Leon Senfelds, age 91, of Fort Atkinson, WI, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
He was born July 31, 1926 to Karlis and Zinaida (Robitsky) Senfelds in Riga, Latvia on the Baltic Sea in Eastern Europe. He spent his childhood in Riga and attended High School in Cesis, a beautiful 13th century town along the Gauja River.
Leon was just a teen when WW II broke out. With Germany to the west and Russia to the east, it was
an unstable and dangerous time. Latvia was under Russian influence at the start of the war, but spent
most of it under German control. Leon left his homeland when Russian troops marched back into the
Baltic States and occupied Latvia for the next 46 years, changing the culture, the agrarian economy and
the chance for Latvia to be independent. After the war ended, Leon found his way to a displaced persons
camp in Germany, where many Latvians had already found temporary asylum.
There he met and married, Aina, his wife of 68 years. When the camp was disbanded, Leon and Aina were
sponsored to come to America by the members of the First Congregational Church of Fort Atkinson.
They arrived in their new home in the summer of 1951. Eight years later they became United States citizens.
Leon first worked for the Larson Co. in Fort Atkinson. Larson's bought vegetables under contract from the surrounding farms and canned them under various labels. Leon, however, looked ahead and saw his future with General Motors. He travelled to and from Janesville almost daily until he convinced GM to hire him. He started as a forklift driver. Leon worked to improve his English and continued his education. He eventually became a Supervisor and retired from General Motors after 39 years of service.
Leon's main interest was his family and his home. Summers were spent grilling in the back yard and swimming in the family pool.
He is survived by his wife, Aina, daughter, Maruta, son, David and his wife, Lynn, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
From his grandchildren:
Every time I would come and visit my Grandpa, he always had a huge smile and a jovial "Hi Mara!"
His smile was contagious. Every visit seemed special. I always felt welcome and wanted. I'll miss that most.
Grandpa loved great food, laughing around the dinner table, and being around his family. Great man, great father, and the greatest grandfather there could ever be!
I am so filled up with wonderful memories of spending time with him and am so grateful for all of it; pancakes in the morning, swimming in the pool, him reading the comics in the morning, all of us watching sports or movies, going to the Fireside on a few special occasions and getting together for holidays.
I have so many happy memories with my grandparents at their home! I loved our swimming days when we would get super hungry, he'd make everyone some pizza and cut it up into little squares for the perfect snack and he was so happy we were all having fun!
I will always remember how selfless he was. As a kid, I remember waking up to find him working away in the kitchen, preparing the world's BEST crepes. He always refused to stop cooking until everyone in the house was full and happy.
The famly wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to Agrace Hospice Care for their kindness and extraordinary care. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to: Agrace Hospice Care at Agrace.org