Arianna Pocs, 93, Washington

Staff Writer
East Peoria Times-Courier

WASHINGTON — Arianna Anita Pocs, 93, peacefully completed her journey to God’s Garden and passed away on May 26, 2016, with her beloved daughter by her side. 

The second of eight surviving children of Jazeps and Tekla Bratuskins, Arianna’s story began near the village of Vilaka, in the northeastern part of Latvia’s Latgale province. Never one for convention or complacency, she traded her place on the family farm for life in the big city at age 16 — the first in a number of significant moves that shaped the foundation of her life.

After spending several happy years in Riga, Latvia, as the devastation and chaos of WWII drew closer, in the summer of 1944, Arianna fled to Germany, where son Arvids was born. Always one to improve her situation by identifying and seizing opportunity, Arianna set sail for Australia in 1950. It was there that she met and married Konstantins Pocs, with whom she had daughter Lilija, eventually settling in the Sydney suburb of Panania. When the opportunity to move to the U.S. was realized in 1962, Arianna, along with Konstantins and Lilija, emigrated to Chicago, Illinois.

After putting herself through Freeman Business School she worked in the accounting department at the Crane Packing Company in Morton Grove, Illinois, until retirement. In 2002 Arianna moved to Easy Street in Washington, Illinois, to be closer to family. She remained there until her final move to the Richard L. Owens Hospice Home on March 25, 2016 — Good Friday.

Arianna is survived by daughter Lilija (Roger) Stevens; grandsons Thomas (Courtney Leestma) Stevens, Adam Stevens; great-grandson Matthew Stevens; sister Janina Sprukule of Latvia; and the many future generations who will hear her story.

She is preceded in death by parents Tekla and Jazeps Bratuskins; son Arvids; brothers, sisters; and husbands.

Throughout her life she remained in correspondence with family that remained in Latvia, though she did not return until circumstances allowed following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Her first return to Latvia was in 1990, accompanied by her daughter Lilija. Her second and final return was in 2003, this time accompanied by grandsons Adam and Thomas. Arianna frequently spoke of these visits with fondness for the family that welcomed her back with open arms, and with pride that she was able to bridge the gap between family separated by oceans, continents, time, and language.

While those closest to Arianna may never completely comprehend just how extraordinary her life was, those even slightly acquainted with her certainly appreciated and understood just how unique of a person she was. A global transplant multiple times over, she was fiercely independent and strong, only allowing her life to progress on her own terms.

Arianna consistently remained socially active, thoroughly enjoying the company of family, friends and neighbors. She served on various Chicago Latvian church committees and Latvian organizations. She also enjoyed participating in the St. Patrick’s monthly senior potlucks while in Washington.

A funeral service was at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, 2016, at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory in Washington.  Father Steve Willard officiated. Visitation was from 12-1 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Glendale Cemetery in Washington.

Memorials may be made to St. Patrick Church or to OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria.

Arianna’s memorial website is available at where condolences may also be sent to the family.