April 17, 1936 – Jan. 7, 2018
FREMONT -- Martin H. Trautrimas, age 81, of Fremont passed away Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha surrounded by family.
Martin was born on April 17, 1936, in Švėkšna, Lithuania, to Andrius and Auguste (Kleinas) Trautrimas. His first five years were spent on the family farm before they were forced to flee westward and spend the next 10 years as displaced persons in war-torn Europe. When he was 15, his family came to the U.S. and lived on the Leonard Hoegemeyer farm in Scribner, where he attended high school before the family’s move to Omaha. He graduated from Omaha South High School in 1953.
His lifelong commitment and service to education began with his graduation from the University of Omaha (now UNO) in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in German and Spanish with a minor in history and a secondary teaching certificate. His quest for knowledge continued with his earning a Master of Arts in Spanish Literature in 1963 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and a Ph.D. en Letras Castellanas in 1969 from the Universidad Jaime Balmes, Guadalajara, Mexico. Over the years, he received many grants and honors for further continuing his studies.
His professional career began with his teaching both German and Spanish in the Fremont Public Schools from 1958-1964 and then as a professor of languages and humanities at Midland Lutheran College (now Midland University) until his retirement in 2000. Even in “retirement” he continued to teach English as a Second Language in diverse settings in Fremont.
While expanding his knowledge of languages, in 1960 he met Patricia (Pat) Van Voorhis in a Russian class at the University of Omaha. They began their lifelong partnership with their marriage June 9, 1962. Their love produced their beloved children, son Marc David Trautrimas and daughter Michelle Marie Trautrimas Wood.
Part of his commitment to education was his desire to broaden the horizons of his students, not only by their gaining knowledge of another language, but also of other cultures, and how better than to experience the rest of the world first-hand. He and Pat led their first international study-tour in 1964, and over the years Martin sponsored more than 30 such study-tours to Europe, Mexico and Guatemala, the Holy Land, and Asia. He also helped to sponsor other international experiences through his work with Rotary International of which he was a member since 1982.
Central to Martin’s life was his strong faith. He was an active member of First Lutheran Church since 1958 and also a member of the Executive Committee of the Lithuanian Lutheran Church in Exile. His talents enabled him to be a particularly productive participant in several missionary trips into Mexico. Studies at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and at Creighton University led to a Diploma in Ministry in 1987 from Creighton University, Omaha.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Olga (who died in infancy), Marta Sarka, and Ruta Kallio; and parents-in-law, Myron and Mildred Van Voorhis.
He is survived by his wife Pat; son, Marc of Brooklyn, New York; and daughter, Michelle (Phil) Wood of Omaha; sister, Zelma Pliodzinskas of Cleveland, Ohio; grandchildren, Madeline Wood and Ethan Wood of Omaha, and Zoë Morris of San Antonio, Texas; sisters-in-law, Sharon (Turner) Morgan of Waldorf, Maryland, and Verna (Warren) Thompson of Akron, Iowa; brother-in-law, Jonas Sarka of Omaha; and many beloved nieces and nephews and dear friends and family.
Memorials to the Trautrimas Endowed Travel Fund at Midland University in Fremont: http://alumni.midlandu.edu/trautrimas-scholarship
Visitation will be Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the family present from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ludvigsen Mortuary Chapel in Fremont.
The funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Lutheran Church in Fremont. Graveside services will be 2 p.m. Friday at Graceland Park Cemetery in Omaha (42nd & L streets).
Online guestbook at www.Ludvigsenmortuary.com.