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Obituaries » Andrei Vansovich

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March 2, 1955 - May 16, 2024

A memorial visitation will be held Wednesday, May 29, 2024, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Joldersma & Klein Funeral Home, 917 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo. A memorial mass will be said at a later date and time. Andrei will be taken back to his beloved Belarus for burial.

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Andrei was born in a small village the in Postavy region of the Vitebsk province in Belarus. He grew up as a very humble and kind boy, more like a girl in his character.

His father Ivan worked with agricultural machinery at the big state collective farm (kolkhoz). And Andrei followed in his father’s footsteps: he liked everything about motorcycles, tractors, especially grain harvesters. Every summer and fall after school he worked as combine harvester’s assistant and studied agricultural machinery not on the basis of books but in practice.

So, after he had successfully finished high school in 1972, he entered the College of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Agricultural Mechanization in Minsk and graduated from it in 1982, with Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering. After the graduation Andrei worked in leadership positions
in agriculture and during the last 13 years before leaving for the USA, he headed a very large and rather prosperous state collective farm in Vitebsk province.

Being very calm and reasonable by nature, he was always able to communicate and find a common language with everyone, be it his superiors, his colleagues, children, teenagers, or elderly. That’s why people loved and respected him very much. Andrei always tried to help people around him no matter what.

He got married in 1978, to Liliya and had 2 beautiful children with her: son and daughter. He loved them and spent as much time with them as he could playing football, volleyball, tennis, fishing, watching videos and being very supportive of all their projects and life plans. His son and daughter graduated from high school and later from universities with honors. His life in Belarus was very hard (especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union), but it was a happy life because he has wonderful family which was a solid foundation for everything in life. But in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and during the next 14 years Andrei and his family struggled to make ends meet.

In 2005, Andrei got lucky to win a Green Card and he and his wife moved to the USA in spite of being 49 years old. His American friend Dolores Cosby and her husband helped them a lot to start a new page in his life. He worked hard to establish his living in a new culture and finally got hired at Michigan Recycling Inc in Kalamazoo. He worked there for 15 years.

In 2008, he bought a new house which became his happy full of love home. Together with his wife he created an amazing front and back yard full of flowers and fruit trees that his neighbors admired a lot.

On weekends or during vacation time he travelled with his wife to Florida, California, Nevada, up north in Michigan and to many other wonderful places. And America in spite of all his love for Belarus became his second homeland.

In 2007, Nataliya his daughter won a Green Card and joined Andrei and his wife in Kalamazoo. Andrei loved his daughter above all and helped her get a good start in USA as much as he could, and it made him very happy. The only thing that upset him was the inability to spend time with his son Andrei junior who still lived in Belarus and couldn’t get permission from AISA to legally move to the USA.

But Andrei’s family happy life ended abruptly and unexpectedly. In 2019, because of the doctor’s negligence his daughter Nataliya died from heart attack. This tragedy undermined his entire health, and in March of that same year Andrei was diagnosed with cancer (kidney cell carcinoma). He courageously went through different types of treatment (immunotherapy, Chemotherapy, Radiation), but cancer eventually won.

Andrei had a beautiful, happy life with his wife Liliya, his son Andrei and his daughter Nataliya and will always be remembered by the people as the most generous and loving person, husband, and father.