At the ripe old age of 92 – a stoic Latvian to the end – died peacefully on his terms on Thursday May 30 with his grandsons Adam and Matthew holding one hand and his son Erik and daughter-in-law Joanna holding the other.
Ed was born on March 7, 1927 in a small country village in his homeland Latvia.
The farmhouse was built by his father in an era before electricity.
The home had a large stone fireplace in the center with an oven/cooktop on one side and a drysauna on the other – at the time a modern accomplishment.
His parents Jacob and Olga had 1 other child – an older sister, Valija – all of whom have since passed on.
WW II forced him to flee his family home and from the age of 17 he never saw his father again.
He was conscripted into military service during the German occupation of Latvia.
When the war ended, he left Germany for England where he worked at various jobs including tree cutting and underground coal mining.
After 5 years in the coal mines of England he emigrated to Canada with a group of five friends. These men would remain friends for the rest of their lives and Ed often spoke of them.
Within a week of arriving in Canada, on June 4, 1952 he found employment in St. Catharines at General Motors where he worked for 35 years before retiring in 1987.
He would often refer to GM as Generous Motors – having worked for 35 years he collected a pension for more than 31 years.
He returned to Latvia in 1974 to see his mother and sister for the first time since 1944,
Ed was an accomplished sportsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and target shooting. He was a founding member of the St. Catharines Latvian Hunters and Anglers club.
He was an avid reader who also enjoyed fishing, stamp collecting, playing chess and listening to Latvian music.
He enjoyed walking with Joanna and their nordic walking sticks and he did so on his own at least twice a day all year round – whether it was warm or freezing cold – he was out this past January when it was minus 20 degrees celsius – maybe not very smart but he was dressed for warmth and had a hardy soul.
He was a member of the Latvian Lutheran church, the Latvian Pensioners Club of Hamilton, and the local YMCA.
He is survived by his daughter, Nora, son Erik and their spouses Michael Clancy and Joanna Romano.
Ed had 2 biological children but he and Ina “adopted” Harald Zimmermann as a son and “adopted” Joanna Romano as a daughter.
Both Joanna and Harald held a special place in Ed’s heart.
But the love of his life in the last 2 decades were his two grandsons Adam and Matthew Grinbergs.
During his last week on this earth Adam and Matthew talked Ed into taking several “day passes” from the hospital – Adam took him fishing to Lake Gibson and Matthew baked traditional Latvian pirags – the day before he died Ed went on a fishing charter to the middle of Lake Ontario with his 2 grandsons, Erik and Joanna’s father, Enrico Romano – it was a beautiful, magical day !
Ed was predeceased by his wife Ina whom he lived with for 43 years.
Ed lived a long, long life and sadly witnessed the passing of many, many dear friends including Kristaps Zustans and Alma Gailitis.
He was dearly loved by all who knew him and will be sadly missed.
Internment of his ashes will take place at the Victoria Lawn Cemetery on Saturday June 22nd at 10:30 followed by a celebration of his life by friends and family to take place at Georges Greek Village (located very close to the cemetery), 535 Queenston St., St. Catharines
All friends, neighbors from Bowstead Drive where Ed lived since 1960 and others who knew Ed are cordially invited to attend and share your memories.
For those attending the cemetery please congregate at the Carillon Bell Tower located across the street from the main gates 480 Queenston St. at 10:15 am with the procession moving to the Garden of Memories Mausoleom at 10:25 am.
Please NO FLOWERS – donations in memory of Ed can be sent to our local YWCA, 183 King St., St. Catharines or Community Care, 12 North St., St. Catharines.