Laimdota Sefers was born in Riga, Latvia on February 17, 1924. In Latvia ‘Laima’ is the goddess of fortune and ‘dota’ is a giver. True to her name and calling Laima loved to be with people; she cared for and comforted everyone that she came in contact with. We were all richer for having had a bit of “Laima” in our lives. Her story began a long way from Castlegar. Laima and her sister Daina were raised by their grandparents in Latvia and experienced a rich and varied life that ranged from opera and concerts in Riga, the capital city, to summers working on the family farm in Carnikava.
During the Second World War Laima and Daina fled Latvia and made their way to Germany. At the end of the war their English fluency allowed them both to go to Leeds, England to take their nurses training. As it turned out, Laima and her sister were not the only Latvians to emigrate to England. Laima was reunited with Aigars (Tom) Allis, a childhood friend. Laima and Aigars had played in the sandbox together and from the stories they tell, there was an early attraction.
Laima and Aigars married in 1950 and, seeking a better life, sailed to Canada in 1956 with their daughter Linda and the family dog in tow. Their first stop was the Northern Ontario mining town of Kearns where Aigars worked at the Keradison Gold Mine. Several moves in Northern Ontario mining district followed and the family grew with daughter Karina and son Martin. Other Latvians had also moved to work in northern Ontario, Laima and Aigars were involved in the Latvian choir and had a lively circle of friends. Eventually, Aigars obtained a position as a design draftsman with Cominco (Trail, B.C.) and the family + dog drove across Canada in March of 1963, living on the meat pies that Laima had made.
They bought a house in Castlegar and Laima embraced all that the West Kootenay’s had to offer. She took French and geology at Selkirk College, started downhill and cross-country skiing, and participated in community organizations. These included the International Society, Welcome Wagon, Arts Council, West Kootenay Naturalists, the Castlegar Quilters and Weavers Guilds, as well as becoming a long serving volunteer at the Castlegar Public Library.
Laima loved her family, her dogs and cats, her flower garden, and music- especially opera and classical. Life near Zuckerberg’s Island also allowed her daily walks with her dogs, regular chatting with neighbours and, when the weather and river water level permitted, swimming in the Columbia.
With Aigar’s retirement in 1982, the two enjoyed a charmed life marked by close family and friends, good health, and the time (and ability) to travel and work on Laima’s magnificent flower garden and ongoing craft and quilting projects. Laima was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, and although her memory and language were affected it did not affect her cheerful outlook. Right to the end, December 3, 2012, Laima responded to each smile with her own sweet smile. We will miss you always. Aigars; Linda,
Tom and Berend Kessler; Karina, Jim and Arija Fisher