Mary Howika Pidkowich was born in Ukraine and arrived in Canada in 1938. She was raised and educated in Winnipeg, MB. Under John Waterhouse, Mary completed her AMM (1948) and ARCT (1949) diplomas in Violin, received many awards including the Silver Medal for Grade III Examination and was a violinist in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She earned her Bachelor of Arts (1953) and Bachelor of Paedagogy (1954) degrees from the University of Manitoba. She hold numerous teaching certificates, including Kindergarten, ESL and Ukrainian School (Ridna Shkola) and became a Supervisor of Music from the Toronto Board of Education, specializing in vocal music, where she developed music programs taught in over 20 schools and lead music workshops for teachers.Mary taught for 25 years in Dauphin, MB and Toronto area school boards.
Since 1944, she became a member and held leadership positions in the Ukrainian National Youth Organization (MYNO), Ukrainian Canadian Women’s Council – Toronto Branch (President), Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada (UWO) [President], 1st Vice President of World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO) and was the first woman elected as National President of Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF) and the Olzhych Foundation in Canada. She was a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA), Genocide Museum for All Canadians and many non-Ukrainian groups such as the Kiwanis Music Festival and President of Ladies Auxiliary to the Academy of Dentistry, University of Toronto.
Mary received awards from the City of Toronto and Government of Ontario for many years of volunteer community service and has writtem many articles (English and Ukrainian) on the importance and significance of Ukrainian culture and
She believes in the adage “cultural heritage is the soul of the people”. She hopes that all her efforts in organizing cultural activities, especially in educating young children and youth to learn about Ukrainian culture, played some part in shaping future generations to continue and develop respect for their Ukrainian cultural heritage. In 1958, Mary married Dr. Peter G. Pidkowich and together raised two children John and Anne and now enjoys two grandchildren William and Ivanka.