ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created to celebrate the remarkable life of Nijolė Jasėnaitė-Pupienė, a beloved mother, doting grandmother, and widely esteemed teacher/promulgater of Lithuanian folk dance and culture.  
Please share your pictures, videos and stories of Nijolė.
Posted by Marija Newsom on October 10, 2020
Teko susipažinti su Nijole Dainavos Mokytojų Kursuose. Puiki,draugiška,šilta moteris. Žemė jos pasiges, o dangus džiaugiasi ir šoka. Gili užuojauta visai šeimai.
Posted by Danguole Kviklys on October 4, 2020
It was always a delight to meet Nijole at parties or events. She was very down to earth and passionate about Lithuanian folk dancing. She wanted everyone to participate in this art – even those who thought they had two left feet. While I did not have a chance to be her student, I did see her teach and remember her infectious joy and how she patiently encouraged all her students to just relax and dance. 

Nijole, thank you for being so generous and giving. We will miss you.

My deepest sympathy to Neris, Kovas, Vaiva and all of their friends.
Posted by Arunas Pemkus on October 1, 2020
p.Nijolė buvo puikiausia lietuvių tautinių šokių pedagogė. Jos dėka, pamilau, kaip ir daug Amerikoje (Čikagoje) gimusių lietuvių kartų, lietuviškus tautinius ir liaudies šokius. Deja, viskam ateina pabaiga - tešviečia Nijolei amžinoji Viešpaties apvaizdos žvakutė...
Posted by Ruta Galinaitis on September 15, 2020
Ponia Pupiene (Nijole as I later called her) taught me folk dancing. As a teacher, she expected us to be focused and put forth our best efforts. As a person, she understood we were young and impulsive, and she showed she could relate.
In later years she recruited me to help her teach dancing on Saturdays at CALM. She taught the older students and I taught the younger. Because of her guidance and being my mentor, I was able to get my group to participate in 1980 and 1984 Sokiu sventes.
Nijole, you were fun as my group's teacher. You were tough showing me how to teach. You as a person were amazing!
Posted by Robert Vitas on September 14, 2020
Ponia Nijole was a wonderful lady, full of energy and enthusiasm, always positive and a patriotic Lithuanian. I always enjoyed our conversations when we saw each other at events. They were never quick hellos, but she liked talking with people, asking how they were and also sharing the joy that Neris and her grandchildren brought her. Something struck me about her even when I was a young student. Whereas some "older" Lithuanians would occasionally behave condescendingly toward young people, Nijole was never like that. I was cognizant even then by how polite and respectful she was to me and other students. She immediately became a friend and I was blessed to have her as a friend for many, many years. We are sad that she's gone, but we also celebrate her life. She had an impact on so many people through the years and we carry on to honor her. Ilsekis ramybeje, ponia Nijole.
Posted by Nijole Sparkis on September 14, 2020
I too was one of the many lucky students to have Nijole Pupiene as my folk dance teacher at Saturday school in the Lithuanian Youth Center building (JC's) in Chicago. I will never forget her strong spirit! She had SO much energy and always seemed happy. I knew her to be down-to-earth, speaking her mind - she was never one to mince words or have pretend-politeness. That was SO refreshing! I loved her, all the kids loved her, and we all felt equally loved by her. I am glad to hear she was positive to the end, and I know that her memory will live on in the hearts of those whose lives she touched. Dance in the heavens now, miela Nijole! ❤️
Posted by Zita Petkiene on September 14, 2020
Nijolė was a lovely lady in so many different ways. My first impression of her was that of a very nice looking young woman with a big smile who was one of my folk dance teachers at Lithuanian Saturday School in Chicago (ČALM) when I was a shy, awkward teenager decades ago. We kids thought that she was so cool: beautiful, friendly, warm, welcoming and encouraging, and we enjoyed the idea that here was a teacher who exuded youthfulness and seemed to understand us. At that time I had absolutely no inkling that ponia Nijolė Pupienė would one day become my dear colleague, mentor and friend. As an adult and teacher myself, I gained a renewed appreciation of her philosophy that the younger generation needs first to be introduced to the basic folk dances of our parents’ generation before going on to more elaborate choreographies.  Over the course of many years, whenever our paths crossed, my respect and admiration for her continued to grow. One of the last lessons she taught me, entirely by example, was to keep focused on the positive side of life even while experiencing great pain. Whenever we talked recently she would say that she didn’t want to complain about her illness and would rather think about the blessings in her life, tops among which were the love and devotion of Neris, Kovas and Vaiva. Deepest condolences to all of you! She will be missed by so many!
Posted by Rasa R on September 14, 2020
I’ll always remember ponia Nijole as my LT dance teacher while I attended Saturday school in Chicago. She wil be missed by so MANY lives she’s touched either as a dance instructor, dance director, employee, LT scouts, friends and family. May she Rest In Peace. 
Posted by Ruta Green on September 13, 2020

