(January 2, 1934 - August 26, 2021)
Born on January 2, 1934 in Rezekne, Latvia. He was the youngest son of Karlis and Alma Repins, with older brothers Elmars and Gunars. They fled Latvia during the German and Russian invasions of World War II. With a path toward Western Allies, they found refuge in Germany. It was there, where Ojars attended intermediate school and first met a fellow Latvian student named Rita. In June of 1950, his family was sponsored by a farmer in Wisconsin, so they immigrated to America. He graduated from High School in Milton, Wisconsin. In 1953, he joined the US Army. In 1954, he was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, CO. Ironically, Rita's family also immigrated to America, but had settled in Denver. Rita had enrolled in college and was studying nursing. It was in Colorado Springs, at a USO dance, where Ojars spotted his former classmate from Germany, and their romance began. Ojars completed his military service in 1956 and entered the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1957 Ojars and Rita were married. Together they raised a family of four and years later in July of 2021, celebrated their 64th Wedding Anniversary.
Throughout their married years, he was employed by the State of Wisconsin Labor Department. He was involved with many organizations serving the private sector. He helped organize Labor Law seminars for Wisconsin employers. Prior to his retirement, he was a member of the International Association of Workforce Professionals, and served for years as the Wisconsin Chapter President. In 1993, just after Latvia broke free from Russian rule, he traveled back to his native country to help with the workforce and economy there. His actions helped set up Latvia's Civil Service System and establish the first IAPES European Chapter in Latvia.
In the 90's, Ojars made quite a few trips to Latvia visiting relatives; yet with every trip it seemed he always had another thought for helping Latvian workers. One time, he saw a field next to our family property and connected a Wisconsin cranberry farmer to the Latvian farmer; another time, he carried 4 lbs. of pine and spruce seeds from our DNR to the Latvian Agricultural University for regenerating the growth of post war forests. He loved the US and he wanted to share the ideas of a hard-working, democratic government. He even helped a young, talented hockey player find his way to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and achieve the dream of his lifetime here in Wisconsin. Most of Ojars' life was lived in Wisconsin, but he maintained his Latvian roots attending many cultural events, including those with his Latvian Fraternity brothers. Beginning in college, he was an active member of the Latvian Fraternity Imantica for his entire life.
Hunting and fishing were sports he shared with his Latvian brothers, as well as his American colleagues. He always enjoyed hunting and fishing. He even taught his children and grandchildren how to fish. He had a passion for other sports as well. His athletic drive was also perhaps what motivated him to create the Winter season backyard ice rinks. He introduced the game of ice hockey to his sons. He would drive to hockey tournaments for his sons, as well as his granddaughters. He enjoyed traveling, especially when he was in the driver's seat! Every summer he drove his family across the country on a vacation. In retirement, he and Rita continued driving throughout the US to visit family members and attend IAPES conferences with guests from Latvia. He was always ready, willing and able to drive somewhere!
He quietly passed away on Thursday, August 26, 2021 leaving a resounding legacy.
Ojars was a loving Husband of Rita, a devoted Father of Anita (Tony), Ivars Roberts (Teri), Edvards Andris (Lori) and Nora. He was a tender Grandfather of Viktorija, Maija, Stephanie, Jana, Kelsey, Andris, Kirstin, Martins and Lindsey, and a dear Great Grandfather of Laila, Jackson, Kalvis, Camille and Cole.
He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Ojars' honor to either the Wisconsin Stars and Stripes Honor Flight or the Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association for ongoing research and support.
Ojars always believed it was a privilege to serve his country; and throughout his entire life, he was consciously kind to everyone he met, may he now rest in God's peace.
A Memorial Service will be held on September 18, 2021.
Visitation 10:30 am
Service 11:30 am
Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church
1853 N. 75th St.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
His ashes will he ceremoniously placed at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery near Union Grove, WI.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ojars Janis Repins, please visit our floral store.