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Zigfrids Jirgens, Sr.

January 22, 1930 ~ October 5, 2019 (age 89)
JIRGENS, Zigfrids Sr.
Kalamazoo, MI

Zigfrids Sr, "Zig", of Kalamazoo, MI passed away peacefully October 5, 2019 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Zig was born in Latvia on January 22, 1930 to the parents of Eduards and Lida Jirgens.
Zigfrids immigrated from Latvia in 1950 to Ellis Island with his parents and siblings. From there, the family settled in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Through his apprenticeship in machinery, in Germany, Zig was able to begin the groundwork of his successful career, which led him to be the owner of his own machine shop. While Zig was in Phoenixville, he met Elaine Kovatch, whom later became his wife of 60 years. In 1955, Zig and Elaine moved to Kalamazoo to help support the family farm, and continue his desire to live the American dream. In addition, Zig started his own business in his back garage, which was the building blocks to his successful business of Jirgens Modern Tool, which still continues to operate today. Another accomplishment of Zig's includes being a part of the National Tooling and Machining Association.

Zig had a passion to carry on his heritage and culture by being actively involved in the Latvian community. Some of the important work that he accomplished was being associated with the Latvian Church, Latvian Men's Choir, Garezers, Scout Master, Daugavas Vanagi, and the building of the Kalamazoo Latvian Heritage Center. Zig and Elaine put their heart and soul into seeing the Latvian Heritage Center be built which, fulfilled their love of the Latvian Community.

Some of the enjoyments they had was traveling around the world. Zig's role as President of the Daugavas Vanagi, gave them the opportunity to travel to places such as, Latvia Australia, Canada, England, and Germany. Outside of the Daugavas Vanagi, Zig and Elaine enjoyed traveling across the country and internationally with the family to seek out new adventures. Zig was an avid reader, a Fox News fan, loved to be outside especially mowing his lawn, and spending time with his family.

Zigfrids was preceeded in death by his parents Eduards and Lida Jirgens (Senbergs); his beloved wife Elaine E. Jirgens; and his siblings: Velta Lyons, Arija Smith, Rita Paeglis, Imants Jirgens. He is survived by his children: William (Robin) Jirgens, Maija Jirgens, Ziggy Jirgens, Peter (Chris) Jirgens and Rita Jirgens. He is survived by grandchildren: Dana (Brian) Henige, Jennifer (Tim) Rayman, Ryan Blankenship, Chad Jirgens, Zoe Jirgens-Smalla; great-grandchildren: Morgan and Gavin Rayman and Mason Blankenship. Zigfrids is also survived by his brother Peter (Barb) Jirgens; sister Maija (Corky) Miller; brother-in-law Johnny Kovatch and several nieces and nephews.

The visitation for Zigfrids will take place on Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. located at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. The funeral service will be held on Friday, October 11, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Latvian Heritage Center located at 100 Cherryhill St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006. Friends and family are also welcome an hour prior to the funeral service. Zigfrids Jirgens and the cremains of his beloved wife Elaine E. Jirgens, who passed away in 2011, will be buried together at Riverside Cemetery during a Graveside service at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, October 11, 2019 following the funeral service.

Zig with his wisdom was admired and had a heart of gold, kind soul and to everyone that he knew or met was a memory of his generosity and kindness that will continue. Memorial contributions can be made in honor of Zigfrids to The Latvian Heritage Center, the Daugavas Vanagi through the Latvian Hertiage Center, or to Rose Arbor Hospice.

Please visit Zigs "tribute wall" to leave a condolence, personal message or memory of him at

Donations may be made to:

Latvian Heritage Center of Kalamazoo
100 Cherryhill St, Kalamazoo MI 49006

The Kalamazoo Daugavas Vanagi
100 Cherryhill Street, Kalamazoo MI 49006

Rose Arbor Hospice Care Center
5473 Croyden Ave., Kalamazoo MI 49009

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