Antonina Pukitis, 96, Scottsbluff
Antonina Pukitis, 96, of Scottsbluff peacefully journeyed to heaven April 10, 2012 at her daughter's home in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, April 16, 2012 at Dugan-Kramer Funeral Chapel in Scottsbluff with Pastor Mike Mead officiating. Burial will follow at 2:00 p.m. at Valley View Cemetery in Torrington, Wyoming.
Friends may call at the funeral home on Sunday, April 15 from 1-6 p.m.
Memorial s may be made in Antonina's name to Center Cross Community Church or Prairie Haven Hospice.
Antonia was born in Preli, Latvia to Janis and Tecla Utinans on October 28, 1915. She grew up as a small farm girl with her five brothers and sisters. She was a restless youngster and was drawn to music while living with her grandmother. School was a lengthy 3 kilometer walk but she excelled in Arithmetic and memory work.
Mara, her grandmother, a devout Catholic wanted the girls to become nuns and sent Antonina to live and learn in a convent in Aglona, Latvia. Being a nun was not in Antonina's future. She left and joined her good friend Hermina in the workforce.
Antonina met Ludwig Pukitis and they were married December 13, 1941. The rest of the 40's included having a son, Juris and a daughter, Gunta. The family moved often due to political unrest in their homeland. The family came to America after being sponsored by the Vern C. Funkhauser family and the Christian World Service. They arrived on December 24, 1950 after dealing with horrific conditions on the ship to New York and then they were bused across the states to Torrington, Wyoming in the dead of winter.
Not being able to speak English or find decent work were some of the hurdles she and her family had to overcome. Slowly things improved and in 1953 a second daughter, Biruta was born.
Antonina's life continued to be filled with music and handiwork. She sang in church, community choirs and sang solos spotlighting her unique voice and love of music. She created many Latvian needlework designs, crocheted tablecloths and doilies. If you are really lucky you have one of over 50 afghans that she knitted for friends and family as well as many sweaters and scarves. She loved flowers and always had a garden. She will be remembered as a great cook that excelled in cooking venison, soups and baked goods. She was a member of First Wyoming United Presbyterian Church.
She was a long time resident of Torrington, Wyoming and at 90 years young, she sold her home in Torrington and moved to Pennsylvania to live with Gunta and her family. In 2009, Antonia moved to Nebraska to live with Biruta where she stayed until her passing.
During her long and interesting life's description would include: family, music, church, handiwork and bacon rolls.
Antonina is survived by her daughters, Gunta (Tom) Rutherford of Boalsburg, PA and Biruta Walton of Scottsbluff, NE; sister-in-law, Sarmite Pukitis of Torrington, WY; grandchildren, David Coombs of Hood River, OR, Scott (Amy) Walton of Scottsbluff, NE, Andrea (Martin) Wildy of State College, PA; great-grandchildren, Sebastian and Sydney Walton of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Aidan Wildy of State College, PA.
Antonina is preceded in death by her husband; parents; son, Juris; and 5 brothers and sisters.
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