Charles A. (Charlie) Maurins died on Monday, December 28, 2009, at Gulf Health Care Center in Texas City. Charles, or Charlie as he was affectionately known, was born in Latvia on January 7, 1917. He graduated 2nd in his class from the Latvian War School Academy in 1938, attaining the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
During World War II, he fought for the Latvian and German Armies against the Russian Army invasion of the Baltic States. During this bloody campaign, he received the Distinguished Iron Cross for his bravery in action. He was a prisoner of war for 12 months after the war, before being freed and settling in Luebeck, Germany. It was here that he met Velta Brolis, his future wife of 47 years. They were married on April 14, 1947, and moved to London, England, where Charles went to work for the Latvian Embassy until 1957. It was during this time that Charles and a couple of other Latvian friends established the Latvian organization, “Daugavas Vanagu” which continues today with over 250 chapters around the world. While in London, Charlie and Velta had two sons, Robert and Peter. Also during his free time, Charlie helped coach the English National Basketball Team that competed in the 1948 Olympics in London.
In 1957, Charles and family immigrated to the United States so that they could be together with Velta’s family in Philadelphia, PA. While in Philadelphia, Charles worked as a carpenter during the day and went to night school to become an industrial engineer. After graduating, he was hired by Anglo-American Properties, a real estate firm, with hotels in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Florida, and Oklahoma. In 1965, he was promoted to Property Manager of the hotels in Mississippi and Florida and moved his family to Biloxi, Mississippi, where he was headquartered at the Edgewater Gulf Hotel. In 1967, The American National Insurance Company bought the properties in Mississippi and kept Charles as their property manager.
In 1969, Hurricane Camille, a Class V hurricane, hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast causing widespread devastation and over 300 deaths. During the aftermath of the storm, the Edgewater Gulf Hotel, which survived the storm, was used to house over 1000 homeless people as well as many of the reconstruction workers that came from all over the country. Charlie never left the hotel during this critical time, and for his efforts in the recovery process, he was appointed and commissioned an honorary colonel on the Governor’s staff by Mississippi governor John Bill Williams on August 8, 1970.
In late 1970, ANICO decided to close the Edgewater Hotel. During the transition, Dr. Leon Bromberg, the owner of the Galvez Hotel in Galveston, asked Charlie if he would manage his hotel, which Charlie accepted. He moved his family to Galveston and took over as General Manager in May 1970. Over the next 10 years, Charlie was very active in promoting tourism for Galveston Island and the Galvez hotel. He served as the president of the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1976-1978. He was a director of the Texas Hotel and Motel Association and an active member of the Rotary Club of Galveston. He especially enjoyed being involved with the Sunday Morning Coffee Club which met at Christie’s Beachcomber. Charlie was very vocal in expressing his views on communism and its effect on the family he lost, his homeland, and the world.
In 1980, Dr. Bromberg sold the Galvez Hotel and Charlie took over as General Manager of the Flagship Hotel. He worked there from 1980-1985 and remained very active in promoting tourism and golf for the island. In 1985, Charlie decided to become a management consultant for the hotel/motel industry and worked for numerous business owners in Galveston, Texas City, and Athens, Texas. He was a tireless, energetic, and loyal businessman. He was of the Lutheran faith and attended First Lutheran Church of Galveston and then Trinity Lutheran Church of La Marque.
Charles was preceded in death by his wife, Velta, and her brother, Edgar and wife, Elfreda Brolis. He leaves behind to cherish his memory sons, Robert and Peter Maurins, of Galveston; daughter, Ilze Freidberg of Riga, Latvia; grandsons, Matthew Maurins, of Montgomery, Texas, Robbie Maurins of Galveston; Ansis Freidberg, of Munich, Germany, and great grandsons, Juri and Ansis, Jr., Janis Freidberg and wife, Melissa; and great granddaughter, Reyna, of Houston, Texas. He also leaves behind his cherished Latvian family on the East Coast: Gert and Monika Koerner, Imants and Velga Brolis; Viesturs and Hope Brolis; Mara and Don Silinski; and Ina Brolis; and their children and grandchildren.
Charles also wanted to give thanks to Mattis and Genesse Tilts; Bob Shattuck and Sissy Jacovich; and Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Corella for all their kindness and friendship over the years. Charlie’s family would also like to thank the 3rd floor progressive care staff at Mainland Center Hospital for their compassionate care during his time there, as well as A-Med Hospice and the staff at Gulf Health Care Center.
It was Charlie’s wish to be cremated and to be interred next to his loving wife, Velta, at the Latvian Cemetery in Elka Park, New York, during a private ceremony in May. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, any contributions to Charlie’s memory be made to the Latvian Relief Fund of America, Inc., P O Box 8857, Elkins Park, PA 19027-0857.