Myra Middleton Omelanuk (96) passed away on August 21, 2020, at Crestview Care Center in Chadron, Nebraska.
Myra was born January 30, 1924, in Augusta, Georgia, to Edgar Rawls Middleton and Cora Pitner Middleton. She had two older sisters, Mary Middleton Judy and Cora Middleton Schoolcraft. Her youth was spent living amongst a large extended family, with whom she was very close. She graduated from Tubman High School in 1941, and was selected “Most Artistic” in the school yearbook.
During World War II, Myra worked at the Augusta Arsenal as a clerk. At the home of a friend, she met a young GI from New York City, Michael (Mike) Omelanuk, who was stationed at nearby Camp (later Fort) Gordon. The couple corresponded for nearly three years during Mike’s tours of duty in North Africa and Italy. They married soon after his return in June 1945.
While residing in Augusta, the couple had two children—Michael and Katherine. When Mike reenlisted, the family traveled with him to his assignment in post-war England. After they returned, their third child, Joy, was born in Fort Bragg, NC. Tours of duty in Japan and Germany followed. Myra loved seeing new places and experiencing different cultures even though she was homesick for her relatives, particularly for her parents. After Mike’s retirement from the army, they settled in Augusta, where they remained until his death in 2003. Shortly after, Myra once again took off for parts unknown to be near her daughters in Chadron, NE.
Throughout her life, Myra exhibited a remarkable artistic talent. She was an accomplished water colorist whose paintings were exhibited in numerous Augusta venues and also in the Chadron area. She was a regular contributor to the Carnegie Art Center annual juried show in Alliance, NE, where she also had her own exhibit. Chadron State College hosted a 90th birthday celebration and display of her work in January 2014. Many of Myra’s subjects were flowers she grew in her own gardens. She was proud of her career as wife, mother, homemaker, and family caregiver and happy to have the leisure in later life to pursue her painting.
A lifelong Episcopalian, Myra was baptized and married in Christ Episcopal Church in Augusta, Georgia. After moving to Chadron, she joined Grace Episcopal Church.
Myra was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, and all the extended family members of her generation. She is survived by her son, Michael Omelanuk (Norma) of Mundelein, IL, and by her daughters, Katherine Bahr (Rick) and Joy Omelanuk of Chadron, NE. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Amy Robasse (Brian) of Mount Vernon, IA; April Hahnfeldt (Scott) of Scottsdale, AZ; Rachel Freytag (Richard) of Reston, VA, and Sarah Bailly (Marshall) of Waldorf, MD. She leaves five great-grandchildren: Savannah and Logan Fleeman, Henry and Catherine Freytag, and Mayzie Bailly. Her nephews are Robert Paul Judy (Margie) of North Augusta, SC, and Mark Middleton of Des Moines, WA. Nieces are Faye Schoolcraft of Nevada City, CA, and Ann Cook (David) of Alpharetta, GA.
Myra’s ashes will be interred with her husband’s at Westover Cemetery in Augusta, GA. Plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later date. Chamberlain Funeral Home in Chadron is in charge of arrangements and will maintain an online site for remembrances. Those who wish to celebrate Myra’ s life may make donations in her name to the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department or Grace Episcopal Church. Donations should be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.
The family wishes to express gratitude to the medical personnel and caregivers who took care of Myra during her extended illnesses. We particularly want to thank the doctors and staff at Chadron Medical Clinic and Chadron Community Hospital, the Hospice staff, the Prairie Pines Lodge Assisted Living staff, and the Crest View Care Center staff, who went the final mile with us under very difficult circumstances. And finally, our thanks to private caregiver Nancy Adler and special companion Jessie Walker for adding so much to our mother’s life.
Online Condolences can be made at www.chamberlainchapel.com.