April 24, 2012
The Very Rev. Dean Emeritus Vilis Vārsbergs, former president of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Latviešu ev. lut. baznīca Amerika, or LELBA) and former head of the theology program at the University of Latvia, died April 22 in Chicago, according to the church’s website.
Vārsbergs, 82, was born in 1929 in Prauliena, near the city of Madona in eastern Latvia.
He was ordained in 1957 in Michigan and for many years served the Chicago area as pastor of the Zion Latvian Lutheran Church and then of St. Peter’s Latvian Church.
Vārsbergs in 2002 received the Order of Three Stars, Latvia’s highest civilian honor.
A collection of his sermons, Drošākais krasts, was published late last year.
Visitation is scheduled form 5-8 p.m. April 26 at St. Peter’s Latvian Church, 450 Forest Preserve Drive, Wood Dale, Ill. Lying-in-state is scheduled from 2 p.m. April 27 until the 3 p.m. funeral service in the church.
According to LELBA, the Vārsbergs family has requested that memorial donations be made to the Latvian Center Gaŗezers near Three Rivers, Mich., or to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia in Rīga.