Ilze Knezinskis was born May 22, 1935 in Aluksne, Latvia, the only daughter of Dr. Jekabs and Zenta (Strautzels) Knezinskis. Along with so many others, the family fled after the Soviet Occupation during World War II, arriving at a Displaced Persons’ Camp in Fischbach, Germany, where they lived until emigrating to the U.S. in 1950.
Ilze graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University and from Tufts Medical School, where she met her husband of nearly sixty years, Richard A. Schwartz of Newton, MA, who passed away in 2018.
The young doctors and their growing family settled in Cleveland Heights in 1967, working as psychiatrists first at Fairhill Mental Health Center, next at the Cleveland Clinic and then for many years at the Euclid Clinic, which became part of the University Hospital system.
Dr. Schwartz was very active in the Latvian exile / diaspora community and worked tirelessly in the movement leading up to Latvian Independence in 1991. She helped establish the Latvian Occupation Museum in Riga, as well as generously supporting Latvian cultural, professional, and educational organizations.
Ilze and Richard had a summer home in Michigan since the 1980’s, later moving here. They could often be seen on long walks, gardening, and swimming in the lake. Ilze also loved to read and travel.
Ilze is survived by her three daughters – Anna (Eric Rubin) in New York, Katrina in North Carolina, and Mara (Erik Kore) in Michigan, and grandchildren Lena, Maia, Amanda, David and Rebeka.
In accordance with the family’s wishes no public services will be held at this time.
Memorial donations may be directed to Occupation Museum Fund in America (OMFA) c/o Ilze Resnis, 10830 Nollwood Dr., Chardon, OH 44024, or to Latvian Center Garezers, 57732 Lone Tree Rd., Three Rivers, MI 49093. Envelopes are available and can be mailed to Hohner Funeral Home, PO Box 1018, Three Rivers, MI 49093 in care of arrangements.