Emilia Karosas (née Vasiljevaitė) passed away peacefully at the age of 97 years on February 27, 2021
She is survived by her daughters: Gaile Hileman & Nejolla Korris; her grandchildren: Laurel (Shane) Erickson, Paula Karosas, Lisa Jamieson, Anthony Karosas & Taddes (Sarah) Korris; three great grandchildren: Michael (Celine) Erickson, Kristine (Curtis) Veltman and Matthew Karosas, and four great, great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband George and her son Algirdas.
Emilia was born in Anykščiai, Lithuania on September 30, 1923 to Apolonia & Juozas Vasiljevas. She was the youngest of five children. She and her husband George fled Lithuania in 1944 and lived in Germany where their children Algirdas and Gaile were born. After challenging years living in Saafeld, Selb and the Hanau displaced persons camp in Bavaria, the family left for Canada in 1948. They first settled outside Regina until permanently moving to Edmonton in 1951.
Emilia was an active member of the Lithuanian community in Edmonton, teaching Saturday language school and folk dancing. She spent several years on various committees and her participation continued well into her 90’s, teaching Lithuanian cooking classes. In 2005 she was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for her volunteerism with the Lithuanian community.
She treasured her Lithuanian heritage and instilled a love of the “Tevyne” (Homeland) in her children and grandchildren. She frequently recited verses of Lithuanian poetry from memory, or sang a folk song learned in her childhood. There was no one who embodied a love of her heritage more than Emilia. She published two autobiographies in the early 2000’s, one chronicling her life and family and the other her experiences during the war.
She was a fearless traveler and returned to visit Lithuania several times in her life. The first time was in 1976 during the Soviet occupation. In addition to bringing clothing and medicines for family, she would smuggle in religious fabrics and prayer cards for priests when it was illegal for Christians to practice religion during Soviet times. She and George celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together in Lithuania in 1994 shortly after the nation regained its independence.
Through the years there were many driving vacations throughout Canada and the US. At the age of 89 Emilia travelled to New York to attend her grandson Taddes’ convocation and graduation recital at the Manhattan School of Music. She rode the subway, shopped, and toured the city with great enthusiasm.
Everyone was always welcome in her home. She loved people and enjoyed entertaining friends. She especially loved her grandchildren and looked after all of them while they were growing up. Emilia loved animals and with her husband George raised many dachshunds who were spoiled by her kind heart. She also enjoyed gardening, petit point, fishing, playing cards, watching hockey and cooking.
A funeral service and celebration of life will be held at a future date. The family is grateful to the staff at Capital Care Dickensfield Unit 3D for ensuring Emilia’s comfort in her last days.
Serenity Funeral Service
North Central Chapel