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*July 7, 1917 Tallinn, Estonia - † January 12, 2020, Pompton Plains, NJ




At the age of 102, Dr. Aino Tuul Kaevats passed away on January 12, 2020 at her home in the Cedar Crest retirement community in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Her beloved daughter, Mall, was by her side.

Aino was born in Tallinn, Estonia on July 7, 1917 to Karl and Alvine (Nigul) Pärn.

During World War II, her younger brother Endel, at the age of 21, was arrested in 1941 and killed by the Soviet Army for his anti-Communist activities. Her father was deported to a Siberian Gulag labor camp, where he died.

Aino’s strong faith carried her through many difficult times. She married her first husband, Harald Tuul, on December 6, 1941. After graduating from Tartu University Medical School in Estonia in 1942, she worked alongside Harald, who was also a medical doctor, until the war separated them. Aino, her mother Alvine and daughter Mall, lived in European refugee camps for five years, where Aino worked as a doctor until they were sponsored to come to the United States.


Aino’s mother lived with Aino on Long Island, New York, until her death at age 103.

After several years of work, Aino was re-licensed as a doctor in New York. She was accepted to the American Board of Anesthesiology in 1960 and had a deeply fulfilling career in this new and exciting field of medicine. She even traveled abroad as a doctor, including spending one month in Afghanistan in 1966, teaching and collaborating with physicians there.

Despite many attempts, Aino was unable to reunite with her husband Harald Tuul, who had been captured by the Soviet Army during the war and sent to Siberia, where he later died.


After many years alone, Aino met and married her second husband, Ilmar Kaevats, on February 26, 1977. Together they grew in their faith, participating in multiple church communities, attending spiritual retreats, and supporting charitable organizations.


They also traveled around the world, riding elephants in India; going on safari in South Africa; flying on the Concorde to London; and exploring Katmandu, Turkey, Israel, and more...and always in style! Aino and Ilmar shared a very peaceful, happy life together for 37 years, until his death on March 5, 2014.

In the five years following Ilmar’s passing, Aino spent countless hours with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (the youngest is 6 years old and very energetic!); wrote and self-published her memoir; worked with her granddaughter to document her experiences, including participating in an April 2019 exhibit at Columbia University about her escape from the Communist regime; and spent a lot of her time in prayer for her family.


She felt that her mission during this period of her life was both to share her experiences of God’s goodness in her life and to educate people about the evils of Communism, which had destroyed her country and her family. But she often asked why God was keeping her here; she said she was ready to rest and be reunited with loved ones who had passed.

Aino is survived by her daughter, Mall Kiil, and her husband Leevi; her step-son, Juri Kaevats, and his wife Sandy; her grandchildren, Sandra Leber, Joanna Kaevats and her husband Mike Sizemore, Erika Rogers and her husband Mike, Rebecca Kiil and her husband Fernando Lopez, and Allan Kiil and his wife Lindsey; her great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn Kiil, Jeremy Kiil, Allison Leber, Sofia Kiil Lopez, Kendra Rogers, and Christian Leber; and her sister-in-law, Linda Mayershoeffer.


Aino is also survived by dearly loved relatives in Estonia, including Maire Nigul and her family, and Mait Nigul and his family; Toomas and Natali Tuul, Julia Tuul and her family, and Andres Tuul; and Marcus Kaevats and his family.

Aino was small in stature but had a very bold, unique personality and quick wit. She knew her own mind and let her intuition guide her throughout her life. She lived and loved fully, and she will be greatly missed.


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