Mrs. Kranats died Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, at Polson Health and Rehab after a short illness of natural causes.
Milda was born Jan. 17, 1919, in Riga, Latvia.
She was trained as a nurse and married Julius Kranats, a mounted policeman. While living in their native Latvia, they had two sons, Ilgwans, who died of a childhood disease, and John Kranats. In 1945, Milda, Julius and their son John fled to Augsburg, Germany, to escape Communism and lived in a Displaced Persons Camp from 1945 until 1949. Living conditions in the camp were harsh. Several families were forced to live in a single room. John died of pneumonia and their third son, I.J. Kranats, was born in 1946. In January of 1949, Milda, Julius and I.J., with only what they could carry in small individual bags, immigrated to America.
Once again they lived in a single-room garage near Stone Mountain, but they were free. Julius and Milda worked the farm in return for room and board and without pay for more than a year, during which time Julius received an offer, through Piedmont College, to operate their dairy cow operation, and the family moved to Demorest. While living on the college farm, their fourth son, Arnold, was born in 1950. They worked hard and, even in spite of their meager earnings, they were able to purchase their own place and begin the American dream.
Later, during the late ‘50s through the ‘60s, Milda worked as a pediatric nurse at Habersham County Hospital. She assisted and delivered numerous babies, many of whom still live in Habersham County. Because of her nature, she especially paid particular attention to the “preemies” (premature babies); she wanted to give them every chance to grow up strong and healthy. Later she was employed as school nurse at Piedmont College, where she worked until her retirement. Julius died unexpectedly and suddenly in 1983.
Upon retirement she continued working, at a nursing home and as a private duty nurse up into her 80’s. She would occasionally say, “Well, I’ve got to go and look after the old folks” which would normally draw a response from her family, “Mom, you’re older than most of the folks down there.”
She loved people and animals, musicals and travel. She was always kind to everyone and always enjoyed a little harmless mischief. You could always tell when she was about to pull something on you … she would get this little twinkle in her eyes and the slightest smile just before she was about to tell a whopper!
Survivors include sons, I.J. and Peg Brock Kranats of Polson, Mont., Arnold and Pat Burton Kranats of Demorest; grandchildren include Phil and Kim Kranats Duckett and children of Baldwin, Bill and Leigh Kranats Griffin and children of Homer, Chad Kranats of Baldwin, Eric Adams and family of Washington, D.C., Brad Brown and children of Cornelia, Natasha Brown and the late Chad Brown and children. She had 10 great-grandchildren.
The following excerpt, from a book called “Immigrant Soldier – From The Baltics To Vietnam” by Vick Pakis, embodies our mom, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is and will continue to be missed by all.
“The history of the Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, was never fully known nor has it been fully appreciated in the West. The saga is all too real for the refugees and people of this area. It has been overrun and conquered by many differing cultures and rulers, from the time of the Vikings to modern day. The residents have joined together with a fanatical love of freedom and patriotism! Character, patience, love of land, and a certain degree of hard-headedness and courage are their qualities…”
The Northeast Georgian
Wednesday, January 15, 2014