Ajijic resident Aivars Taurins died March 3 at the age of 80.
Taurins was born in Latvia on November 14, 1938. His entire family, including his parents, Arnolds and Elza-Karline, and maternal grandmother, Karline, fled Latvia in October 1944 upon the occupation of Riga by Stalin’s Red Army.
They ended up in what eventually became West Germany. The subsequent years living in refugee camps in Germany were not easy.
In 1947, his father went to the United Kingdom while his family stayed behind. They finally reunited in 1948.
Aivars and his brother Andris attended a very primitive primary school in their new country. The whole family had to learn English and the children had to catch up on their education. Two years later, Aivars took the 11+ examination and passed it with flying colors. In 1957, he was accepted by the prestigious Imperial College of Science and Technology in London where he graduated as a petroleum engineer. He had played rugby at school, then for the Royal School of Mines for a couple of years and represented the Trinidad and Tobago Rugby XV at the international level.
Upon graduation, Aivars secured employment with Tesoro in Trinidad, West Indies where he met Sheila, whom he later married. His career flourished and he embarked on a exciting life, which saw the couple living in Iran, Singapore, Bahrain, Libya, Bolivia and Colombia.
Aivars and Sheila had three children: Alison, Andy and Neil. Sheila died in 1999, when he was due to retire. His daughter Alison passed away in 2006, aged 41, leaving a small child, Elza Mara.
Aivars had always intended to move to Ajijic when he retired, having enjoyed holidays there.
Aivars married his second wife Amelia in 2007, and they enjoyed a wonderfully happy marriage until his death.
Aivars was a charismatic character and made friends wherever he went. His British sense of humor will never be forgotten by all the people he touched. He will always be remembered as a fun, joyful and generous man. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends all over the world, including his beloved pets, Brutus, Lucy, Messi and Wanda.
Aivars is survived by his wife, his brother Andris, his two children, Andy and Neil, his grandchildren, Hannah, Emma, Lucas and Elza Mara, and an extended family in the United Kingdom, including the children of his beloved sister, Mara, who passed away in 2009.
His family is planning a celebration of his life at a future date.