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Lilija Balodis



Lilija Balodis passed away peacefully surrounded by her family, on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.  She was born in Liepaja, Latvia to parents Rudolf Straupenieks and Elisabeth Upmalis on October 19, 1929.  During WW2, as a teen, she was forced to flee her home in Latvia.  After the war, she was placed in the Junkers Displaced Person’s Camp in Kassel, Germany where she met and married (September 24, 1947) her first husband Alfons Einiks.  In June 1951, she immigrated with her family to the United States and settled in Grand Rapids, MI.  On November 16, 1956, she became a proud US citizen.  She married Arnold Balodis, the president of the Latvian Association, on September 26, 1981 in Grand Rapids.   Lilija was a proud member of the Latvian Association.  She enjoyed needlepoint and making beautiful Latvian patterned pillows.  She toured the US with a Latvian choir.  She also had a green thumb and loved gardening, especially tomatoes and orchids.  She worked as a dietician at Aquinata Hall.  She retired from there at age 49 after she was in a debilitating car accident.  She was preceded in death by her husbands, her daughter Dzadi (Val) Smitter and her brother Harrys Straupenieks.  She is survived by her daughter Heli (Bill) Christensen, son Erv (Diane) Einiks; grandchildren Jennifer Christensen, Amy (Wes) Hill, Mike (Tonda) Christensen, Joe Christensen, and John (Jaime) Koval Jr; and four great-grandchildren.  Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, September 17 at 12 PM at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, Rev. Ilze Larsen officiating. Visitation at 10:30 AM.  Interment Woodlawn Cemetery.    Flowers are welcome, but please feel free to donate to this worthy cause, Spectrum Health Hospice, 750 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

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