April 27, 1922 – November 10, 2017
Emma (Versis) Kukors was born in Bilska, Latvia, on April 27, 1922. In her early 20s, she fled her homeland ahead of the Russian invasion. She and her husband, Matvejs, were assigned to a work camp in Ludwigsburg, Germany, where their daughter Elza was born in 1945. In November 1950 they emigrated to the United States and, after stops in Massachusetts and Illinois, they settled on Vashon Island in 1952 after hearing of work available at Beall’s Greenhouse. Emma and Matvejs worked at Beall’s, joined later by their daughter Elza and son Pete, until the greenhouse closed and, in 1984 at age 62, Emma began working at Pacific Research on Vashon, from where she retired at age 93 in 2015. At her retirement, she received a plasticine knee from Pacific Research, touting her amazing accomplishment of “making a million knees” for the company while she worked there.
Emma was proud to have completed citizenship and English classes, and on April 1, 1963, she became a U.S. citizen and spoke English fluently, though still spoke Latvian when in conversation with her children and friends.
Emma enjoyed gardening and sharing photos and proud moments of her children and grandchildren. But her favorite hobby was baking. Many islanders remember Emma’s poppyseed cakes and beautiful wedding cakes, and Emma enjoyed sharing photos of these masterpieces with visitors.
Emma stayed in touch with other Latvian emigres both on Vashon and through the Latvian community in Tacoma and Seattle, mostly via the Latvian Cultural Center in Northgate. As her fellow Latvians passed on, she kept in touch and remained friends with their sons and daughters.
Emma was a proud mother to Elza and Pete as well as her five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Matvejs in 1996.
A celebration of Emma’s life will be held at Vashon Island Community Church on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at 3:00 p.m.
All are welcome to join us and share their memories of Emma with us.
In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial donation to one of the following:
Providence Hospice of Seattle Foundation,
2811 S. 102nd St., Suite 220, Tukwila, WA 98168
Latvian Cultural Center, 11710 Third Ave. N.E. , Seattle, WA 98115