Memory Eternal - Stefan Maksymjuk (1927-2024)

April 11, 2024
Stefan Maksymjuk speaking at the Solomiia Krushel'nyts'ka Museum in 1995

Stefan Maksymjuk speaking at the Solomiia Krushel'nyts'ka Museum in 1995.

It is with great sadness that we learned yesterday of the passing of the UHEC's very dear associate and donor Stefan Maksymjuk, who passed away in the early morning of April 10, 2024. Those of you who follow the UHEC's work will know that he donated his extremely large collection of Ukrainian recorded sound to the UHEC Archives beginning in 2016.

Stefan was born in 1927 in the city of Uzhhorod in what is now Zakarpatska oblast, Ukraine. He immigrated to the United States after World War II in 1949, settling first in Trenton, NJ. In 1955 he moved to the Washington, DC area, where he began work for the Voice of America Ukrainian service as a radio producer. He would later contribute his radio production skills to several Voice of America Southeast Asian services, including the Vietnamese service during the Vietnam War. He would continue working for the Voice of America until his retirement in 1987.

Most notably for the UHEC, Stefan was an extremely serious collector and scholar of Ukrainian sound recordings. Over his collecting career, he amassed thousands of phonograph recordings spanning nearly the entire 20th century. These included recordings of Ukrainian music from the 1900s and 1910s, rare early recordings of opera stars of Ukrainian origin such as Solomiia Krushel'nyts'ka, and recordings of significant ensembles such as the Ukrainian National Chorus — but they also included popular music and many other genres from both the Ukrainian diaspora and from Soviet Ukraine.

He was one of the first serious discographers of Ukrainian recordings, and his numerous articles on Ukrainian performers and recordings were published both in diaspora publications, and then in Ukraine after 1991. A collection of his articles were published in book form by the Ukrainian Catholic University Press in 2003, and his "Bibliography of Ukrainian Recordings: 1903-1995" was published in 2017. He gave lectures on Ukrainian sound recordings at the Shevchenko Scientific Society (L'viv), the L'viv and Kyiv Conservatories, the Solomiia Krushel'nyts'ka Museum, and the Ukrainian Catholic University. He also collaborated with numerous discographers and scholars in the United States, including the legendary musicologist Dick Spottswood.

In addition to collecting published recordings, he also amassed hundreds of unpublished reel-to-reel and cassette recordings of speeches, lectures, church services, and other live events in the Ukrainian communities of the Mid-Atlantic United States from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many of these recordings he made himself, while others were copies obtained from others. These materials are now at the UHEC archives and are the focus of ongoing digitization efforts. You can hear a small sample of those digitized recordings on the UHEC audio portal.

The funeral will be held at 6pm on Friday, April 12 at St. Andrews Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 15100 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20905. Interment will take place at noon on Saturday, April 13, at St Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in S. Bound Brook, NJ. We express our deepest sympathy to his daughter, Iryna Maksymjuk.