Ilze Mateus was called home by her loving Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, December 17th, 2022. She passed peacefully surrounded by family while in the wonderful care of the Blodgett Hospital team of Drs., nurses, and staff. Ilze was a resident of the Porter Hills Village for the last seven years and was cared for and loved by an amazing team of nurses and staff.
Born on January 5th 1937, daughter of Reverend Kristaps and Grieta Hermanis, in Cēsis, Latvia. In 1944, Ilze’s entire family was forced to flee from the Soviet invasion of Latvia. They arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany where they lived in Displaced Persons camps for 5 years before gaining sponsorship to the United States. They sailed from Bremerhaven on the US General Sturgis transport ship and arrived on Ellis Island in 1950. The family ended up in Grand Rapids, MI where their sponsor church was located.
Ilze graduated from Grand Rapids Central High School class of 1955. She attended Grand Rapids Junior College and graduated from Butterworth Hospital’s School of Medical Technology. Ilze was employed by Butterworth Spectrum Hospital as a Medical Technologist and Blood Bank Tech, where she worked and retired from after 40 years. Ilze married Vilis R. Mateus on June 9th 1956, and together had four children. Many say this is where the fun began. They were married 49 years until Vilis passed away in 2005.
Ilze was active in the Latvian community and Latvian Lutheran Evangelical Church, started by her father and Grand Father. She loved all forms of music and participated in the church choir for many years. Even in the last several years at Porter Hills, Ilze could be heard whistling…all the time. Ilze enjoyed many things (reading, gardening and knitting), her greatest joy was spending time with her children and grandchildren. She worked diligently to make sure traditions were kept, holidays and birthdays were celebrated and helped growing families as much as she could.
Ilze will be greatly missed by her surviving family: sister Anna Abele; children, Karina Bostwick (Doug), Karlis Mateus (Geri), Ingrida McGee (Tom), Ruta Dickens (Rob); 12 grandchildren; and 7 great grandchildren; nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by parents, Reverend Kristaps and Grieta Hermanis; husband, Vilis Mateus; brother-in-law, Ansis Abele; and brother-in-law, Elmar Mateus.
A Memorial service will be held at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 on January 5th at 11:00 am, visitation will begin at 10:00 am. A luncheon celebration will follow the burial services at the Latvian Hall on 504 Grand Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.