I am so sorry to hear about your Mother. Memories of her always make me smile and her energy and humor was so plentiful during our childhood and times with Suktinis. She was the “cool mom” :) had great style and I feel very lucky to have known her! I saw her last at my Mothers house last year and she was as spunky as ever before one of their opera trips - she was beautiful inside and out. I appreciate her for spending time with my Mother!
My deepest condolences .. to you , your family and Laura.
Neris - Please know - We ALL loved her - she was a part of all of us and our childhood as we danced with SUKTINIS our Lithuanian tautiniai šokiai - she will forever be in our hearts.
Bučkiai
Ruta Traska Green
Posted by Neris Palunas on September 12, 2020
Myliu tave Mama. Esu visuomet su tavimi.
Posted by Suzanne Stojka on September 12, 2020
Very sorry Neris to hear of your mom's passing. Although I never met her, I know you had a strong bond with her. You were blessed that she taught you so much about your Lithuanian heritage. She will live forever in your heart. Prayers for you and your family.
Posted by Laura Kogen on September 12, 2020
a candle for Nijole

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Marija Newsom on October 10, 2020
Teko susipažinti su Nijole Dainavos Mokytojų Kursuose. Puiki,draugiška,šilta moteris. Žemė jos pasiges, o dangus džiaugiasi ir šoka. Gili užuojauta visai šeimai.
Posted by Danguole Kviklys on October 4, 2020
It was always a delight to meet Nijole at parties or events. She was very down to earth and passionate about Lithuanian folk dancing. She wanted everyone to participate in this art – even those who thought they had two left feet. While I did not have a chance to be her student, I did see her teach and remember her infectious joy and how she patiently encouraged all her students to just relax and dance. 

Nijole, thank you for being so generous and giving. We will miss you.

My deepest sympathy to Neris, Kovas, Vaiva and all of their friends.
Posted by Arunas Pemkus on October 1, 2020
p.Nijolė buvo puikiausia lietuvių tautinių šokių pedagogė. Jos dėka, pamilau, kaip ir daug Amerikoje (Čikagoje) gimusių lietuvių kartų, lietuviškus tautinius ir liaudies šokius. Deja, viskam ateina pabaiga - tešviečia Nijolei amžinoji Viešpaties apvaizdos žvakutė...
her Life

Nijolė Jasėnaitė-Pupienė

Nijolė passed away on September 10th at the home of her daughter Neris while in her daughter's loving arms after a brief battle with cancer.  
Nijolė is survived by her daughter Neris, grandchildren Kovas Palunas and Vaiva Palunas,  and by ex-husband Antanas Pupius.  Nijolė had a loving extended family.
Nijolė grew up in Kaunas Lithuania and while a child came to the United States via Austria, fleeing from war-torn Europe.  Her parents settled in Chicago specifically to offer their daughter an opportunity to be encompassed by their Lithuanian heritage.
Nijolė (or ponia Pupienė, as she was fondly called by many), was respected and highly revered throughout the Lithuanian folk dance world as a great teacher, having been involved with folk dance most of her life.  Through her remarkable leadership Nijolė was able to share her love of Lithuanian culture with her students, family and friends and encourage them to stay connected to their Lithuanian roots.
Education was important to Nijolė.  She got her chemistry degree at University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana and worked as a corporate research librarian for over 40 years. 

