. Koropeckyj left his parents and homeland in 1944, eventually being put in a displaced persons camp in Germany at the end of the war.

"During this time he completed gymnasium [high school] and began university studies before he immigrated to the United States in 1949," said a daughter, Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox of Gainesville, Fla.

"After the war, his older brother and sister each immigrated to the U.S. separately, but his parents and a younger brother remained in Ukraine, which was then under Soviet rule," she said.

"His parents both died in the 1960s," Ms. Koropeckyj-Cox said. "He was finally able to visit his brother and family in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union."

He enlisted in the Army in 1949 and served during the next two decades in an anti-aircraft artillery unit and military intelligence, until being discharged with the rank of specialist six in 1969.

After leaving the Army, he moved to Edmondson Heights in 1970 and then worked for the SSA in its division of international operations and as an interpreter. He later was a claims analyst for its bureau of retirement and survivors insurance at the Woodlawn headquarters until retiring in 1991.

Mr. Koropeckyj volunteered with the U.S. Census and was an election judge in Baltimore County. He was also a volunteer interpreter for the Baltimore County police and was a transcriber and translator with the Ukrainian Holodomor (Terror Famine of 1933) Commission.

He also volunteered with the American Red Cross Holocaust War Victim Tracing Project and received a Life Achievement Award from the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for his work helping Holocaust victims determine the fate of family members or reuniting with them.

He was an active member of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Curtis Bay, where services were held June 9.

Also surviving are his wife of 58 years, the former Oksana Bilozor; two sons, Marko Koropeckyj of Baltimore and Andriy Koropeckyj of Columbia; another daughter, Ulana Chorney of Lusby; a brother, Iwan Koropeckyj of Philadelphia; and eight grandchildren.

An earlier version incorrectly stated his age. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com