Dzintars "Chief" Abelite

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Dzintars "Chief" Abelite

AGE: 84 • Island Heights

Dzintars "Chief" Abelite, 84, passed away peacefully in his home on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. He was born in Latvia on a farm. During World War II, at age 16 he was forced to flee Latvia with his father to escape the invading Russian army. With only 30 minutes to get ready, Dzintars, his father and his aunt escaped from the farm in a wagon. His mother and sister stayed to take care of his grandmother who was too ill to leave. Sadly this was the last time he would ever see his mother and it would be over 49 years until he would see his sister again. In 1949, Latvia was formally taken over by the Russians and he had no country to go back to. He applied to and received U.S. acceptance through a work sponsor which allowed him to legally immigrate to the United States in 1950. Within months of arriving, he was drafted and he fought in the Korean War for 2 years. Not being deterred by wars, in 1955 he started his own Masonry Company which employed many friends and neighbors. That is where he got his nickname, the Chief. Abelite Construction Company closed its operation in 1996 and the Chief retired. He lived in Island Heights for 57 years where he had built both of his own homes. He loved playing poker with his good friends, fishing, boating, ballroom dancing and working in the construction trades. Besides his immediate family, he was always helpful and supportive to others. During his vital years, he was very active in the Latvian community center known as Priedaine "a Latvian Cultural Center" in Freehold.

He is survived by his daughter, Astrida Ermanis of Forest Hill, MD; daughter, Ingrid Sywak of Saratoga, CA; son, Ed Abelite of San Jose, CA; son, Paul Abelite of Norwell, MA; his sister, Brigita Abelite of Riga, Latvia; friend, Michael Frankovich of Island Heights; and seven grandchildren, Adam Ermanis, Larisa Ermanis Kamp, Mieka Sywak, Michael Sywak, Tatiana Sywak, Isabella Abelite and Alexander Abelite. He is predeceased by his wife, Maija Abelite; and his parents, Fricis and Elza Abelite.

An internment service will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 6, 2012 at Latvian Memorial Park in Tannersville, NY. Memorial contributions may be made in Dzintars' honor towards the retirement of a Latvian summer camp dining hall set up in the Catskill mountains at the following address: Payable to Astrid Ermanis, 3008 Stillwater Court, Forest Hill, MD 21050. You may sign the "obituary" email "guestbook" at

Published in Asbury Park Press on June 27, 2012
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