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Ottomar Laaman

Ottomar Laaman served as the president of the Calgary Estonian Society from January 1953 until June 1978, a total of 25 years.

He was born in the Crimea in 1900. Decades earlier his grandparents migrated here from Estonia to escape Russian oppression. Ottomar grew up in the village of Samruk on the Crimean west coast where his father operated a small store within their farm house.

In his book, Mälestused Krimmist (Memories from Crimea), Ottomar provides an account of family life in the Crimea. He describes the history of Estonian settlement in the Crimea and the politics behind the migration.

Ottomar Laaman, sitting in the middle, is pictured with participants during a Christmas celebration in Calgary, 1953. Otto was President of the Calgary Estonian Society from 1953 to 1978. Ottomar moved to Estonia in 1918 where it had recently reestablished its independence. He studied agriculture and law and Tartu University. The Second World War forced Ottomar to again flee his home. He relocated for a short time as a refugee Germany before immigrating to Canada in 1948. Ottomar lived in Calgary for 30 years, 25 of which were served as the president of the Calgary Estonian Society. He later moved to an exclusive Estonian community near Kitchener, Ontario. He passed away in 1988.

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