Cover photo for Cornelius Jazbutis's Obituary
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1933 Cornelius 2021

Cornelius Jazbutis

April 16, 1933 — July 9, 2021

Cornelius (Kornelijus) Jazbutis died on July 9, 2021, at the age of 88. He was born on April 16, 1933, in the Village of Virbalai in the Skuodas district, Lithuania. Cornelius was the son of teachers Kazys and Stefanija (nee Rankaitytė) Jazbutis, who were deported to Siberia on June 14, 1941, by the Soviet occupiers of Lithuania. Cornelius and his younger sister Gražina remained in Lithuania under the care of their grandmother and aunt Bronė Jazbutytė. In 1944 the aunt’s family fled the advancing Red Army and took young Cornelius and his sister to Germany, where they remained until the war ended. Cornelius and Gražina arrived in the US on the SS Ernie Pyle as war orphans on February 18, 1947. Cornelius attended Marijanapolis, a boarding school operated by the Lithuanian Marian Fathers, in Thompson, Connecticut. He would later graduate with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago. For many years, he worked for the State of Illinois and other governmental aid agencies as a social worker and department head. Cornelius was a member of the Lithuanian Catholic Youth Movement, “Ateitis,” and its literary section named after the Lithuanian poet Šatrijos Ragana. He attended Lithuanian humanities seminars for many summers at Kent University in Ohio and later in Plano, Illinois. He wrote poetry and often read his poems at readings in Chicago and at the “Autumn of Poetry” literary event in Druskininkai, Lithuania. Throughout his life, he was an avid swimmer, tennis player and skier. For many years he organized group ski trips to the best ski slopes of Europe and North America. Since 1966, he made frequent, nearly annual, trips to his homeland behind the Iron Curtain to visit his parents, who survived the ordeals of Siberian exile and had returned home to Kaunas. Cornelius is predeceased by his parents, who died in Kaunas, Lithuania, and his sister, Dr. Gražina Jazbutytė Jensen, who died in 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. Survivors include his nephew Dr. Eric Xerxes Jensen with his wife Olga and son Erwin, relatives in Lithuania and many close friends in the US. Cornelius’s cremated remains will be interred next to his parents in Kaunas, Lithuania.
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