Cover photo for Tiina Liiv's Obituary
Tiina Liiv Profile Photo
1937 Tiina 2023

Tiina Liiv

August 26, 1937 — November 5, 2023

Tiina M. Liiv, 86, of Middletown, RI, passed away peacefully at home on November 5, 2023. She was the wife of the late H. Henry "Hank" Liiv. Born in Tartu, Estonia, on August 26, 1937, she was the daughter of the late Elmar and Mari (Müür) Ülper. Tiina was forced to flee Estonia as a young child as Russian forces invaded Estonia near the end of WWII, and lived in a DP (displaced persons) camp in Augsburg, Germany, for several years before emigrating to the United States and settling in Seabrook, NJ.

Tiina attended the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) before moving to Philadelphia with her lifelong friend (and fellow state volleyball champ) Aili Labidas, where she worked as a social worker in the City. She met Hank at a dance at the Eesti Maja (Estonian House) in NYC and married him in 1961, when she began the work of raising a family. The family moved frequently to support Hank's career at General Electric, including several years spent in Angers, France. In 1974, Hank left GE and he and Tiina settled in Middletown, RI. Together, they founded International Manufacturing Services, Inc. (IMS), in Portsmouth, RI, a thick film technology company that has grown into a global leader in the field and where Tiina served as Vice President of Finance for almost 40 years.

Tiina traveled extensively with Hank throughout their 51-year marriage, one of the highlights being their return to Estonia in 1991 in the early wake of the country's freedom from almost 50 years of illegal Russian occupation.

She treasured her strong, lifelong community of Estonian women friends with whom she remained connected throughout her life. She read widely and was fascinated by etymology and grammatical rules, circling mistakes in the newspaper with glee. Tiina was a chef and gourmand and was especially adept at Estonian cuisine. She was famous for her lihapiroukad, kapsa leib, seljanka, hakkliha kaste, rabarberikook, and piparkoogid. Until the last few years of her life, she and her family still gathered in early December to make verivorstid for the Christmas Eve meal.

Tiina was delighted by the natural world, especially her beloved birds and the ocean shore, although she deeply hated squirrels. She savored summer afternoons when she could rock on the porch and watch her family swim in the sea, play kickball, or put on dance shows. She loved classical music, especially opera and Frederica von Stade, but also Clyde McCoy, Nina Simone, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Orchestra Baobob. She found politics exasperating -- RI politics in particular - but also endlessly absorbing, and she knew to her core what a privilege it was to have the freedom to vote, demonstrate, and speak openly without fear of deportation or death.

Tiina is survived by Karin E. Liiv and her husband Rev. John E. Holt, of Middletown, RI; A. Mark Liiv, his wife Erin Liiv, and their children Kai Liiv and Maisie McDermott, of Bodega, CA; Aini Lee Maripuu and Eric Leslie of Middletown; Loit Maripuu, of Ann Arbor, MI; Julie Holt, Andrew Kambour, and Samantha and Phoebe Kambour-Holt of Washington, DC; Theo Holt, Breanna Draxler, and Osier and Calder Draxler of Seattle, WA; Megan MacDonald and Sam and Malcolm Trott of Amesbury, MA; Teresa, John, and Colin MacDonald of Middletown; and her extremely spoiled grandcat Pako.

Besides her husband and parents, Tiina was preceded in death by her daughter, Ingrid Kai Liiv, and her sister, Reet Maripuu.

A Service of Remembrance will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at 11:00 AM in Calvary Methodist Church, 200 Turner Road, Middletown. Burial will be private.

Donations in her memory may be made to The Boston Estonian Society ( or the Aquidneck Island Land Trust (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Tiina Liiv, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, April 20, 2024

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