Date of Death: July 12, 2021
A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at Riverside Cemetery, 101 Jefferson Ave., Three Rivers, MI 49093 with Rev. Charles “Fred” Laughlin officiating.
Anita Valda Kalnmals – age 50 of Chicago, Illinois – passed away at her home on July 12, 2021. She was born in Chicago on October 7, 1970 to Rudolfs & Ruta (Eglitis) Kalnmals and was preceded in death by her parents. She leaves to cherish her memory her brothers – Andrejs (Judy), of Three Rivers, Michigan, and Davids (Karen), of Chicago, Illinois – as well as her nephews Christopher, Erik, and Ryan and her nieces Liena and Julia.
She divided her childhood between her family’s three-flat at 1934 N. Hoyne in Chicago and their summer home in Three Rivers, Michigan. One of her fondest memories of spending the summers in Michigan was waiting at the rock on the corner of Zemgale and Day waiting for her dad to come on Friday evenings. That was where her fondness for Michigan ended…as she grew older, she much preferred being in Chicago. She loved spending time with her friends and being in the city.
Growing up, she spent Sundays with her family – mornings at the Latvian Baptist Church of Chicago, which held their services in Oak Park, and evenings at Grandma’s house. It made for a full day, but any time spent with family was time well spent.
Later, Andy started attending Armitage Baptist Church and soon thereafter, David and then Anita joined him. It was the ministry of Armitage that led the boys to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. One evening in the basement apartment at the family’s house on Hoyne, Wayne – a friend from Armitage – clearly shared the gospel with Anita. She then asked Jesus to forgive her sins and accepted Him and His free gift of eternal life.
Even after Andy & David moved on and began serving their Savior at other churches in Chicago, Anita continued to attend Armitage. For a few years later in her life, she attended New Life Covenant Church, but she always considered Armitage “home.” The last service she attended in-person was at Armitage, Easter Sunday 2021.
Her favorite places in the Bucktown neighborhood where she grew up were Sam’s Hot Dog stand and John’s Pizza. Since the family didn’t have a lot of money, meals from Sam’s and John’s were always special treats. She also loved Holstein Park.
She graduated from Roberto Clemente High School in 1988 and from Truman City College in 1990, with a degree in early childhood education. She had many jobs working at daycare centers and enjoyed making crafts with the kids almost as much as they did.
When her mom and dad moved to Michigan in 1999, she got her first apartment by herself. Over the years, she lived in several other apartments, including one that she shared with Ramona and another one that she shared with a woman in Des Plaines. She always said she wanted to move back to Des Plaines, since it was a nice area.
In recent years, Anita went through some hard times – she lost her job and apartment, and eventually ended up spending several months in a women’s shelter. While living at the shelter, she volunteered at a daycare center down the street and would make bulletin boards to decorate the entryway.
She made some friends during her time at the shelter and when she was finally able to get on SSI, she returned to the shelter every week and made crafts with the ladies. She was always eager to share what she had with those who didn’t, since she knew what it was like to live without.
She loved to be out and about. Shopping was a favorite pastime and her favorite stores were Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Dollar Tree. She was very creative and was always looking for new ideas for crafts to make. When she had to start using a cane to help her get around, she would decorate her cane differently for most every holiday of the year.
When she came to Michigan, she liked to play games with her family and would always ask to go to Walmart and the cemetery to visit mom and Pops.
She loved to celebrate the holidays and her birthday. Many times, she planned a birthday party at Pete’s Pizza on Western and invited her friends to come and celebrate with her. She loved to get her nieces and nephews pinatas to celebrate their birthdays and once dressed up as a clown for Liena’s birthday – too bad Liena was afraid of clowns!
One of her favorite holidays was Halloween. She would decorate big time, wear a costume, went trick-or-treating well into her adult years!
Anita would come to Michigan for holiday weekends and would ride with Andy’s family. The last few trips with Andy included multiple pit stops and was always a time for her to open up and share her struggles, challenges, good times, and dreams of things she wanted to do – but probably couldn’t. She liked to reminisce about the “good old days” when life was simpler and less complicated. The next holiday drive to Three Rivers will certainly be much different without Anita.
She was really looking forward to celebrating her 50th birthday in 2020, but when COVID hit, her birthday party was put on hold. She said she would celebrate it in 2021. Unfortunately, while we will not be able to celebrate her 51st birthday with her, she will get to have a party in heaven with mom and Pops!
During the pandemic when she was stuck in her apartment, she made crafts to pass the time – wall decorations, door hangers, wreaths, masks to match her decorated cane, and so on. She loved to share with others; she often used her crafts to decorate the lobby of her apartment building and made door decorations for some of her neighbors as well.
She loved being outdoors and would often go to the park or beach to sit and listen to her music. She regularly asked Judy for advice on her various crafts and would always share pictures of her creations through texts.
She will be missed by all of us and the special memories we have of the funny things she did or said will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
John 14: 1-3
Memorial donations may be directed to the Kalnmals Family c/o Andy Kalnmals. Donations collected will be distributed to a local shelter in Chicago.
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