Theresa (Terry) Fudurich (née Cherkez), eldest daughter of Ann (Bevanda) and Peter J. Cherkez, died December 1, 2022. Predeceased by husband, Charles (August 4, 2009) after 66 years of a wonderful marriage.
Devoted mother of sons, Edward (Barbara), Ken (Patti), and Charles Jr. (Cindy); grandmother to Christopher (Aimée), Kimberley, Geoffrey (Lorie), and twins, Jamie (Justin) and Kathryn (Steven); great-grandmother to Charlie Eugene and Ruby Patricia. Sister of the late Rose (Paul Pandzich). Survived by beloved sister, Anne Lukenda (Mike); and daughter, Debbie.
Theresa Cherkez Fudurich was born February 21, 1923, in Rasno, Hercegovina. Terry still remembers the day, in the mid-1920s, when her father was leaving for Canada with her mother and grandmother sobbing, holding onto their rosaries. When Terry came to Canada to join him with the rest of her family in 1928, the steamship smelled of fish, and she couldn't stand fish smells well into her adult years.
At the age of nine, she became a member of a Croatian Tamburitza group (Croatian folk instruments) in Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay). In her high school years at Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, she could see the famous Sleeping Giant Island on Lake Superior from her school desk. Job opportunities were few and far between, so at that time her parents decided to send Theresa and sister, Rose, to Toronto when she was a young adult. Shortly after their arrival in Toronto, friends took them to Tony Chuvalo's house, where a Tamburitza practice was taking place.
Terry took one look at the director, Charles Fudurich, something clicked and she said to her sister, Rose, "I'm going to marry that man." And she did. After marriage, they enrolled in the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU) in 1942, and joined many Tambura groups in Toronto, Hamilton, Oakville, and Cooksville. It was war-time, and they performed many times in Toronto at Massey Hall and CBC Radio to raise funds for various groups. One noteworthy performance was in 1939, when Terry played for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth's Royal Visit.
All her life, Terry loved playing in groups with her husband, and loved to sing with her sister, Rose. Charles was superintendent of the Engineering Division at John Inglis and Company again for the war effort. They were proud parents to three sons, Edward, Kenneth and Charles. Terry continued to play in Tambura groups into her later years and when her husband began a slow physical and mental decline she tended to him, mostly by herself, for a decade. In her mid-eighties, Theresa enrolled in a piano keyboard class and enjoyed it very much, until poor health set in that affected her abilities to play music.
Her physical and mental health were remarkable, and she continued to read the paper and work on crossword puzzles into her last month. The last five years of Terry's life were blessed with the care, friendship, and love of her attending PSW, Edna Hapin. Terry was a very involved grandmother and mother. She made sure that those she loved knew that they were thought of and cared for. Terry made sure her family was involved in the CFU, supported and participated in many Croatian events throughout her lifetime, and brought along her kids and grandkids to enjoy the culture and share pride in their heritage.
She faced many challenges over her lifetime as a new Canadian, and as a young girl surviving the Great Depression and the second Great War. Her greatest challenge was raising three boys to become the men she was so proud of. She passed on in the company of family members. The entire immediate family were with her in the last few days of her life, sharing their admiration, thanks and love for the life she lived; acknowledging the wisdom, faith, and love she gave to us.
Izgubili smo višegodišnju prijateljicu, vrlo talentiranu glazbenicu, odanu fraternalistkinju, neumornu radnicu i hrvatskog domoljuba. Veliko joj hvala za sve i počivala u miru Božjem!
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