Her daughter Neris will be planning an in-person memorial in Chicago at a future date to be determined when travel and social distancing restrictions are lifted.

Condolence cards may be sent to Neris Palunas, 7 Emily’s Orchard Lane, Eastsound, WA 98245
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Nijolė Jasėnaitė-Pupienė's name to the Lithuanian Folk Dance Institute - Lietuvių Tautinių Šokių Insitutas.  Checks may be written to Lithuanian Folk Dance Institute, sent c/o Neris Palunas, 7 Emily's Orchard Lane, Eastsound  WA  98245.
Recent stories

Visada atmintyje

Shared by Alec Wolf on September 18, 2020
Ji sklido ramumu ir nuoširdumu. Kas Šeštadienio rytą ją sutinkant...trumpai persimetant žodžiu užkandžiaujant buvo lyg palinkėjimas beprasidedančiai dienai. Ponia Nijolė Pupienė visada liks mano atmintyje kaip šioje nuotraukoje: pilna džiugesio ir su šypsena.

Čikagos lituanistinės mokyklos prisiminimai apie brangią ponią Nijolę

Shared by Vida Rupšienė on September 14, 2020
Mylima ir visų gerbiama Ponia Nijolė Pupienė Čikagos lituanistinėje mokykloje išdirbo 26-erius metus ir 2018 metais nusprendė palikti tautinių šokių mokytojų gretas.

Nijolė buvo didelės Čikagos lituanistinės mokyklos šeimos globėja. Mokykloje tikrai palietusi kiekvieno širdį. Ją prisimename – kaip meilės kupiną Lietuvai ir lietuviams moterį. Ji nešykštėjo meilės ir šypsenos nei vaikui, nei suaugusiam.

Prabėgdami mažieji, pamatę mokykloje atminties stotelę poniai Nijolei, sako „ponia Pupienė – kodėl?“ Visi ją žino, visi prisimena- ir mažas, ir didelis.

Mūsų visų gerbiamos ir mylimos mokytojos Nijolės atmintis išliks visų širdyse. Manau, dar ilgus metus skambant „Blezingėlei“ sakysime - va Pupienės šokis.

Ponia Nijolė buvo atsidavusi šokiui ir mokymui.

Ji ne tik dirbo mokykloje ir mokė vaikus, bet ir vadovavo tautinių šokių kolektyvams, buvo tautinių šokių šventės meno vadovė.

JAV LB Švietimo taryba kasmet skiria Nusipelniusio Mokytojo premiją ilgus metus JAV lietuviškam švietimui atsidavusiam asmeniui. Premijos tikslas: atkreipti dėmesi į uoliai tarnavusius mūsų mokytojus ir, tuo būdu, puoselėti mokytojų ilgalaikį atsidavimą lietuviškam švietimui. Laureatui skiriamas honoraras. Mecenatas – Lietuvių Fondas.

Ir šią garbingą premiją 2016 m. gavo mok. Nijolė Pupienė (Chicago, IL), tai Nusipelniusio Mokytojo premija.

https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/1013691638/ryto-garsai-2018-05-15-06-30?time_start=10462&fbclid=IwAR1_VxB8Qiyhoi5qIqIxaSdD2VG-ufS7PIWUpLw8jYZom5mrZvvXUdTsVCI

Interviu su ponia N.Pupiene.

Nuoširdi užuojauta šeimai.

Giliai nuliūdusi Čikagos lituanistinės mokyklos šeima
Shared by Donatas Ramanauskas on September 14, 2020
I knew Ponia Nijole mostly through the collegiate division of the Lithuanian Scouts Association.  I was also long-time friends with her daughter Neris, so our paths all crossed at the various Lithuanian community events.  She always had a kind word and gave sage advice on many of life's questions.  While I was part of Grandis Lithuanian Folk Dance Ensemble, I knew Ponia Nijole also from all the time and effort she put forth organizing many of the quadrennial International Lithuanian Folk Dance events.  I cannot imagine how much time ad effort she devoted behind the scenes for years prior to each event, to make sure the events themselves were a success.  While I've seen her a few times afterwards, it was great to see her in her element once again at the Baltimore event in 2016.  That's how I will remember her.