George A. Perfecky, retired professor of foreign languages
PHILADELPHIA – On Saturday January 11, the Ukrainian American community in Philadelphia bid their final farewells to Dr. George A. Perfecky, retired professor of foreign languages at La Salle University. The Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was full of family, friends, colleagues and two generations of former students. Former university president Brother Michael McGinness, FSC, was also in attendance.
After an insightful homily delivered by Father John Ciurpita, Professor Leo Rudnytzky read a very moving and deeply meaningful letter of condolence sent by Metropolitan Archbishop Borys Gudziak.
Professor Perfecky, son of Bohdan and Natalia (Czolij) Perfecky, was born in the Polish crown town of Piotrkow Trybunalsky on May 27, 1940 and died on December 28, 2019 in Warminster, Pennsylvania, aged 79. His childhood and youth followed the path of World War II refugees, who fled war-torn Ukraine, were held in internally displaced persons camps, and eventually emigrated to America. The young Perfecky family settled in Philadelphia, where George joined Plast, enrolled in the Ukrainian Music Institute, and played college football.
After attending Central High School, Mr. Perfecky graduated in Russian and German from the University of Pennsylvania and entered Columbia University in New York to continue his graduate studies under the guidance of the renowned linguist and philologist. Yurij Shevelov. He obtained his master’s degree in 1966 and then, in 1970, his doctorate. in Slavic languages and Colombian philology.
Professor Perfecky began teaching in the Department of Foreign Languages at La Salle University in 1965. It was a very rewarding and successful career that spanned 50 years. He has taught and developed courses in Russian, German, Ukrainian, Polish and, over the past decade, Spanish, having obtained a new Masters in Bilingual Bicultural Studies in Spanish. In 1989 he was appointed full professor. For years he was educational advisor of the Ukrainian Club.
The heart of Dr. Perfecky’s academic and research work centered on the Slavic chronicles of the ancient church. His most important scientific contributions were his book “The Hypatian Codex II: The Galician-Volynian Chronicle – An Annotated Translation”, which was published in the Harvard series in Ukrainian Studies and several important articles related to this column, such as ” The Galician Volynian Chronicle as a Source of Ukrainian Language and Historiography ”(in Ukrainian), and a series of articles on language, authorship and composition, chronology, prejudices and bibliography of this column published in the Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States
Writing in 2017 about the translation of this Chronicle by Professor Perfecky, historian Dr George Gajecky, described it as pioneering and important documentary work on the history of this medieval Ukrainian state. He stated that the author had to solve many linguistic problems and terminological expressions. He added that the work gave the English-speaking reader a primary source interpretation of 13th century Rus. Until that time, only a Russian translation of the Chronicle was available for this reader.
Recently, the third volume of Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s monumental “History of Ukraine-Rus” appeared in press in Canada. This volume is devoted to the history of the Galician state of Volynia. Dr Gajecky noted that “all base their work on Perfecky’s,” as he was the first to correctly point out, based on his research, that Kyivan Rus’ heir was the Galician Volynian Rus’ and not Muscovy or Suzdal.
Professor Perfecky also translated the 17th century Chronicle of Hustyn, which represented the first attempt of the early chroniclers to write a systematic history of Ukraine, and the Chronicle of Bykhovets.
He is the author of “Intermediate Ukrainian II: A Manual for Individualized Instruction” (with Assya Humesky and Kateryna Dowbenko, published by Ohio State University), as well as vocabulary supplements to the four volumes of the Ukrainian language series. Dr Perfecky has written widely published articles on the status of the Ukrainian language in the Ukrainian SSR and on the linguistic Russification of Ukrainian. He reviewed several editions of Ukrainian dictionaries and other publications.
Professor Perfecky is survived by his wife of 55 years, Christine (Konaszewycz), his daughters Tanya Harvey and Marta Neuenhaus (David) and his granddaughter Sophia Neuenhaus.