City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Astra Covell

Knightdale, North Carolina

Age 95.
Died 01/02/2024.

Astra Covell
Knightdale, NC - Astra Irena (Dambergs) Covell, 95, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, surrounded by her loving family.

Astra was the daughter of Paul and Zelma (Riduss) Dambergs. Born in Riga, Latvia on April 11, 1928, she grew up surrounded by a large and loving family of many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She attended school, studied piano, enjoyed gymnastics, tennis, and volleyball, and spoke several languages. At 15 years old, during WWII, her family was displaced and lived under communist and Nazi rule for several years. She slept in haystacks, barns, and at times out in the open while they traveled by oxcart through desolate landscapes and demolished cities, eventually living in refugee camps in Germany until 1949. Along with her parents, she emigrated to the United States by ship from war-torn Europe. Sponsored by the Lutheran Church, on her second day in America, Astra was sent to Racine, Wisconsin to live and work with a doctor and his family as a cook where she learned to prepare American dishes still enjoyed by her family on special occasions. After some time, Astra moved back to Boston with her parents where she attended Boston University, studying chemistry. She also found work at Jordan Marsh, Boston Lying-In Hospital, and as a bank teller, eventually meeting her future husband and love of her life, Paul B. Covell, at flight attendant school. In 1956, Paul and Astra married, ultimately enjoying fifty-three loving years together. With Paul’s work in the hotel and restaurant management business, they traveled and lived in New York and Pennsylvania but came back to Boston in 1968. With their growing family of three children, in 1969 they moved to Marblehead, MA, where Astra became part of the fabric of the community through her work at Brown’s Bakery, Fruit of the Four Seasons, and as an owner of BIX Furniture Stripping and Refinishing.

Astra loved nothing more than her family, but also enjoyed gardening, throwing legendary dinner parties for friends, and being a Little League mother at Gatchell’s Pit, watching her two sons play baseball and football from the bleachers. Alongside her daughter, she enjoyed shopping and attending musicals and plays. Accompanied by her mother, daughter, and later, granddaughter, she regularly attended social events at Latvian churches in the Boston area, a community she was a part of for decades. She spent hours watching her beloved QVC, spoiling those she loved, and occasionally herself as well. When not shopping on the television, she sought out coverage of the royal family, spent time rooting for all of Boston’s sports teams, and watched every tennis match possible. A notorious card shark, she spent many a Saturday night with her husband, longtime friends, and granddaughter, winning hand after hand, raking in fistfuls of pennies. When her daughter returned to work after having children, she selflessly spent the days with her grandchildren, passing down family traditions and instilling a lifelong love of learning. When they went on to school, she shared those gifts as a caregiver for the children of other local families.
Astra was a patron of Latvian charities as well as St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital and proudly supported veterans' causes. She was a voracious reader her entire life, enjoying multiple topics and genres. With her husband, she loved to travel and enjoyed bus tours and cruises. In 1983, Astra took her mother, then 85 years old, back to Latvia for a visit, where she realized that America had truly become her home. In 2004, Astra and Paul sold the family home and purchased a condo on Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire, where they enjoyed seven of the happiest years of their time together. After her husband’s passing, Astra moved to North Carolina to live out her remaining years with her daughter, son-in-law, and son.

Astra leaves behind her daughter Cindy and husband Robert Maher; son, Richard Covell all of Knightdale, NC; son, David Covell of New Orleans, LA; granddaughter, Jennifer and husband Christopher Reynolds, great-granddaughters Nola and Cortana of Revere, MA; grandson, Robert “Bo” Maher and wife Rachel, great-granddaughter Ava, and step great-grandson Vincent Gaussoin, all of Zebulon, NC.

A private graveside service and burial will take place in late spring/early summer in Boston. Donations in her memory may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital at

For additional information or for service details, please reach out to the family directly.

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City of Oaks Cremation and Funeral Home is a full-service funeral home in Raleigh, serving all of North Carolina and beyond. We provide an alternative to costly funeral homes and every day we help families in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all over North Carolina make simple, affordable funeral arrangements.

Simply having to reach out to a funeral home can feel overwhelming. Our goal is to simplify the entire funeral home experience and make the process as easy as possible. We hope to eliminate any unnecessary surprises by publishing our total cost and the services we provide directly on our website. All of our obituaries are provided free of charge as a way to help families celebrate and commemorate the lives of their loved ones.

Our Promise

Apples to Apples

Just like all other licensed funeral homes in North Carolina, City of Oaks Cremation, LLC is regulated by the NC Board of Funeral Service.

The same laws that apply to the big corporate funeral homes also apply to the modest independently owned firms like ours. All crematories in North Carolina, regardless of who owns them, are inspected annually by the state and must adhere to the same rules and laws.

Genuine Care

We're committed to providing families within our community unsurpassed service before, during and after the time of loss.

Our staff will provide clear communication to your family through each step as we move forward from the original phone call notifying us of a death to the time we deliver the urn back to your family. We will treat your family with the utmost respect, as we honor the wishes of your loved one.

We promise to make this process affordable and as endurable as possible.

State Wide

Our Funeral Home is located in Wake County NC; however, we provide our services to families throughout the entire State.

Unlike other funeral homes, we don't charge an additional mileage fee. Regardless of what county you live in, we can help your family with making simple, affordable funeral arrangements. From Asheville to Wilmington, we're proud to help families statewide.

Our Services

Direct Cremation


Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. We include everything you need for a simple or direct cremation. Simple, affordable and reliable. We have not changed the cost of our direct cremation service since we opened City of Oaks in 2012.

Cremation with Solidified Remains


We offer the option of choosing how you receive your loved ones remains. Selecting our Direct Cremation with Solidified Remains option is a beautiful way to transform cremated remains into 40-60 “stones” that you can hold.

Cremation with Visitation


City of Oaks Funeral Home and Cremation provides an affordable cremation option with onsite visitation. Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. Simple, affordable and reliable.

Immediate Burial


An immediate burial has the same end result as a traditional burial; however, we have eliminated the extra (sometimes unnecessary) services prior to getting to the cemetery. Not everyone wants an open casket for viewing or a limousine for the family. Despite the term immediate, we can move as fast as you need or as slow as you like. This option simply allows you to save money by eliminating some of the fancy extras at the funeral home.

Traditional Funeral


We offer the same traditional funeral services as the big corporately owned funeral homes in the area; however, we cost about half the amount. You might consider a traditional funeral service if your family is looking for an open casket visitation, a traditional church service or a funeral service in the funeral home's chapel. A traditional funeral service can be altered to fit the needs of your family.

Green Burial


This establishment is one of a select number of funeral homes who meet the criteria for providing green funeral service by the Green Burial Council; a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmentally sustainability in the field of funeral service. Our Green options allow for a funeral to take place without the use of toxic and non-biodegradable materials/chemicals.



As an alternative to traditional cremation, City of Oaks Funeral Home also offers Aquamation. The Aquamation process, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a solution of water and potassium hydroxide to facilitate natural decomposition.

City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations