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Music 03


Arthur Cirulis

July 3, 1921 ~ January 21, 2018 (age 96)

Mr. Arthur Cirulis, age 96, of Orange City, Iowa, formerly of Watertown, South Dakota, passed away on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at the Prairie Ridge Care Center in Orange City.


There will be a funeral service on Thursday, January 25, at 7:00 pm, at the Prairie Ridge Care Center, with the Rev. Dr. Brian Keepers officiating. Visitation will be after 5:00 pm on Thursday at Prairie Ridge.


There will also be a funeral service on Saturday, January 27, at 2:30 pm at the First Baptist Church in Watertown, with the Rev. Charles Warger officiating. Visitation will be after 1:30 pm on Saturday at the church. Interment will follow the services at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Watertown.  Arrangements are with the Oolman Funeral Home in Orange City.


Arthur was born on July 3, 1921, in Vanga, Latvia, to Gederts and Ilze (Skrubis) Cirulis. He graduated from Kazdanga High School and from the School of Commerce in Riga. In 1942, he married Erna Grietens, and their son, Ivars, was born in 1943.


When Latvia was occupied by Germany during World War II, Art was inducted into the Latvian Legion under German control. He became a prisoner of war and spent three years in a displaced persons camp before coming to the United States in 1949 as a refugee. Sponsored by the First Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he arrived in America with only a suitcase and his precious violin, which he had learned to play by ear in Latvia. Despite the fact that he spoke no English, he enrolled at Sioux Falls College, and in 1953, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music. He also earned a Master of Arts degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.


He married Doris Krieger on December 20, 1952, in Lucas, South Dakota. They were married for 45 years and had five daughters.


A gifted musician, Mr. Cirulis served as the vocal and instrumental music teacher in Burke, South Dakota, for four years, then directed orchestras and gave string lessons in the Huron, South Dakota, Public School District for six years and the Watertown Public School District for seventeen years. He also conducted Watertown’s Sweet Adelines and men’s barbershop choruses, played in city symphony orchestras throughout South Dakota, and directed church choirs in Sioux Falls, Madison, Burke, Huron, and Watertown, as well as for the Latvian Baptist Church in Cleveland. After retiring from teaching, he was employed by Benchmark Foam in Watertown for sixteen years.


Art loved to compose music and write poetry. A book of his Latvian poems was published by the Cleveland Latvian Baptist Church, and some of his poems have been set to music by composers in Latvia.


He was preceded in death by his parents; first wife; son, Ivars; daughter, Valda; brother, Alfred; and sisters, Lidija Polis and Olga Cirulis.


Survivors include his former wife and forever friend, Doris; four daughters, Anita Cirulis, of Orange City; Debra (Ira) Kaul, of Tea, South Dakota; Rebecca (Robert) Kastelic, of Gold Canyon, Arizona; and Kristi (Trevon) Anderson, of Tucson, Arizona; and four grandchildren, Benjamin and Caleb Kaul, and HannahMarie and Lucas Anderson.


Memorials may be directed to the Prairie Ridge Care Center and the Orange City Area Home Health and Hospice.


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