Velta Namatevs passed away December 29th, 2019 (age 96) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Velta Livija (Ceiris) Namatevs (also known as Ninna) was born to Jazeps and Lilija Ceiris (Indars) on October 2nd, 1923 in Daugavpils, Latvia. Her parents divorced when she was very young and she was raised by her mother. She had a younger sister, Valija. They both lived with their mother who was a store and restaurant owner in Latvia. Since Velta preferred the outdoors and farm life to the shops, she would go to her grandmother's farm whenever possible. After grade school, Velta went on to an agricultural high school where she learned to care for farm animals. Her job was similar to a veterinarian. She would travel from farm to farm to test the cows for diseases, test the quality of their milk, help deliver calves, etc.. This is how she met her future husband, Peteris Namatevs, who had a large dairy farm. They were married on March 26th, 1943. On June 6th, 1944, their first child, Lilita, was born. As the advancing communist army was approaching Latvia and to avoid being sent to Siberian concentration camps, the family fled their homeland. Traveling by horse and wagon with a cow tied behind for milk, they went to the port in Liepaja, to board a ship to flee to Germany. They were placed in a displaced person's camp called Insula in Berchtesgaden, Germany. In August of 1945 their first son Dainis, was born there. The family lived there for 5 years, amongst other Latvians that had fled their homeland. Finally, in the spring of 1949 they obtained a sponsor who paid the way to the United States for the entire family, including Peter's parents. This sponsor was a cotton plantation owner in Mississippi and needed cotton pickers. So the family relocated to their new home in Mississippi to pick cotton. After a year and a half, the sponsorship debt was paid off. Through the Red Cross they had received news that a group of Latvians had settled in Michigan and were working on fruit farms. They purchased a car, loaded everyone in and moved to Michigan. Upon arriving in Michigan, the family settled near Coloma. Velta got a job working for "Jolly Kids" as a seamstress, a trade that she mastered while living in the displaced person camp in Germany. Peteris got a job at the Sutherland Paper Company in Kalamazoo. Later Velta also got a job at Sutherlands and the family moved to Kalamazoo. During this time she also experienced the unexpected loss of her son, Dainis in 1959. Then in 1960, joy was brought into the family with the birth of their second son, Mark. Peteris worked at Sutherland's until his retirement and Velta was forced to retire early due to an occupational back injury. Around this time, Velta, who had always loved flowers, started to grow roses. She found this peaceful and therapeutic. Her garden of roses kept getting bigger and bigger every year. She started to enter rose shows. Not only did she enter them, her roses started to win ALL the major categories and the trophies that came with them. Velta was a perfectionist, full of determination to succeed. The wins continued to come year after year after year. Her amazing garden was eventually filled with over 500 rose bushes, was featured in newspapers and she even held garden tours. All this was possible thanks to Velta's skills and the manual garden help from Peteris, Lilita and her granddaughters, Lija and Mara. Eventually Velta became a rose judge and belonged to the Kalamazoo Rose Society as well as the National Rose Society for many years. The other hobby she took up seriously was photography. She had her own dark room and developed and printed all her own photographs. For many years she was the main photographer for the Latvian Center Garezers, in Three Rivers, MI. She also photographed weddings and special events. She was also known to make the best "piragi," "tortes," Latvian "rupmaize" (rye bread), and whatever else she put her mind to. Relatives could not wait until the holidays to get a taste of her famous piragi. In 1993, Velta accompanied daughter Lilita and granddaughters, Lija and Mara, back to Latvia after it regained its independence. This was a very memorable event as this was her first time returning to Latvia after fleeing the war at age 20. She reunited with family members, as well as visited her original farmland and remains of her home; the home where Lilita was born. She was preceded in death by her son, Dainis, in 1959 and husband Peteris, in October of 2003. Surviving are daughter, Lilita (Mikelis) Austrins; son, Mark (Jonnie) Namatevs; four granddaughters, Lija, Mara (Dainis), Alex and Avery; four great grandchildren, Matiss, Stella, Lukas, and Mila. She was a woman of many talents: a fantastic seamstress, unbelievable rosarian, meticulous photographer, and an amazing cook. She overcame many difficult obstacles with her strong Christian faith and determination. She has left a lasting impression on us all and will be greatly missed and always remembered. A funeral service for Velta will be held on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. with a visitation for an hour prior to the service, at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S Ninth street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Her graveside service will take place on Monday, January 6, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo. Donations in her memory may be made to the Kalamazoo Latvian Lutheran Church, Latvian Camp Garezers, or Hospice of Kalamazoo. Please visit Veltas's online guest book to leave a condolence, personal message or memory of him/her at https://www.langelands.com.