Areta M. Akerstrom
- March 16, 2022
Areta Martha Akerstrom (née Skirnyk) was born in the small Ukrainian village of Sianok
on April 5, 1944 to Joseph Miroslav and Ivanna Liubov (née Derszko) Skirnyk. Joseph was born
September 19, 1916 in the Ukrainian village of Staryi Sambir; Ivanna was born October 14, 1917
in the same village. Her parents met as young children, attended the same school, fell in love as
teenagers and got married in February of 1940. As a young family, they escaped Ukraine as
political refugees and were placed in a displaced persons camp in Mittenwald, Bavaria. They
came to the United States in 1947 and were active in the Ukrainian community in Chicago.
Areta is survived by her loving husband of over 40 years, Per Staffan, her four children:
Darian Jaroslaw Martyniuk (m. Andrea Gibson), Tamara Areta Martyniuk-Jazwinski (m.
Gregory Jazwinski), Per Christiaan Akerstrom (m. Jennifer Buzzard), and Sonia Akerstrom; her
five grandchildren (Joseph and Matthew Jazwinski, Sofia and Anton Martyniuk, and Ingrid
Akerstrom); and her brother Jarema Skirnyk (m. Irene Skirnyk).
Areta grew up on the northwest side of Chicago, attended Manor College and received a
teaching degree in 1964. She had a successful career in the airline industry working many years
for TWA. She embarked on a second career later in life, where she found great joy working for
the Barrington Area Library until her retirement. One of her biggest accomplishments was her
work with Ukrainian embroidery and textiles. In 1984 she received a grant through the Illinois
Arts Council for her textile artistry, specifically to study Ukrainian Embroidery and Textiles. She
studied under master Ukrainian embroiderer Tetiana Reynarowych. Areta’s designs and work
were part of a traveling exhibit throughout the state of Illinois in the 1990’s, including an exhibit
at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.
She deeply loved her family, especially her grandchildren. They were an important part
of her life, fondly calling her “Babi”. Joseph, age 22, currently attends law school at the
University of Michagan with aspirations to work in international and environmental law.
Matthew attends the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying bass in their Roots, Jazz, and
American Music Program. Sofia is sophomore at Von Steuben High School, a gifted student and
a talented rower. Anton is an 7th grader at Lane Technical High School’s “Academic Center”; his
Babi especially loved hearing about his exploits on the baseball diamond. And finally, sweet
Ingrid is her youngest grandchild with whom she always shared a love of rainbows and unicorns.
She is a 2nd grader at St. Theresa’s Catholic School in Palatine.
Memorial Visitation will be held on Saturday, March 19th, 11AM, Immaculate Conception Ukranian Church, 116 E Illinois Ave, Palatine, IL 60067, until time of the Memorial Mass at 12Noon. Interment private.
In lieu of flowers, Areta’s family would request donations be made to the Immaculate
Conception Church building fund or the Fund for Humanitarian Releif Efforts in Ukraine,
through Immaculate Conception. Her heart was broken with the recent events in Ukraine, and all
of her prayers and wishes were for peace. If you plan on attending her service, please consider
wearing Ukrainian embroidery, or vyshyvanka. She will be missed by all who knew her.
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