Thompson, CT – Joseph “Juozas” Rygelis, died Saturday, March 10, 2012 in Day Kimball Hospital. Born in Lithuania August 12, 1920. He was raised on a farm and and was one of seven children born to Antanas and Veronika (Puodziukynaite) Rygelis. He was the loving husband of Aldona (Tercijonas) Rygelis whom he married on April 16, 1950.
At the pinnacle of his career Rygelis worked as a staff interdivisional consulting engineer for Singer Kearfott, Division Chief of analytical Methods, Chief of Applied Mechanics and Friction Research & Chief of special Structure Avco Lycoming. Career highlights include designing the control panel for the space shuttle, designing portions of the space shuttle Thermal Protection System and designing rocket navigational systems using the stars (which is commonly referred to as a GPS). Rygelis is author to several patents in the materials area and was an active contributor to the evolution of computer materials modeling and simulation systems and other inventions.
Rygelis holds an MSME & Metallurgy TU Darmstadt Germany with further education at MIT and Columbia. He was a regional Chairman of the ASME.
Joseph was active throughout his life in the Lithuanian community in the United States, helping to build a Lithuanian children’s camp in Vermont in the 70s and was an Ateitininkas throughout his life, running retreats in Kennebunkport, Maine until 2007. He volunteered his time to the Lithuanian Heritage Museum and ALKA located at the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception Convent property Putnam, CT. He was a president of the Lithuanian American community 1960-1970.
Joseph, a life-long devout Catholic, is survived by his wife of 62 years Aldona, their five children, Aldona, Antanas II, Vincas, Regena and Vita Cepkauskas, along with eight grand children, and one great grand child.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Joseph’s family on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm in the Gilman Funeral Home, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11:00am on Thursday, March 15, 2012 in the Immaculate Conception Convent Chapel, 600 Liberty Highway, Putnam, CT 06260. Burial will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, 600 Liberty Highway, Putnam, CT 06260. For Memorial guestbook, visit www.GilmanAndValade.com