You are on page 1of 1
‘The Citizen, Ayr, Ned York Community. Sanday February 17.2019 C3 Lake Life DAVID WILCOX, Lake Life editor Phone (315) 282-2245, Email david Twitter. eadewicor PORT BYRON From WWII to Weedsport: The journey of ‘Doc Prok’ When you think of “living the ‘American dream?" you wouldn't necessarily associate the phrase ‘witha rural physician of Central New York. It would take a world ‘war toalter the fate of his family, placing them among displaced Dawn. personson = ROE. the USNS. Gen, C.H. Muir that departed Bremerhaven, Germany and ar- rived nine days later atthe port fof New York on May 17,1931 ‘The passenger manifest at An~ shows Wolodymyr Prokopiw, his wife, Olga, their infant son and Wolodymyr's 85 year-old mother all having the destination of 458 Grand St., New York. This manifest is {for the family of “Doc Prok" of, Weedsport. ‘After contacting Ellis Island, I received a reply from Mike ‘Maring with the American Fam~ ‘ly Immigration History Center. He also reviewed the Ancestry record and shared that beeause this was a refugee ship, pas~ sengers would have been pro cessed at Elis, ut there was no fevidence that this family was ‘etained due to illness, so they arrived in good health. Much ‘of what is known about Doe's background comes from a bio in ‘The Citizen in 1988, as well asa short biography provided by the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America. Wolodymyr (Walter) Pro- kopiw was born in 1906 in ‘Austria, the child of Teodor and Dorotha Troutman Prokopiw. He received his education at the Jagiellonian University founded. 1364) at Krawkow, Poland. Upon completing his studies he opened a general practice in the town of Townace, Olga, his foture wife, was teaching ‘mathematies at a high school in Pruemysl when they met in 1936. ‘When German forees marched {nto Poland, the invading offi- cers consulted Walter regarding {infectious diseases and instruct~ ced him to open a hospital, a task that was no small undertaking ‘When the forces retreated, they took Walter and his son to'a con- centration camp, where Walter treated other prisoners ‘While in the various camps, wwe know very little about Wal- ters experiences, According to Walter, "they needed meas 2 doctor, There were so few dac~ tors. Many who did not have the strength did not survive.” Despite his status, harsh treat ‘ment was commonplace; he reported having been beaten several times, and his ribs were broken, What he did not diseuss ‘was having his eyes sewn open something he briefly mentioned tohis patients after the war. With the arrival of the American and English forces, they were taken toa displaced persons camp. Itis not known how his, The USS Gen. C.H. Miz «General G.0,Sque-clss transport ship foe the US. Navy in Word War I was ulin 1948 by Kalser Shipbuilding fof Richmond, Cali She brought soldiers to Pear! Harbor, andar trans fEredto the Military Ses Transportation Servis, bringing thossands | Fefuges ofthe war America The Prokop famaly merc among he {Teplace persons of Bremerhaven, Germany who were brought the ot of New orb the Nsiron Nay 17,193) wife and mother cametobe ___1960.'The move allowed him to boarded with him on the Muir be closer toh son, who was at bound to America in 1951. tending college in New York City. Upon arriving in America, Dr. rok served as Weedsport's ‘Walter served asaresident and school physician for many years admitting physician at St, Peter's and built alarge general practice (wherehe intemed), as wellas at Weedsport, with his wife han- Cumberland and Williamsburg dling the clerical aspects ofthe hospitals in Brooklyn. Upon _ office. He was known to consult fbtaining his state license in_ is reference books in front of his, 1953, he moved to Ohio, where patient, kept his doots open after heintemed at Williamsburg. hours, and even made house cals ‘After several years, he moved a bygone era in medicine to Unadilla, NY. With theloss as overjoyed to discover (of Weedsport's physicians Dr. that our local physician and his Goodwinand Dr. Kempton, devoted wie left several endow Walter came to Weedsport in ments for scholarships to help the next generation of physi- clans, A review of is estate pa- pers shows hs insight included Foquesting that all taxes and fees be paid by the estate to eliminate Durden tothe recipient. His es- tate benefited the Shevchenko Scientific Society, the Ukrainian Free University, and the Ukraini- an Medical Association of North ‘America, which was the only or~ ganization to reply to my inquiry. UMANA received, after fees, $44,388 as part ofthe Dr. Walter and Olga Prokopiw Scholarship Endowment Fund. Their gener ous gift gave UMANA the ability to offer scholarships forthe first time ints history. The scholar- ship is awarded to medical as ‘well as dental students. Since iW'was established in 2006, the scholarships have been awarded. tostudents from the slates of, Wisconsin, California, Iinois and New York, said Executive Director Dr. George Hryeclak. Doe Prok was ous family physician when I was a child. While his war experience leaves us wanting to know more, de~ spite his hardships, this humble man continued to give back to ‘humanity. Walter died in 2001 ands buried at the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Campbell all, NY. the Owasco Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, She ea bereached af or une,