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Silvija Avis

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“Glen, Wally, Ed and Peter-Jackie just informed me of Silvija's passing. I wanted to pass on my sincere condolences and send positive thoughts to you...Read More »
1 of 1 | Posted by: Robert Gold - Mission Vijeo, CA


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Silvija Avis (nee Zirnitis), March 10, 1938 – December 27, 2021

Silvija Avis' love of America started with an American soldier on a hillside giving her and her friends chocolate from his rations in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War II. Avis, who died of natural causes at home on December 27, 2021, was deeply moved by the soldier's actions. She and her parents Emils and Elfride Zirnitis and her sister Edite had fled their homeland of Latvia in 1945. They emigrated to the United States in 1949 and lived with their sponsors, the Timmer family, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She attended Grand Rapids Central High School, Blodgett Nursing School and Michigan State University. She enjoyed a long nursing career that included service at Blodgett Hospital, Borgess Hospital, Bronson Hospital, Sparrow Hospital, Butterworth Hospital, the American Red Cross, Penn State University, Kelly Services, Latvian Lutheran Summer Camp in Catskills, NY, Latvian Center Garezers, and the office of Dr. James Breneman. She was able to repay those kind American soldiers during the last decade of her career, when she worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. The last 60 years of her life's journey was shared with Glen Avis, whom she married in 1963. Together they made homes in Cumberland, Maryland; State College, Pennsylvania; and Augusta, Michigan. They raised three sons, Walter (Elizabeth) of Red Hook, NY; Eduard (Kathleen) of Chicago; and Peter (Erin) of Orono, ME, all of whom survive her. She also is survived by seven grandchildren: Nathan, Emily, William, Benjamin, Glen, Joseph and Frida. Other survivors include two brothers-in-law, Robert Franklin and Bruce Avis, and her nieces and nephews: Anna, Baiba, Lukass and Thomas. And she is fondly remembered by Stephanie, Markus and Lukas, whom she babysat. She asked that in lieu of donations, send flowers to a friend. A memorial service is being planned for spring. Those wishing to send condolences can mail them to Glen Avis, 1000 E. Augusta Dr., Augusta, MI 49012. Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.