Matushka Janet Mihalick (nee Maksimoff), wife of the late Archpriest Michael Mihalick, fell asleep in the Lord on the evening of August 26, 2020.
Born to the late Protodeacon Vladimir and the late Matushka Mary Maksimoff in Youngstown, OH, she sang in the Church choir from a young age. She attended Youngstown State University majoring in Voice and Music Education and subsequently became the Choir Director at St John Orthodox Church in Warren, OH. During her tenure in the early 1970’s, she formed and led the Saint John’s Girls Octet, which went on to record several popular albums of Orthodox Music. After her graduation, she was recruited by Bishop Gregory (Afonsky) and appointed Professor of Music at St Herman Theological Seminary in Kodiak, AK. In her work there, she trained future clergy and Church workers in rubrics, singing, and choir directing. Many of those she taught went on serve the parishes throughout Alaska.
While at Saint Herman Seminary, she met her future husband, Archpriest Michael Mihalick, who was teaching theology there. They were married in 1978. Matushka Janet became the Choir Director at the four parishes they served, Saint Michael in Irvona, PA; Saint Mary in Madera, PA; Holy Transfiguration in Pearl River, NY; and Saint Andrew in Dix Hills, NY. During their many years of joint ministry, she had a lasting influence on numerous musicians and dedicated parishioners who were also inspired to continue in music ministry. In 2001, Father Michael became ill, beginning a valiant struggle against progressive Multiple Sclerosis, which prompted his retirement. Matushka Janet faithfully served and cared for him with exemplary love until his falling asleep in 2012.
In 2015, she moved to Pittsburgh, PA from Johnstown, PA and became the Choir Director at Saint Nicholas in McKees Rocks, PA, where she could also be closer to her only child, Alexandra (Sasha) and family. At Saint Nicholas she continued her ministry directing the choir, training readers, and also helping to lead younger students to sing during the Divine Services. She served the parish faithfully until her diagnosis with cancer in June, 2020.
She was an avid reader, loved cooking, gardening, and British Culture. Her greatest joy was being a grandmother to her sweet Sophia.
Matushka Janet is preceded in death by her parents (her mother, Mary Maksimoff, fell asleep in the Lord on August 23, 2020), and her husband.
She is survived by her sisters, Claudia Maksimoff of Ft. Pierce, FL; and Pauline (Dcn. David) Gemmel of Youngstown, OH; her daughter Alexandra (Benjamin) Gajewski of Pittsburgh, PA; and her beloved granddaughter, Sophia.
Because of the pandemic, private services will be held by family at the Monastery of the Transfiguration, 321 Monastery Lane, Ellwood City, PA with Father Thomas Soroka and Father Edward Pehanich officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests prayers for her and donations in her memory to the Monastery of the Transfiguration.
May Matushka Janet’s memory be eternal!