94, passed away in Tucson, Arizona on July 14, 2021.
Waly was preceded in death by her parents, Alberts and Leontina Šeibels (Grigarovic); husband, Stanley Krotenberg; sister, Biruta Sintay and son, Albert Sheibels.
Waly was born Valija Šeibels on August 10, 1926, in Riga, Latvia. As a youth Waly enjoyed figure skating, boating, and theater. Waly was especially proud of her father who was a prominent player and coach of the Latvian National Football (soccer) team until WWII. She recalled lovingly polishing her father's soccer boots in advance of every match.
In December 1943, in advance of invading Russian troops Waly and her family fled Latvia and ended up in a refugee camp located in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. While in the camp Waly worked as nurse and translator. In 1947 she married a US soldier and relocated with her family to Tucson, Arizona.
During the late 1940's and throughout the 1950's Waly and her family lived in a house on the foothills of Tumamoc Hill on the west side of Tucson. She worked as surgical nurse at nearby St. Mary's Hospital. She always reflected affectionately about her experiences while working at St. Mary's and was the first to suggest the importance of working hard and keeping everything spotless.
The story goes that Stanley and Waly met at a party in Tucson. They happened to be in the banquet line and both standing near a bowl of rattlesnake dip. They discussed the pros and cons of eating rattlesnake. They both gave it a try. Stanley was in love.
After much chasing, on May 30, 1957, Waly married Stanley Krotenberg. The marriage didn't start like many newlyweds. They honeymooned in Mexico; during which Stanley acquired polio and was hospitalized in Mexico City with paralysis and respiratory failure. With Waly's medical experience, she recognized the severity of the symptoms and contacted the US Embassy who arranged for immediate transport of Stanley to Tucson by an US Airforce plane equipped with an iron lung. Stanley survived that episode and after years of rehabilitation and support from Waly, was left with only a minor disability.
Waly and Stanley opened Abbey Funeral Chapel in 1970. Waly worked tirelessly to build a successful business. For nearly fifty years Waly provided compassionate assistance to families that had lost loved ones. In her spare time Waly owned and operated a beauty salon and flower shop that were located next door to the funeral home. Throughout the day she would walk back and forth tending to the needs of each business.
In 1980 Waly made her first of many trips back to Latvia. After Latvia regained independence in 1991, Waly returned and purchased a home that she would visit every summer. Waly enjoyed spending her summers in Latvia connecting with childhood friends and their families.
Family was very important to Waly. She would be the first to help each one be successful in their chosen endeavors. She believed in hard work, education, and dedication to success.
Waly is survived by her son, Marshall Krotenberg (Patricia); grandchildren, Jessica Taylen (John), Brian Sheibels, Eric Krotenberg, and Hailey Krotenberg; and seven great-grandchildren.
A Visitation in Mrs. Krotenberg's honor will be Friday, July 23, 2021 at ABBEY FUNERAL CHAPEL, 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., Scripture service will be Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at ABBEY FUNERAL CHAPEL, 3435 N. 1st Ave., Tucson, Arizona. Burial at East Lawn Cemetery will be a private event for family only. Arrangements by ABBEY FUNERAL CHAPEL, 520-888-1111.
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Published by Arizona Daily Star on Jul. 22, 2021.