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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Dr. Orest L. Pelech ’69

Dr. Orest Lubomyr Pelech, age 73, died at home March 13, 2020, after a long illness. He was born stateless in a German refugee camp in 1947 following his parents’ escape from Ukraine. His family emigrated to Argentina and later to the United States.

Dr. Pelech graduated from Seton Hall Prep and Antioch College before earning his PhD in history from Princeton University.

He served as the Slavic Librarian at Princeton University and at Duke University before his retirement. He came to live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia where he found a deep sense of community.

He had an abiding passion for history, language, ballet, music, chess and cooking. He loved teaching chess to children, especially at the elementary level. He believed that chess taught patience, impulse control and fostered long-term thinking. He and his wife, MaryKay, loved cooking together and sharing exotic ethnic cuisines with their friends and family.

He is survived by his wife, MaryKay Mulligan; his sisters, Irene Pelech Zwarych, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., and Daria Pelech, of Florida; two daughters from a previous marriage, Daria Pelech and Isabel Pelech Williams Pelech; and two grandchildren.

At his request no funeral is scheduled. A celebration of his life will be held this summer.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Eastern Shore SPCA, P.O. Box 164, Onley, VA or the Foodbank of the Eastern Shore, P.O. Box 518, Onley, VA 23418.

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements were made by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.