Putnam – Aldona Rygelis, born Tercijonas, age 83, formerly of Maple Lane in Thompson, died February 26th, 2014 in Matulaitis Nursing Home, Putnam, Connecticut. Aldona was born in Kaunas, Lithuania on June 9, 1930.
She was the eldest of three children born to Ona Putvyte Tercijonas, educator of early childhood education, daughter of Vlada Putvis, founder of the Sauliu Sajunga, and Vincas Tercijonas, a renowned Lithuanian pediatrician. Aldona was the loving wife of Juozas (Joseph) Rygelis(1920-2012), whom she married on April 16th, 1950.
Aldona came to the United States with her parents in 1949, having fled the Soviet invasion of Lithuania. In 1951, Aldona, age 20, had her first child, and soon, another. The young, rapidly growing family moved several times, following Joseph’s work, to Monroe, Connecticut, where they settled, until 1970. As the economy of Connecticut was going into a tailspin, the family, which now included Aldona’s elderly mother, moved to Kinnelon, New Jersey, where they lived until 1989, when they moved back to Connecticut to Thompson.
Aldona was a member of the Kinnelon Rotary Club, where she helped organize quilting projects, and the ASME Auxilary. She was also very active in the Catholic church and in the various Lithuanian communities she lived in, singing in the Women’s Choir, organizing community picnics and other events, and working with children’s camps. In retirement in Thompson, she assisted her husband, Joseph, in his jobs as, first, treasurer, then, director, of the American Lithuanian Catholic Archives (ALKA) in Putnam. As a young woman, Aldona finished practical nursing school. Later in life she studied interior design and worked in the Amway network. She was a very skilled seamstress and knitter, able to make anything from clothing to household essentials to children’s toys.
Having a friendly and cheerful disposition, Aldona touched many peoples’ lives and hearts. She will be missed.
Aldona is survived by her five children, Aldona Jr., Antanas II, Vince, Regena, and Vita Cepkauskas, along with eight grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Aldona’s family from 3:00 to 6:00pm on Sunday March 2, 2014 in the Gilman Funeral Home, 104 Church St., Putnam. A gathering will begin at the funeral home at 9:30 am on Monday March 3, 2014 followed by a Funeral Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30am in the Matulaitis Nursing Home Chapel, 10 Thurber Rd.Putnam, Ct. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Putnam.
Memorial donations may be made to either The Baltic Jesuit Advancement Project, 1380 Castlewood Drive, Lemont, Illinois, 60439 EArmarked for the Kaunas High School: or to the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, 600, Liberty Highway, Putnam, Ct. 06260. For memorial guestbook visit www.GilmanandValade.com.