CARIBOU – Boshena Bespalow, 96, passed away peacefully Sept. 13, 2012, with her daughter, Elisabeth, by her side. She was born Dec. 21, 1915, in Ukraine – Russia, daughter of Alexander and Janina Ostromensky.
Boshena graduated from an agricultural technical school in Ukraine. She was a multi-talented artist whose voice and paintings helped support her young family during and after World War II; she sang soprano in the chorus of area opera houses and sold original drawings of local scenery. Toward the end of World War ll in Ukraine, a German officer who loved opera arranged for a group of musicians to travel with troops retreating to Germany. A young widow with two small girls, Boshena made the fateful decision to leave war torn Ukraine in 1943 for a new life in Germany. Two years after arriving in Germany, she saw Ivan Bespalow at a concert while singing in the chorus. Ivan was an agronomist for whom she had worked in Ukraine during the war. Ivan emigrated to the U.S. in 1948, and in 1950 he sponsored Boshena and her daughters to join him in Springfield, Mass. After Ivan retired, they moved to Briarcliffe Manor, N.Y., and then to Caribou to be near Elizabeth and her family. Boshena was also an accomplished pianist and taught herself to play the accordion. She was a talented cook, baker and seamstress. She read numerous books in Polish and Russian. In later years she devoted herself to her flower garden and created needlework masterpieces of flowers and Hummel figurines that are lovingly displayed in the homes of her children and grandchildren. Greater than all of her talents, however, was her love and devotion for her family and dearest friends.
She was predeceased by her husband of 48 years, Ivan Bespalow, in 1989; first husband, Trofim Firsov, in 1940; and three siblings in Kiev, Wanda, Bogdan and Dusia. She is survived by her two daughters, Helene Ciotti of Wilmington, Del., and Elizabeth Yaghmai and husband, Dr. Yaghmai, of Caribou; seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandson; and dear friend, Shelda Wickstrom. The family thanks the staff of Caribou Nursing Home for their loving care of Boshena.
A private burial will take place in Springfield, Mass., where Boshena will be laid to rest beside her beloved Ivan. Arrangements are in care of Lancaster-Morgan Funeral Home, 11 Clover St., Caribou. Condolences may be expressed at www.duncan-graves.com.