Vambola Raig

January 22, 1931 ~ April 28, 2022 (age 91)

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Vambola Raig, died peacefully at home on April 28, in Elva, Estonia. He was 91 years old. Vambola was born in Polva, Estonia, to Evald and Hilda (nee Johanson) Raig on January 22, 1931. His father, a captain in the Estonian Army, was arrested by the Soviets in June of 1941 and deported to a prison camp, never to be seen again. Years later it was learned that he was shot to death after repeated interrogations at the camp.

Vambola escaped the communists in 1944, fleeing his homeland with his Aunt Aino, Uncle Teo, and two-year -old cousin, Ene, painfully leaving his mother, brother, and grandmother behind due to illness. Vambola lived in the Geislingen DP camp near Stuttgart, Germany, until emigrating to the U.S. in February 1949.

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January 1951 and honorably discharged four years later with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Vambola was admitted as a citizen of the U.S. on April 26, 1954 through naturalization. He met Pauline G. Archambault at a Saturday night dance in Boston, MA, and after a whirlwind courtship, they married on October 2, 1954 in Fargo, ND.

Soon, Vambola found himself living in Parma Heights, Ohio, attending Case Institute of Technology while working full time at Case Computing Center. He graduated in 1970 with a B.S. in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1970, a living example to his children of the value of an education.


After Estonia declared independence in 1991, Vambola joined his brother, Neeme, in purchasing the Tartu Leivakombinaat (Bread Factory) and began to split his time between the U.S. and Estonia. The company operated as Pere Leib (Family Bread) from 1994 until 2005.

Fulfilling a promise Vambola made to Pauline in a 1954 letter, he sought out a priest from the Immaculate Conception Parish in Tartu, Estonia, and asked to be received into the Catholic Church. After a short period of instruction, Vambola received the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation on January 3, 2018, proclaiming “I am now officially a Catholic- how about that!”

Vambola was preceded in death by his wife Pauline G. (nee Archambault); his parents Evald and Hilda Raig; his brother Rudi Raig; and his aunt and uncle, Aino and Teo Koivastik.

Vambola was the loving father of Mike (Kathleen), Jeff (Mary Kay), Mary (Matthew), and Sue (Rob); cherished Grampa to Sara (Joe), the late Anthony (Claire), Stephen (Amanda), Ene (Evan), Aileen (Joe), Michelle (Patrick), Erin (Dennis), Angela, Christine (Tom), Stephen, Joseph (Lindsay), Kaie, Jeffery (Josefa), the late Matthew, Mollie (Joshua), Katie, Maria, Rebecca, Michael, Grace, and Annie; dearest Great Grampa to 31; brother to Neeme and the late Rudy Raig; brother-in-law to Bill (Beth) Calabro; Uncle to many nieces and nephews; and loving companion to Maret, at his side at the time of his birth to eternal life.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516. Mass of Christian Burial Friday May 27, 2022 St. Joseph Catholic Church, 12700 Pearl Road Strongsville at 10:00AM. Internment Woodvale Cemetery. Friends received THURSDAY  6 – 8 PM at the A. RIPEPI & SONS FUNERAL HOME, 18149 BAGLEY ROAD, MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS (WEST OF I-71).

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


May 26, 2022

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
18149 Bagley Road
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

Mass of Christian Burial
May 27, 2022

10:00 AM
12700 Pearl Road
Strongsville, OH 44136

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