Cover photo for Dr. Uldis Smidchens's Obituary
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1938 Dr. 2023

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

July 13, 1938 — February 16, 2023


Dr. Uldis Smidchens, age 84, of Portage passed away February 16, 2023 at his home. He was born July 13, 1938 in Riga, Latvia to the late Fricis and Vilma (Abele) Smidchens.

Uldis emigrated to the United States from Latvia after the Second World War. He attended and received a Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University, Master's Degree from the University of Wisconsin, and PhD from the University of Michigan in 1968, where he met his future wife, the former Ilze Dzeguze. Thereafter, the couple moved to Portage, Michigan, and he began his tenure as a Professor of Educational Leadership at Western Michigan University. Uldis served in this capacity for 30 years until his retirement on January 2, 1999. In 1983, he was awarded the WMU Distinguished Teaching Award—he was well respected and appreciated by his former students and continued to receive letters of appreciation even until now. Uldis was a family man who valued those around him, especially his grandchildren. He was proud of his Latvian heritage and was sure to share stories to ensure generations after would know the history of their family.

Uldis was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Ilze Smidchens; brother Indulis Smidchens; sister, Dace (Harijs) Friss; and son-in-law, Dr. Vinay Reddy.

He is survived by his children, Laila (Valdis) Kalnins, Laura Smidchens, and Eriks Smidchens; grandchildren, Roberts and Viktors Kalnins, and Magdalena, Annika, and Sabine Smidchens; sister-in-law, Ilze Smidchens; and life partner, Ligita Samsons.

Cremation will take place and services will be held at a later date at the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran United Church. Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran United Church or the Latvian Center Garezers.

To order memorial trees in memory of Dr. Uldis Smidchens, please visit our tree store.


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