Daria Basalyga Schuster, 95, peacefully fell asleep on Thursday at her home surrounded by her loving and devoted family. Daria and her husband Demetri J Schuster raised four incredible children and had a long, adventurous marriage of 52 years before his passing in 2012.
Born in Wood, Pa, Daria was one of twelve children born to the late Alexander and Stephania Rydzanycz Basalyga and was a graduate of Scranton Technical High School in 1943. For many years, Daria worked as a bookkeeper for the former Scranton Casket Company, followed by caring for countless children and staff at the West Scranton Intermediate School, where she was a cook in the cafeteria from which she retired in 2000.
Surviving are two daughters; Daria Schuster, New York, NY and Mary (John) Koczwara, S. Abington Township; two sons, Michael, State College and David (Rikki), Outer Banks, NC; three granddaughters, Alexis and Lauren Koczwara and Katherine Schuster; three sisters, Lovie Swingle, Delores Naglak and Sonja (Stephen) Fueshko, all of Clarks Summit; many cherished nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents and husband, Daria was preceded in death by five brothers, John, Peter, Russell, Joseph, and Frank and three sisters, Ann Pivovarnik, Olga Dzbinski and Mary Kneiss.
Until just one short month ago, Daria had a very active social life living with Alzheimer’s for several years. She had a love for life and people and nothing made her happier than spending time with her daughters (“sisters”) and granddaughters (her “girls”). Her “girls” could do no wrong in her eyes. For years, Daria enjoyed countless hours sitting and chatting with clients at Mary’s hair salon. Everyone knew and loved Mary’s mom with her spunk and witty comments, which seemed to increase with her age.
Daria was always eager for traveling with her family. Daria loved to take rides in the car, singing to her favorite music and reading every sign she saw. She frequently visited New York City for shopping and praying with her church friends at Mercy House. She loved to spend time in the Outer Banks with her family and going for picking shells and long walks on the beach with her granddaughters. Daria enjoyed watching football and especially loved to go to Penn State Football games. Daria also enjoyed her visits to Archangel’s then Telespond daycares. She loved shopping, walking, and hiking, as well as puzzles, math and anything having to do with numbers. Thank God, until her last breath through her love, Daria was able to maintain very strong and loving connections with those around her, even if she couldn’t remember a name.
God and the church were always at the center of Daria’s life. She lived humbly and with faith in God and His Most Holy Mother. Earlier in her life she was an active member of St Nicholas Church in Scranton and St Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church in Old Forge. For the greater part of her life Daria and Demetri became active members of her extended family at St John’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield, PA. She frequently visited the monasteries and faithfully and actively participated in singing hymns to the Mother of God with Fr Mark Leasure at St George’s Russian Orthodox Church in Taylor, PA every Wednesday and Friday.
The family would like to thank Dr. Maya Lichtenstein, her neurologist for her dedicated support of those who live with Alzheimer’s. Her belief and practice of medicine focused on quality of life versus end of life enabled mom to fully enjoy a miraculous active life based on “muscle memory” long after her body permitted. The family is especially grateful for the countless friends and companions who selflessly and patiently exercised Daria’s brain, muscles and love daily. You know who you are. Those precious moments were filled with much love, patience, compassion, laughter and tears for all of us. Truly it takes a village.
Family and friends are invited to attend Daria’s viewing which will be on Tuesday from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. at St. John’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 706 Hill St., Mayfield, followed by service at 10:00 a.m. by the Mitred Archpriest John Sorochka. Interment will follow in the parish cemetery.
Because of her love for God, the family kindly asks that you consider giving a donation in Daria’s memory to her church, St. John's Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
“Blessed is the way in which you go, O Soul, for a peaceful place has been prepared for you!” “Blažennyj pokoj; vičhnaya pamyat” Blessed repose and eternal memory!
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