Vija Liepa

Obituary of Vija Liepa

Vija M. Liepa, 91, Indianapolis, passed away on November 21, 2023. She was born Vija Marta Odeiko, on April 25, 1932 in Somerseta, Latvia, to Alberts and Helena Odeiko. Having already lost her father, she and her mother and sister fled the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1944 and lived as refugees, first in Austria and then Germany, where Vija finished high school. In 1950, Vija and her mother immigrated to the United States and settled in Indianapolis. A few months later, Vija began her university studies at Mercyhurst College (now University) in Erie, PA, where she earned her bachelor's degree in science in 1954. Returning to Indianapolis, Vija worked as a medical technician at St Vincent Hospital until her marriage to Leons Liepa in 1958. They lived in Mishawaka, IN and started their family, later moving to Ypsilanti, MI and then Ann Arbor, MI where they raised their four children. Vija became a US citizen in 1956. Vija and Leons lived in Ann Arbor for nearly 40 years where they were active members of St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. After retirement, they moved to Avon, IN to be closer to their daughters and grandchildren and became members of St Malachy Catholic Church. They relocated to a senior living community in Indianapolis in 2020 and became parishioners at St Monica Catholic Church. Vija frequently attended daily Mass and readily joined bible study groups. Vija was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She took great pride in being a homemaker, leveraging her talents in baking, cooking, gardening, and sewing to create a happy and nurturing home for her family. She volunteered at her children's school, at church, and at local soup kitchens. She had a beautiful singing voice, enjoyed attending concerts and listening to classical music and shared her love of music with her children. Vija was a sports fan and especially enjoyed watching the Michigan Wolverines right up to her final days. She and her husband enjoyed traveling, including several pilgrimages to Europe, return visits to Latvia, vacations to Hawaii, Florida, and Arizona, and an annual family vacation to northern Michigan. Vija was proud of her Latvian heritage and was an active member of Dzintars (Latvian Catholic student association). She kept in close contact with relatives and lifelong friends in Latvia and throughout the US and was loved for her dedication to sending birthday and anniversary cards. She was admired throughout her life for her sweet, kind, and generous disposition. Vija is survived by her son Mark (Inara) Liepa of Charlottesville, VA; daughters Andra Liepa of Indianapolis and Astra (Jerry) Bessler of Avon; grandsons Christopher Bessler of San Diego, CA and Andrew Bessler of Avon. She was preceded in death by her son Eric, sister Lidija Odeiko, and husband Leons. On November 30, 2023, visitation will be held at St Monica Catholic Church, Indianapolis beginning at 9:30 am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 am. Interment will be at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Kalamazoo, MI at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to St Vincent de Paul Indianapolis or Catholic Relief Services. Visitation 9:30 am - 11:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2023 St. Monica Catholic Church 6131 Michigan Rd Indianapolis, Indiana, United States 46228 Funeral Mass 11:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2023 St. Monica Catholic Church 6131 Michigan Rd Indianapolis, Indiana, United States 46228
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