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Dzintra “Cynthia” Brigita Kornets

06/08/1933
02/27/2024

Kornets – Dzintra “Cynthia” Kornets, age 90, of Rockford & Grand Rapids passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 27th, 2024. She was preceded in death by her mother, Marta Ozolins (Adamsons, 1996) and father, Augusts Ozolins (1983). She is survived by her two daughters, Ligita Kornets of Florida; and lngrida (Jeffrey) Cebelak of Sparta; and one grandchild, Wm. Grady Cebelak of Grand Rapids. Dzintra was born in Staicele, Latvia June 8, 1933. She and her parents had to leave their home on September 24, 1944, with only 2 wooden travel trunks containing their possessions, to escape the Nazi frontlines of WWII as Germany retreated back through Latvia. On October 15, 1944, Dzintra and her parents were rerouted by the Nazi’s, placed on army boats, and shipped off to Germany. When WWII ended in September 1945 returning to their homeland, Latvia, was not an option as the Baltic States, including Latvia, remained under Soviet Union occupation. Over the next 5 years she and her parents lived in various Nazi Displaced Person (DP) Camps and communities until August 15, 1950, when Dzintra and her parents immigrated to the United States. They initially had a sponsor in Muncie, Indiana, who was a chicken farmer. Within the next year they found themselves moving to Grand Rapids, Ml, where a larger Latvian community was growing. Dzintra attended and graduated from Grand Rapids Central High School, and soon after married and had 2 daughters Ligita and lngrida. After a divorce in the early 1960’s she found herself as a young, single mother needing to support her 2 daughters. With the help of her parents raising her two daughters, Dzintra out of necessity entered the workforce. She began her 30-year career working for Hartford Insurance Co. in the Keeler Building, downtown Grand Rapids, Ml as a rating clerk. Her initial 15 years with the Company were in Grand Rapids, but during her final 15 years she received assignments from Hartford’s Home Office landing her work assignments all over America as a field analyst in Administrative Support. With this job position she was, “able to enjoy and see beautiful America!” as she proclaimed herself. After WWII Latvia remained under Soviet occupation, so returning post war was far too risky. Stories of Soviet interrogation of others who returned back to Latvia to visit relatives, or being detained by the Soviets, were rampant and prevalent. Letters and packages sent back to family members remaining in the Homeland were reported to be received opened and pilfered of their contents by the Soviet Government. Not knowing if she would ever be able to return to Latvia to visit Dzintra sought to preserve her Latvian heritage by enrolling her two daughters in the local Grand Rapids Latvian community school, which they attended every Saturday grades K-8. There her daughters learned to read, write, speak fluent Latvian as well as studying Latvian history, geography, grammar, literature and religion. Dzintra also involved the girls in the Latvian folk-dance group which included national competitions and performances, as well as choir presentations and theatrical performances. When Latvia was finally liberated from the Soviet Union in 1991 Dzintra finally returned to Latvia to visit the few remaining relatives that did not perish during WWII or during the Soviet occupation. Notably Dzintra became a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 22, 1969. Also, she served on various Grand Rapids Latvian community organizations, which included: Latvian Girl Scout Leader (Gaidas), President of the Evangelical Latvian Lutheran Church, member of the Church Ladies (Damas) Committee, and Treasurer of the Latvian Retiree Committee. Some of her favorite pastimes in retirement were playing Bridge, playing Chess or cards with grandson, Grady, and teaching him to cook! As a final note, each of her two daughters, Ligita and lngrida, now maintain possession of one of those 2 original wooden trunks that Dzintra and her parents left their home with in Latvia back in 1944. What family treasures! Thank you to the Care One Home Health Team, especially nurse Diane and PT Ruth, who diligently and lovingly managed each and every one of Dzintra’s needs after her numerous recent hospitalizations. A special thank you to the entire staff at StoryPoint Retirement Community for the attention and care they gave to Dzintra as a resident. Each of you treated her with respect and dignity, which was observed regularly, a comfort and a blessing to the family. She LOVED you all! A special thank you to the many new friends she made at her new residence. All of you became her “extended family” in this stage of her life, especially 102 YO Billy (RIP) and Bridge partner Ron.

Funeral visitation will be at the O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home at 3980 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 on Saturday, March 23rd at 9:30AM followed by a funeral service in both Latvian and English languages at 11:00AM. Immediately following will be a private family graveside burial at Woodlawn Cemetery where Dzintra will be joining her parents, followed by a private family repast. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Noah Project, a non-profit no-kill animal shelter: 5205 Airline Rd., Muskegon, Ml 49444, phone: (231) 865-1264.

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Memorial Donations

 Noah Project

5205 Airline Rd.

Muskegon, Ml 49444

phone: (231) 865-1264

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One Response

  1. Ingrida, Jeff, and Grady – You provided her with the best gift that a mother/mother-in-law/grandmother can have: a loving, generous, dedicated, self-supporting family who gave her cause to be proud, looked after her, advocated for her, and helped her make the most of all her days. When you think of her, know that your love and care made even the last few years of her life worth living.

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Make a Contribution

Memorial Donations

 Noah Project

5205 Airline Rd.

Muskegon, Ml 49444

phone: (231) 865-1264