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Valdur Koitmaa


1930 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Valdur Koitmaa Obituary
Valdur Koitmaa
Mar. 5, 1930 - May 7, 2018
San Jose
Valdur Koitmaa passed away peacefully at home in San Jose California at the age of 88 after a courageous battle against the onslaught of Alzheimers.
Born in Tallinn, Estonia in 1930, Valdur's life there was shaped by his boyhood experiences which he chronicled in his memoir "Places I Called Home." One highlight for Valdur was choosing the new family name which was a patriotic move in Estonia. "Koitmaa" was a combination of two words meaning "sunrise" and "dawn". He also shared the harrowing experience of leaving Estonia in 1944 with his parents and his sister's family on a military craft headed for Germany, as Russia and Germany vied for control of Estonia during WWII. Displaced, and navigating war torn Europe as a teenager, Valdur took on many responsibilities for his family. His fluency in many languages proved invaluable.
Valdur and his parents arrived in America in 1951. He was drafted into the army, and began his service in 1953. While he had expected to receive orders for the war effort in Korea, he was called upon to serve with the U.S. NATO forces in Germany.
Upon his discharge in 1955, Valdur entered into what he described as "The Carefree Years." He moved to Turlock CA, and soon met the love of his life Susan Werth in Modesto CA. In June of 1957 they were married in Hastings MN and enjoyed more than 60 years together. After the wedding they returned to California, and moved to San Jose. He began working for Monsanto and continued on with them through his retirement. Valdur and Susan welcomed sons David, Mark, Joel and Andrew to their home in the Almaden Valley. Valdur loved to create - a trait he passed on to his children, and he regularly recruited them for projects, including building a family cabin in Pinecrest.
In 1992 Valdur was finally able make his first trip back to his homeland, the year after what is called the Singing Revolution in which Estonia regained its independence from the Soviet Union.
Valdur was a member since the start of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in San Jose, and could often be found there, on a ladder fixing things, or part of a crew performing regular maintenance.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Susan Koitmaa of San Jose, sons Mark (Sylvia) of San Jose, Joel of Livermore, and Andrew (Jill) Koitmaa of Reno NV, as well as granddaughters Cierra and Larissa Koitmaa of Reno NV.
He is also survived by his niece Helen (Bob) Holly of Turlock CA and nephew Jack (Linda) Loo of Mission Viejo CA.
Valdur was preceded in death by his parents, Peeter and Triin Koitmaa, and son and daughter-in-law, David and Lee Anna Koitmaa.
A memorial service will be held at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 1281 Redmond Avenue, San Jose, CA on Friday, May 18th at 1:00 PM, with burial to follow at Oak Hill Memorial Park, 300 Curtner Avenue, San Jose, CA.


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 17, 2018
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