Antonina   Kursitis
Antonina Kursitis

September 27, 1938 - May 9, 2024
Born in Preili, Latvia
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Antonina "Toni" Kursitis, 85, passed away May 9, 2024 at Calvin Community, Des Moines, where she resided. Visitation and Rosary will be held from 5:00-7:00 pm on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at lles Westover Chapel, 6337 Hickman Road, Des Moines. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30am, Friday, May 17, 2024 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 3300 Easton Blvd., Des Moines. Interment will follow at Glendale Cemetery, 4909 University Avenue, Des Moines.

Antonina was born on September 27, 1938 in Preili, Latvia to Francis and Monika (Vilcans) Kursitis. In 1940, as a result of the occupation of Latvia and the two other Baltic States by the Soviet Union and the subsequent reoccupation in 1944, the family was forced to flee with numerous other refugees to Germany or perish in Siberia. In Germany the family contracted typhoid fever and lost their father and a baby sister. After the war, the refugees in Germany were placed in "displaced persons" camps, where The Kursitis Family spent six years. In 1951, The Kursitis Family, sponsored by a farmer family, immigrated to lowa, and ultimately settled in Des Moines. Antonina worked for 18 years as a secretary for the lowa Department of Agriculture. She was a devoted member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. She enjoyed participating in Latvian folk dance groups and attending many Latvian social and cultural gatherings and festivals, even traveling back to Latvia in 1990 to attend the first free (post-Communist) Song and Dance Festival. She was the number one Iowa Hawkeye fan and spent much of her free time cheering the Hawks on, rewatching recorded games and discussing the results with her brothers. When the Hawkeyes weren’t playing, Toni could be found in her orchard, on the riding mower, picking apples, feeding the deer or pushing her visiting grand nieces and nephews on the tree swing. She enjoyed spoiling her nieces, nephew and then their children with annual trips to the State Fair. Toni was gentle, patient and kind. It is no wonder children gravitated toward her.

Antonina is survived by her brothers, Peteris (Dzintra), John (Sharon) and Vitalis (Elizabeth) as well as her beloved nieces, nephew and their families to whom she was everyone’s “favorite aunt.” She was preceded in death by her parents, Francis and Monika Kursitis and siblings, Valentina Voskans, Anna, Lucija and Kazimirs Kursitis. She was deeply loved and will be even more deeply missed.

Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Joseph Catholic Church or the lowa Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Online condolences are welcome at

Arrangements by Iles Westover Chapel.





Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, May 16, 2024
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, May 16, 2024
7:00 PM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
3300 Easton Boulevard
Des Moines, IA 50317
Friday, May 17, 2024
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Glendale Cemetery
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Friday, May 17, 2024
12:00 PM


St. Joseph Catholic Church
3300 Easton Boulevard
Des Moines, IA US
American Parkinson Disease Association - Iowa Chapter
PO BOX 643
Ankeny, Iowa US 50021