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John Berzins

March 3, 2024

John Berzins Obituary

John Berzins of Hatboro passed peacefully on March 3rd, with his beloved wife by his side, after a year-long battle with Leukemia. This past September he celebrated 80 years of life, surrounded by friends and family at home in Hatboro. His years were marked with both struggle and triumph. Born in Latvia in 1943 during the start of the Soviet occupation, at only one year old, he fled his native country with his parents and older brother. Their six-year journey covered thousands of miles and several refugee camps across war-torn Europe. They survived the allied bombing of Dresden before embarking on a ten-day transatlantic voyage to the United States.

He embraced his new identity as an American citizen, never forgetting his roots as a son of Latvia. He was an active member of the Latvian American community. He worked hard in school, receiving an education first at Cheltenham High School and Drexel Institute of Technology. He served in the Army reserves, and then completed his degree in Economics at Ursinus College.

In 1963 he was accepted into the Latvian academic brotherhood of Lettonia, and remained dedicated to the organization for the rest of his life. For more than twenty years, he led the Philadelphia Chapter, and after Latvia regained its independence, he served as president of Lettonia Inc., overseeing the reintegration of the diaspora branches of the organization with the newly reestablished branch in Latvia.

He deeply loved his four children, and did all he could to provide a solid foundation and support for them, especially emphasizing the importance of their education. He was proud to see them all graduate from college and build their own families.

For over 30 years, he served as the Chairman of the Latvian Relief Fund of America, a nonprofit organization founded by his father. LRFA was instrumental in the welfare of Latvian immigrants. Under his leadership, it has provided substantial support for Latvian cultural and educational activities, churches, and other societies across the country. His unwavering commitment to LRFA was one of many ways he dedicated his life to supporting the people and country of his birth. He worked right up until the end, before handing over daily operations of the organization to his daughter.

He was a passionate sports fan, rooting for all the Philly teams. He especially loved soccer, as both a player and as an avid fan of Manchester City.

He is survived by his wife of nearly fifty years, Ilze (née Rekis), his daughter Elēna, sons Kārlis (Kate), Ādams, and Dāvis (Colleen), his beloved grandchildren Vincent, Emelia, Noelle, and Zija, his brother Dzintars (Deborah), his sister-in-law Dace, his nephews Krisjans (Mayra) and Alex (Jane), his niece Sarah, and an extended network of family, friends, and colleagues. He will be dearly missed.

Relatives and friends will be received by his family on Friday, March 15, 2024 after 11:00 a.m. in ISchneider Funeral Home, 431 North York Road, Hatboro, PA followed by his Memorial Service at 12:00 p.m.   His interment will be private.  In lieu of flowers we invite guest to make a donation to the Latvian Society of Free Letts in memory of Gunars Berzins.

https://www.latviansociety.com/donate

please visit our facebook page by clicking HERE to View John's Memorial service on Friday. Link will be live 5 Minutes before his service.

 

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Services

Visitation
Friday
March 15, 2024

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Schneider Funeral Home
431 North York Road
Hatboro, PA 19040

Funeral Service
Friday
March 15, 2024

12:00 PM
Schneider Funeral Home
431 North York Road
Hatboro, PA 19040

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