Birute Sophia Kukaitis Preikstas Petrulis… charismatic, courageous, determined, and passionate.
Known for her indomitable spirit, Birute was born the eldest of three children in Jurbarkas, Lithuania, on February 25, 1922. As a young woman, she met Vincas Preikstas. Immediately smitten, Birute broke off her prior wedding engagement to marry her true love. Threatened by Soviet and Nazi aggression during WWII, the couple, accompanied by other family members, fled Lithuania with only one suitcase in hand. Their flight across Europe eventually led them to Ellis Island in 1949, when Birute was just 27 and pregnant with her first child.
In pursuit of her childhood dream to become a physician, Birute completed medical school in Tubingen, Germany. After the sudden death of her husband in 1958, she managed to secure her medical license in obstetrics and gynecology, while living as an immigrant, single mother of two young boys. Mother and sons eventually made their way to Asbury Park, New Jersey, where, undaunted, Birute converted their 2-car garage into an office for her own private practice and proceeded to deliver over 1,000 babies over the next 25 years.
Her later years brought second husband Jonas Petrulis into her life and her retirement to Daytona Beach, Florida, where she joined a vibrant Lithuanian community of friends.
Birute lived 97 rich years, passing peacefully on June 18, 2019 at her home in Daytona Beach . She will be remembered for her strength, warmth, tenacity, and generosity.
Loved ones who have preceded her in death include her son Tauras, husbands Vincas Preikstas and Jonas Petrulis, sister Eugenia Avizius, brother Sigitas Kukaitis, niece Rasa Seager, and great niece Kristen Avizius.
Loved ones who will miss her include her son Darius, grandson Vincent Preikstas, daughter-in-law Barb Preikstas, nephews Arunas Avizius and Algis Avizius, and niece-in-law Kathy Snyder Avizius.
Birute’s family wishes to express their gratitude for the loyal support of the caregivers from Halifax Health Hospice Care in Daytona Beach.
A memorial service for Birute will take place Friday, June 28th at 10:30 am at the Basilica of St. Paul, 317 Mullally St., Daytona Beach, Florida. The family also invites you to join them for a gathering in Birute’s honor on Saturday, June 29th from 2-5 pm at her home in Daytona Beach. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Birute’s name to Sunlight Orphan Aid for Lithuania (sunlightorphanaid.org).
317 Mullally St., Daytona Beach, Florida 32114