Emil Skocypec, 88, of Queen Creek, Arizona, passed away on Saturday, March 18, 2023, surrounded by his loving family and his priest after a period of failing health. Left to mourn him and honor his memory eternal are his treasured wife, Shirley, and their five children, Marc, Randy (Melissa), Tammy (Daniel) Kwiatkowski, Brian (Tasha), and David (Karen), as well as twelve grandchildren who adored their kind, gentle, and loving Papa: Jacob, Hannah, Brandon, Sarah, Emma, Eddie, Emily, Jack, Luke, Brody, Emaline, and Evelyn.
Born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants, Emil was taught that hard work and an education would lead to success in the United States. He obtained an Associate’s Degree in Electronics, and then was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers. Emil was stationed at Fort Devens, MA, Fort Monmouth, NJ, and Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he was a sharpshooter, electronic warfare equipment repairman, and specialist, honorably discharged. Emil utilized his electronics knowledge post-service at Standard Electronics in Chicago, rising to President of the company. He changed careers to become a realtor, where he managed several brokerage offices in the Chicago area, a position that allowed him more time with his children. Outside of work, he served as President of St. Michaels Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Hammond, Indiana, and President of the Ukrainian Orthodox League, the only person to serve two terms in such position. In 1994, Emil moved to South Bound Brook, NJ, in greater service to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, where he served as Treasurer of the Church and Property Manager for the Church’s consistory, Cultural Center, and property, where he then oversaw construction of the museum, and mausoleum.
Emil met Shirley at his brother’s wedding, where Emil could not keep his eyes off his later bride. Shirley fell for his kindness and gentleness, but her mother refused to let them marry, thinking it was too soon. The couple waited two years to marry, then shared 66 years of adventure, challenges, shared purpose, and a deep and abiding love. Their early years before children were filled with dog training of Dobermans and Poodles. Emil’s poodle was one of the highest winning dogs, and Emil rose to the position of judge in obedience for the American Kennel Club. Later years involved travel to places such as Brazil, Chernobyl, and Ukrainian orphanages (to see his ancestral homeland’s struggles). When moving from Chicago to New Jersey, Emil went ahead of Shirley and began preparing a home for her by using his talented gift for repair and renovation. He brought the Church’s crumbling 1680’s manor house back to resplendent grandeur with his own hands, a multi-year project that was featured in New Jersey Magazine. Emil and Shirley spent almost twenty years there, welcoming friends, members of the church, and family to the beautiful home where Emil would humbly receive compliments of his craftsmanship and vision.
A dedicated father despite his busy work schedule, Emil was always with his children, making French toast breakfasts, driving back and forth to swim practice and meets, band practice, competitions, and parades. He donated his time at his children’s schools for whatever was needed. Emil provided a safe place for his children’s friends to enjoy and be nurtured by his kind and caring spirit at “Club Sko.” Never one to utter a bad word about another person, he was intent on holding deep relationships with others, ensuring that their trust in him was well-placed and honored in return. If any friends or family were sick, hospitalized, or otherwise in need, Emil would visit them daily by phone, if not in person, even making twice daily visits to his mother-in-law in a nursing home to ensure she had a proper breakfast and lunch. A favored family memory was his determination to mow the lawn of a friend’s elderly mother, with his children hanging out the back of the station wagon tailgate holding onto the handle of a mower dragged behind the vehicle as he drove across town, determined to make it there despite any practical barriers. He often mowed the lawn in a suit on Sundays after church. One time, he cut his tie in half while showing his boys the “right” way to trim the hedges. A man of deep and enduring faith, he was the first to offer help of any kind, always bringing at least one of his children along to learn not only a skill but how to be of service to others. Emil’s children continue his legacy of service and old-fashioned do-it-yourself determination to figure out a problem and fix it with hard work and endless patience.
If there was something that needed to be done, Emil would find a way to help anyone, no questions asked. His children and their families responded in-kind as he aged, helping to care for him at home for the last years of his life through his failing health, learning a new skill from their best teacher. These years provided treasured memories spent caring for someone so deserving. He blessed his family through years of gratitude and a life of example, with no complaints despite his illness, and a fervent belief in the plan of God for his life. He passed peacefully without fear, in faith, knowing that God had prepared a place for him. John 14:3. Just as Emil was always by everyone’s side; his entire family was by his bedside when he passed. We will love and miss him forever, but his legacy lives on.… Memory Eternal! Vichnaya Pamyat!
“In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation Donate to Donate The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (michaeljfox.org) or Tunnel to Towers Foundation https://t2t.org/donate/ in memory of Emil.”
Emil believed deeply in their mission to help those affected by Parkinson’s disease and support the families of fallen first responders. Your contribution will help to honor Emil’s memory and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Service Schedule for Emil
Monday, March 27th
Visitation and Trisagion Prayers of Mercy for the Departed at 7 p.m. at
St. Ignatius Orthodox Christian Church, 2402 N Usery Pass Rd, Mesa, AZ 85207
Tuesday, March 28th
Funeral Service at 11 a.m. at St. Ignatius Orthodox Christian Church, 2402 N Usery Pass Rd, Mesa, AZ 85207
Burial at 1:30 p.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024