Victor J. Antanaitis, 91, passed away peacefully on Oct. 21, 2018, in Stafford, Conn. The son of the late Joseph and Josephine (Krivatskis) Antanaitis, he was the beloved husband of the late Alvah Naomi (Ventres) Antanaitis.
Born and raised in Hartford, he was a longtime resident of Berlin and lived for the past 15 years in Stafford.
He leaves a son and two daughters, Dr. Bradley Antanaitis of Morrisville, Penn.; Jamie Birchall and Tracy Capello, both of Stafford; five grandsons, David Antanaitis and his wife, Debbie of Northville, Mich., Sean Antanaitis and his wife, Katrina of Baltimore, Md., Christopher Antanaitis of Morrisville, Parker Birchall of East Hampton, and Kyle Birchall of Stafford; and a great-granddaughter, Rebecca Antanaitis of Northville. He also leaves many special nephews, nieces and cousins. He was predeceased by a daughter-in-law, Deborah (Narcini) Antanaitis and a son-in-law, Andrew Egri.
Victor served as an Engine Room Fireman in the U.S. Coast Guard toward the end of WWII, serving on the U.S.S. General H.S. Hodges, which ultimately picked up homecoming soldiers in Calcutta, India. He was honorably discharged on May 21, 1946. Soon after, he entered The Hartford Art School, earning his degree in both fine and commercial arts.
He worked as an illustrator for the National Fire Insurance Company, the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, and the Fuller Brush Company. He later worked in advertising production management positions for Fuller Brush, and finally for Aetna Life & Casualty until his retirement in 1992. Throughout his years, he took on freelance commercial and fine art jobs and owned a collectible stamp business called Unique Topical Stamps.
As a fine artist, he worked in a wide variety of media. His work has been displayed at a variety of venues, including The Wadsworth Atheneum, The Brooklyn (NY) Museum, The Farmington Arts Guild, and The New Britain Art League.
During the 1950s, Victor and Alvah organized the first sports diving club in the northeast, The Associated Skin-Divers. Club members participated in underwater spearfishing and skin diving activities and tournaments, and SCUBA diving, along with training and safety courses. Many ASD meets occurred off of Napatree Point, Watch Hill, R.I.
His love of the sea never ceased. During the late 1960s, he built a 22-foot Luger cabin cruiser from a kit. The boat was aptly named, The Good Grief, and family and friends enjoyed high adventure and fun times with it on the Atlantic Ocean. Victor was also, along with his wife Alvah, an active member of the Berlin Historical Society and the Berlin Congregational Church for many years.
After moving to Stafford in 2003, he became a member of the Tolland County Art Association and the American Legion Post 26 of Stafford. He was also a member of the Stafford Historical Society, Stafford Lions Club, and the Stafford Senior Center, where he participated in the singing group, The Goldentones.
A calling hour will be held Monday, Oct. 29 at The Berlin Memorial Funeral Home from 10:30-11:30 a.m. followed by a Celebration of Life service at the Berlin Congregational Church at 12 p.m. and burial in Maple Cemetery. Repass to follow at the Berlin Congregational Church.
Memorial donations may be sent to The Friends of the Worthington Meetinghouse, P.O. BOX 8192, Berlin, CT 06037.