Hospice of Michigan, 989 Spaulding Ave SE, Ada, MI 49301 and/or the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, 3000 Monroe Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505.
Gatis Avotins, age 91, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on January 28, 2020. Gatis was born on December 21, 1928 in Sigulda, Lativia. Along with his mother and grandmother, he fled the advancing Soviet Red Army troops in 1944. He became a displaced person in the American Zone of Germany and spent 6 years in a German refugee camp. In 1950 Gatis was sponsored and admitted to the United States and became a U.S. Citizen in 1954. He proudly defended our freedom by serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was assigned to the American Military forces in Europe where he was stationed in the American sector in Berlin Germany. His special duties included expertise with heavy weapons platoon, fire team and the anti-tank team. Gatis had the additional skill set of speaking four languages, Latvian, Russian, German and English which proved to be very helpful to the U.S Military. After his service in the military, he attended Western Michigan University and earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Architectural Drafting. He was a long-time member of the American Legion Post 459 and of the Latvian Church.
Gatis had a passion for reading and collecting coins, fine cognac’s and artwork. He was the most caring person who told the best stories about his past. He possessed a great sense of humor. He showed a great deal of appreciation for America and loved this country with all his heart. He is preceded in death by his father, Janis Avotins, mother, Milda Zvaigzne, grandfather, Augusts Zvaigzne and grandmother, Anna Zvaigzne Gatis will be lovingly remembered by his close friends, neighbors and especially by his devoted and compassionate caregivers, Peter and Tina Chadwick and Velga Veldez. Internment will take place in Sigulda, Latvia. Those wishing to make a donation in Gatis’ memory may do so to Hospice of Michigan, 989 Spaulding Ave SE, Ada, MI 49301 and/or the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, 3000 Monroe Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505.