Vale Aivars Saulitis

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Quarter Century Club member Aivars Saulitis passed away on Sunday, 24th March 2024.  Julian Robertson attended the funeral service on 2nd April and passed on the condolences of our QCC Members to Aivars’ son Peter and daughter Anda.  The funeral was well attended by the local Latvian community with a feast of Latvian dishes offered at its conclusion. 

Aivars Saulitis may not have been well known to many of our current members, but an article by Jānis Kārkliņš (Laikraksts Latvietis Nr. 569, 2019. g. 3. nov.) pays tribute to his character and achievements.  See extract below.

Aivars Saulitis – 90th Birthday celebration

Aivars was born in Riga, Latvia on October 22, 1929.  In 1944, the family fled to Germany and later to Australia in 1949, where they lived for the first year in the Bonegilla camp outside Albury.  Aivars already had excellent English and was assigned to the labor camp in the office of the Department of Social Services . In 1950, Aivars moved to Melbourne and, along with working in an electric motor manufacturing factory, entered the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Melbourne. However, studies had to be stopped when his father died suddenly and Aivars had to take care of the family.

In 1952, Aivars married Māra Pilskalnas, and together they raised a daughter Anda and a son Pēteris. Aivars worked during the day and studied accounting at RMIT in the evenings, which he also successfully completed. In 1961, he started his career at IBM, where he worked until his retirement in 1991.  During his time with IBM, Aivars and his family lived in Melbourne,  Adelaide, Perth and Sydney.  In retirement, he and Mara moved back to Melbourne, where their children and grandchildren lived.

Throughout his working years, as well as most of the time after his retirement, Aivars actively participated in Latvian society. He was also active in Latvian umbrella organizations, the Association of Latvians in Australia and New Zealand (LAAJ), and a member of the board of the World Association of Free Latvians (PBLA). Aivars participated in the Christian life of Latvians in Australia, being a member of the board of the Holy Cross Church in Melbourne in the 1970s. Aivars also took active in the cultural life of Australian Latvians, leading the group of Applied Arts in Melbourne and later singing in the Sydney mixed choir. Aivars chaired the Australian Latvian Cultural Days in 1987 in Sydney and in 1994 in Melbourne.

R.I.P. Aivars


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