Thursday, October 25, 2018
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Sharing of memories will take place at 6:30
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Humane Society of your choice
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Throughout a life that spanned times of great adventure and hardship, Lauma Lockwood was a rock to those around her. She was a hard worker, a voice for the underrepresented, and a woman of unfaltering principles; but the roles she treasured most were those of mother, wife, grandmother, and friend. She could find the beauty in even the simplest of things, and her strength, courage, and determination were truly an inspiration. Dearly loved, Lauma will be forever missed.
Life was eventful in Latvia during the 1930s. Finally, land was granted to nearly 150,000 people, despite the fact that democracy still hadn't been instituted. As WWII emerged in 1939, harder days were yet to come. It was during this eventful time that Natalija and Julijs Silenieks were able to focus on an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Lauma Ausma on February 24, 1932, in Gulbenes, Latvia. Her father was a forester for the Latvian government and soldier for the Latvian Military while her mother was a busy homemaker and managed the family’s small family farm. Lauma was raised in this rural Latvian environment alongside her older sister, Gaida. Their family had many animals including several dogs, and as a young girl she attended a one room schoolhouse attended by children from adjoining farms.
As WWII infiltrated Latvia, their family was greatly affected. When the Germans invaded, their family had soldiers living in their home for a period of time, which was inconvenient to say the least. However, it was when the Russians pushed back into Latvia that their family began having problems as there was much more to fear from the Russians especially with Julijs having been in the Army. It was at this time that he hid in the woods near the family farm to avoid capture by the Russians. Eager to escape, their family fled to Germany in 1944, spending six years in refugee camps in German cities such as Munich. Lauma continued schooling in the camps along with other Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians, and Polish refugees, and it was during this time that she learned to speak English.
In 1950, their family was sponsored by a family in Virginia through the Lutheran Relief Fund and came to the United States to live with and work for his family on their farm. Their family helped them get on their feet and establish themselves. Ultimately, their family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where there was a strong Latvian population. While in her early twenties, Lauma lived in an apartment downtown with her parents, supporting them by working as a bookkeeper for an oil company among many other jobs, including being a cashier at one of the first Meijer stores in the area. Her father’s brother eventually came to live with them, which made for a crowded but loving apartment. After some time, Lauma was eventually able to re-unite her entire family, traveling back to Germany to help bring her sister’s family back to the US.
In 1959, new and exciting changes were in store for Lauma when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was John Lockwood, and they met when she was attending a friend’s engagement party. Sparks flew right from the start, and the couple soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Lauma and John were married on May 20, 1961. The newlyweds then enjoyed a honeymoon to Washington, D.C., one of many vacations and explorations of the entire United States throughout their long marriage. In the early years, John worked in sales for the furniture industry while Lauma taught dance at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, where she made many lifelong friends. After experiencing a painful experience with the death of their newborn Jeffrey, Susan Annette was born in 1963 and Douglas Gregg was adopted in 1969, which completed and filled their happy home.
From the moment she became a mother Lauma was amazing. She was kind, selfless, and there to encourage and support her children in whatever they were doing. Lauma encouraged her children to get involved with music, art, and education, as John was an amazing artist and she was passionate about education. She further became a champion for gifted and talented children in the public school setting, and in 1976, she founded the Kent County Association for Gifted and Talented and spearheaded several conferences on improving staff development for meeting the needs of gifted students. As her family and friends can attest, Lauma went all in on whatever she was doing, and she was exceptionally organized as well. Around home she was an amazing cook, and one of the family favorites was her south of the border casserole and shrimp creole. Lauma enjoyed making traditional Latvian food with her kids around, and for holidays she made a special cheese and also a pastry with meat. At Easter she made Latvian Easter eggs using a cloth, onion peels, and rice. After watching her children leave home and succeed in their respective passions and professions, Susan as an artist and Doug as a marketing and sales professional, she was able to see her positive influence on them both. That was shattered, however, by the death of Susan at only age 50, from cancer. This served to only strengthen and tighten the bonds with Doug and his wife Tanya, as well as her two grandchildren, Sienna and Lance.
Throughout her life, Lauma was one to keep busy. She kept a meticulously manicured lawn and enjoyed gardening in her backyard. Lauma loved animals, especially dogs, and they always had a dog in their family. She and John loved spending time up in Traverse City, and in the mid-nineties they moved there. They enjoyed cross country skiing at Ranch Rudolph, and she also enjoyed walking the dogs on the local trail as well as spending time at the beach. Lauma and John often explored Northern Michigan and places like Sutton’s Bay, Leland, and Northport. In addition, they enjoyed traveling to Colorado when Doug moved there and Sedona, Arizona. She wasn't one to watch television much, but she did enjoy the Lawrence Welk Show. Sunday mornings were often spent watching and listening to Robert Schuller. Lauma also enjoyed classic black and white movies as well as listening to classical, jazz, and big band music. She enjoyed all four seasons, but fall was perhaps her favorite time of year. In 2015, Lauma had a stroke, but through her hard work in rehab she made a near full recovery. A second stroke one month ago brought them back from Traverse City to Grand Rapids, and she was unable to recover.
Although she accomplished so much of which to be proud, Lauma (Silenieks) Lockwood was a humble woman who lived to serve others in ways both great and small. Her compassion, gracious spirit, and nurturing touch reached many. Lauma cherished her family, and she was happiest when surrounded by their love. She will never be forgotten.