Doreen M. Knihnicky Celestin, age 56, passed away Saturday February 27, 2010 at University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa.
Doreen Knihnicky (pronounced Kâ€(TM)nicky) was born November 28, 1953 in Bolton Lancashire, United Kingdom, the daughter of displaced Ukrainian immigrants, Paraskewa and Jan Knihnicky, who fled their home country during World War II. Doreenâ€(TM)s mother worked as a farm laborer in Germany before moving on to the UK, where Doreenâ€(TM)s parents met at a wedding in which they were bridesmaid and groomsman. Neither had heating, plumbing, or electricity in their native land.
In 1962, when she was 9 years old, Doreen, her parents, and her younger brother emigrated from the UK, embarking on a 13-day journey by ocean liner from Liverpool to New York City. Doreen and her father weathered the undulating Atlantic much better than her mother and brother, both of whom spent much of the trip hovering over the sink. Unlike cruise ships today, save for the karaoke experience, this vessel invited passengers to perform in their nightclub. Doreen, who knew how to play the mandolin, violin, and banjo (and was the youngest member in a school-associated band that played Ukrainian folk music), played a few numbers on the banjo. She performed with aplomb, but had a terrifying, non-performance-related moment on the transatlantic trek when a lifejacket drill was called. No one had told Doreen that it was only a drill. Finally, after an eventful two weeks, all four were horrified when they arrived in New York harbor, stunned by what they collectively saw as the ugliness of the port and afraid that this might not turn out to be a positive move. But, first impressions arenâ€(TM)t everything.
Doreenâ€(TM)s paternal uncle met her family at the harbor and brought them to Philadelphia. They lived with him briefly in his Fishtown home. Within a week, Doreenâ€(TM)s father found employment building medical equipment with Pennwalt Corporation, with whom he stayed until his recent retirement. A week after landing the job, Doreenâ€(TM)s father moved his nuclear family to 6th Street and Girard Ave. in what is now the Northern Liberties neighborhood. As Doreen recalls it, they shared their apartment with two fat rats that liked to nest in the potato sacks. The Knihnicky family lived there for two years. Doreen went to school at Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic, which offered bilingual education in English and Ukrainian. Her family moved to Olney when she was 11 years old, but she continued to attend school at Immaculate Conception along with a strictly Ukrainian school on Saturdays in Logan.
Doreen remained in Philadelphia for undergraduate work, attending Temple University. For an extended time between her sophomore and junior years, she backpacked through 13 countries in Europe, as far north as Norway, west to Portugal, east to the former Yugoslavia, and south to Italy. After nine months abroad, during which she spent only $600, Doreen returned to complete her degree at Temple. She graduated with a BA in 1977 as a double-major in 20th century French literature and art history. With her characteristic wry sense of humor, Doreen refers to her chosen academic concentrations as â€śtwo useless but enjoyable fields.â€ť She continued, â€śWhat could be more enjoyable than Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckettâ€¦ Being and Nothingness?â€ť
Already fluent in English and Ukrainian, Doreen left Temple also fluent in French, which has been very useful since she has family in France on her motherâ€(TM)s side of the family and they speak French only. Doreen also left Temple with something else â€" a husband. She met Charles Celestin in a French class and wed shortly after graduating.
In 1978, Doreen became the co-founder and proprietor of New Art Publications, Inc., a full service printing and graphic arts company. Specifically, she developed a printing brokerage enterprise into a fully-equipped graphic arts and printing operation that employed 20 people at 56th and Spruce Sts. and operated for 10 years. During that decade, New Art Publications published the program for the local womenâ€(TM)s tennis tournament that featured Martina Navratilova and had accounts with the University of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, PECO, Smith Kline and French Laboratories, Girard Bank, Bell of PA, and the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center.
In 1983, Doreen and Charles had their son, Gilles, and shortly thereafter sold their business. Doreen decided to spend time at home with Gilles for the next several years. She returned to the workforce in 1990 to serve as an administrative coordinator in the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. She also took on work with the Philadelphia Urologic Society in 1998 as Scientific Education Program Coordinator. In this capacity, she administered and organized program meetings, corporate program funding, and CME accreditation compliance for greater Philadelphia area urologists.
In 2000, Doreen left both positions to work as administrative coordinator for Dr. Tim Rebbeckâ€(TM)s group in the CCEB. In this role, Doreen is responsible for tracking and processing of purchases and reimbursements, identifying relevant quotes, and comparing equipment; preparing study materials for classes, as needed; arranging travel accommodations, and coordinating travel and meetings with Penn faculty for invited speakers; processing of memberships and journal subscriptions; scheduling of meetings of various committees; coordinating, collecting, and assembling materials required for committees; and assisting the Faculty Recruiting Committee in coordinating new faculty recruits and providing organizational support.
Since 2002, she has also served as the CCEB Seminar Program Coordinator for the Thursday morning seminar series. Her related responsibilities include arranging rooms; maintaining the schedule; preparing printed material, the weekly e-mail announcement, and the CCEB web page posting; maintaining program compliance for CME accreditation; maintaining attendance records for faculty and MSCE students; preparing the annual report; and applying for yearly accreditation.
Doreen lives with her husband Charles and their Staffordshire terrier (aka, pit bull) Silas, in Northwest Philadelphia, near Wissahickon Park. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Reach to Recovery American Cancer Society Program, loves to garden (and getting â€śher hands and fingernails dirtyâ€ť), closely follows professional basketball, particularly the 76ers, of course, an avid reader, and enjoys going to the theatre.
She loved to be with friends and family. She had an enormous heart and was accepting of all people
Doreen is survived by her husband Charles T. Celestin, sons Charles G. Celestin, Conrad T. Celestin, Patrick V. Celestin, daughter in law Jessica Felix Celestin - granddaughter Shamira Celestin, mother Paraskewa Knihnicky, brother Roman J. Knihnicky, nieces and nephew Alexander J. Knihnicky, Emily M.Knihnicky, Julia A. Knihnicky
Loved by many additional extended family, friends, and her dog Silas.
Doreen's Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 AM Saturday March 6, 2010 in St. Matthias R.C. Church, 128 Bryn Mawr Ave, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. where family and friends may call 9:30 to 10:45 AM. Interment will follow in Lawnview Cemetery.
Read DOREEN KNIHNICKY CELESTIN's Obituary and Guestbook on www.stretchfuneralhome.com.