Raisa Kiritschenko was born in Khanzhonovka, Ukraine (Donetsk region) on May 1, 1939.
When she was born, she was named Larissa. Since her sister Lidia couldn’t pronounce it, they renamed her Raisa. When she was working at an insurance company on Wilshire Blvd in the late 1960s, a young man who worked there started calling her Rose. He gifted her with several classical music/opera LP records and would draw a rose on their covers for her.
The family survived WWII after having been in a Dachau work camp. After the war and being in a DP camp, an opportunity came for Raisa’s father, Dmytro Kiritschenko, to go work in the Belgium coal mines and bring the family over. They lived in Montegnée, Liège for about 5 years until they could save up enough money to come to America through a sponsorship. Because their original Ukrainian documents were lost, her parents Maria and Dmytro adjusted Raisa’s age on her new documents to show her being one year younger. This allowed for her ship ticket to be half-price. The family traveled to the US on the ship Liberté, arriving in New York Harbor on May 5, 1952. They then took a train to Utica, NY, where their sponsors, the Horbovyy family, lived. Eventually, the family settled in Syracuse, NY, where there was a large Ukrainian community.
In the summer of 1958, Dmytro, Maria, Raisa, and Alexander Kiritschenko moved to Huntington Park, CA. Raisa married Paul Beresubko in July 1960, and they lived in the Los Angeles and Glendale areas. Raisa was involved in the St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church choir, as well as the Ukrainian National Choir “Kobzar” and the singing quartet “Poltavchanky.” Widowed in January 1992, Raisa renewed her acquaintance with Eugene Dykun, and they married in June 1993. They moved to Atwater, CA, and have lived there until present.
Raisa suffered a stroke on January 23, 2024, and passed away on February 3, 2024. May her memory be eternal for all who knew and loved her and whose lives she touched — especially all her beloved pets.