Myron W. Surmach, 71, owned Ukrainian gift shop

Myron W. Surmach, owner of Surma, the Ukrainian book and gift shop at 11 E. Seventh St., died at home on July 4 of a heart attack at the age of 71.

Born and raised in the East Village, he was active in community affairs and was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit by the Coalition to Save the East Village against Cooper Union’s development plans.

The shop was established in 1918 by his father, Myron Surmach, who kept bees on a farm in Saddle River, N.J., and sold honey in the store, which also sells Ukrainian blouses, batik egg-painting supplies and folk art.

Anna Sawaryn, a leader of the coalition, said Surmach was chosen to be one of the plaintiffs for the lawsuit, “because the store has been around in the community since the early 1900s, because he was Ukrainian and he cared about the community.”

Hanya Krill, who was born and raised in the neighborhood, has known the Surmach family all her life. She said the store on E. Seventh St. is a center of the Ukrainian community. “People leave messages and pick up mail there. It’s like a small town general store,” she said.

Markian Surmach, Myron’s son, said Surma would continue in business in the short term, but no decision has been made about the future.

In addition to Markian, of Denver, Colo., Myron is survived by his wife, Magda, a daughter, Darya, and a grandchild. A sister, Yaroslava Mills, of West Nyack, the widow of C. Wright Mills, the sociologist and author of “The Power Elite,” also survives.

Peter Jarema Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. The funeral was at St. George’s Church on E. Seventh St.