Maria Kristina Vygantas
September 7, 1933 - October 31, 2019
Maria, known to her family and friends as Mara, was born in Kaunas, Lithuania on September 7, 1933. She was the firstborn of twin girls, born to artist Regina Matuzonyte Ingeleviciene and Dr. Vladas Ingelevicius, a Colonel physician in the Lithuanian Army. During the Second World War, she fled her homeland due to advancing Soviet aggression with her family and eventually settled in the United States in Brooklyn, NY in 1949. In her new home, Mara pursued her undergraduate studies at Hunter College in New York and her graduate and doctoral studies in mathematics at John’s Hopkins University and The Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
It was in New York that she met her husband, Peter Vytautas Vygantas and welcomed 2 daughters, Monika in 1965 and Kristina in 1971. The entire family was active in the Lithuanian Catholic community over the years, participating in camps, cultural events, leadership seminars, and local activism. The family moved to Dallas, Texas in 1980 and spent 18 years there. Once her spouse passed in 1998, she returned to New York to spend her remaining years with her sister and daughters and their children Petras and Liam Vejas in the greater New York area.
Throughout her life, Mara did not rely on grand gestures to demonstrate her faith and love for those around her, but instead was able to inspire us by the patient and graceful manner in which she lived every day. In the 1990’s while living in Texas, Mara and Vytas hosted in their home, for more than one year, a Lithuanian family that was pursuing advanced treatment for their Siamese twin daughters. She and her twin sister personally helped care for all the elders in our family at home, as they transitioned to their life in heaven. She was particularly concerned about the long-term fate of her mother’s large body of paintings and helped return the majority of her creations to Lithuania where they are held in the National Museum. During the summer of 2013, a retrospective show of Regina Ingeleviciene’s paintings was exhibited at Museum at Radvilas Place in Vilnius, Lithuania.
She inspired us all by the courage and fortitude with which she faced her many medical challenges. Over the course of her lifetime, she battled 4 separate cancer diagnoses, and was a testament to the bravery that a deep faith can provide.
Mara is survived by her daughters Monika and Kristina, and son in-laws Paulius and Edward, and her grandchildren Petras and Vejas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a donation to the Lithuanian youth organizations: Camp Neringa (www.neringa100.org) and Lituanistine mokykla “Lietuvėlė”/ Lithuanian School Lietuvele (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Donations in her name may be made to the following :
1. Neringa, Inc – (non-profit organization) – Summer youth camp.
Checks may be made out to: “Camp Neringa, Inc.”
They can be mailed to: Neringa 100, 34 State Street, Guilford, CT 06437. POC – Ms. Dana Grajauskas. Please mention or note that donations are in memory of Maria Vygantas.
Neringa100, 34 State Street, Guilford, CT
2. Lietuvele – (non-profit) – Lithuanian School.
Checks may be made out to “Lietuvele”. They can be mailed to 2108 Broadway Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08757. POC – Ms. Daiva Trzepizur. Please mention or note that donations are in memory of Maria Vygantas.