Obituaries » Velta Galens
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A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 31, 2017, beginning at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour prior, at the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran United Church, 122 Cherry Hill St., Kalamazoo, MI 49006, Rev. Aija Graham officiating. Interment at Riverside Cemetery.
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Velta Loze Galens was born March 20, 1914 in Drusti, Latvia to Arturs Loze and Veronika (Zenks) Loze and went to be with her eternal Lord on March 26, 2017. Both her parents and brother, Indulis Loze, preceded her in death as did her husband, Janis Galens. Velta graduated in 1936 from the Teacher’s Institute in Latvia with a degree in teaching music and choir directing and taught in Riga, Latvia until WWII interrupted her work and she was forced to flee her beloved homeland. She spent a number of years in various displaced persons’ camps in Germany. Velta never saw her parents or her brother again and that was one of the most painful twists of fate that she had to live with. Velta immigrated to the United States in 1949 and settled in South Carolina but then moved to Chicago, IL where she could be closer to other Latvians. Music was a large part of her life so she joined the local Latvian mixed choir where she met her husband. The family raised three children: Dace Galens Copeland (Tom), Mara Galens Tomsons (Zigfrid) and Karlis Galens (Jody) who survive. Velta was also very active with the Gaidas (Latvian Girl Scouts) while in Chicago. She also continued using her teaching skills at the Chicago Latvian School and at later at the Kalamazoo Latvian School. The family moved to Covert, MI in 1957 where Janis pursued blueberry growing near his parents’ farm. Velta was a great support to her husband’s business often working alongside him in the fields. They both were active in the Latvian community in Kalamazoo, singing in the mixed choir “Dziesmu Vairogs.” When the choir’s director passed away, Velta took over conducting the choir. Velta drove their children to the Kalamazoo Latvian Saturday School and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran United Church of Kalamazoo and they attended other Latvian functions in Kalamazoo as well. Handicrafts were a passion for Velta and she tried her hand at many different types, including cross-stitch, weaving, drawing, etching, sewing, knitting and crocheting. She hand-made an altar cloth inscribed with the words: Svetits lai top Tavs vards (Hallowed be Thy name) which can still be seen adorning the altar at the Latvian church today. Quilting also became a passion for Velta. Many beautiful quilts still adorn her children’s and grandchildren’s beds. While she was still able, she crocheted lap robes to be distributed to nursing homes and other facilities. Velta kept in touch with her 7 grandchildren, Aleks Copeland, Anna Copeland Francisco (Zachary), Larissa Galens, Marga Galens Dejongh (Matthias), Natalija Galens, Andrejs Tomsons, and Dagnija Tomsons and two great-grandchildren Ethan Copeland and Isaac Francisco. She enjoyed their company immensely and would always send them birthday cards. She imparted great wisdom when asked her opinion regarding challenges in their lives. Velta often reflected on the abundant variety of things that she had experienced in her 103 years and the memories she had. She was most proud of her family and leaves them with many wonderful memories to cherish.