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Dr. George J. Mangulis

Dr. George J. Mangulis, age 87 of Philip, SD, died December 11, 2009, at the Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16, at the Rush Funeral Home in Philip, and one hour preceding the services at the school on Thursday.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 17, at the Philip High School, with Pastor Martin Rubenis officiating.

Music will be provided by Marilyn Millage, pianist, and Maureen Palecek, vocalist. Ushers are Milo Zeeb, Charles Ekstrum and Darral Brooks. Pallbearers are George Mangulis, Anita Rubenis, Andra Mangulis, Astra Mangulis, Dr. Paul Dzintars and Dr. Coen Klopper.

Interment will be at a later date in Riga, Latvia.

Juris Georgs Mangulis was born in Riga, Latvia, on March 25, 1922, and was raised in Tukums, Latvia, where his father, a colonel in the Latvian army, was in charge of a military office. His medical school studies began in Riga at the University of Latvia but were interrupted by World War II, where he served in a medical unit with the Latvian Legion. After the war, his medical studies continued in Germany where he became the first Latvian Student Council president of the post-war established Baltic University. Medical school studies were finally completed at Hamburg University.

In 1951, as Lutheran Relief Organization sponsored immigrants, George, wife Ilga, and mother Irma crossed the Atlantic on the ship Sturgis to settle in Hastings, NE. After two years in Hastings, George learned that he could practice medicine in South Dakota upon completion of a year long internship at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls. In 1955, the family settled in Philip, and so began 50-plus years of service to the community of Philip.

Serving the people living in Philip and the surrounding western South Dakota plains, the early years included house calls, by car or by airplane, if needed. George delivered over 1,000 babies. One of his life-long goals was to see that Philip would thrive as a medical hub for Western South Dakota.

Due to the hard work and generous donations from the local community, much of this dream has been realized with the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital, the R. J. Talty Medical Center, and the Philip Nursing Home. The continuation of the dream would not be possible without the dedicated colleagues - close friends Dr. Coen Klopper and Dr. Dave Holman, P.A. Terry Henrie, CNP Robin Peterson-Lund, the nursing staff, support personnel, the local hospital board, and the affiliation with Rapid City Regional Hospital.

In an interview by the Pioneer Review in 2006, George said "(the hospital) is not the building itself; like a church, it is really the community that makes it what it is, not just a building. This hospital will be the last one in South Dakota, because the people will keep it going and keep it here. We have had a very good relationship between the employees, the administration, the community - the hospital family. I love it here."

In addition to the rewards of working with the community of Philip, George has been recognized for his work by the South Dakota Hall of Fame (1992), S.D. Family Physician of the year (2005), the South Dakota Academy of Family Physicians "Distinguished Member Award", "The Cross of Recognition Order" given by the Latvian government in 2007, and the Philip Community Service award (a favorite of his). He also won the Jefferson Award by the American Institute for Public Service for his recognition of outstanding public service, an award he deeply cherished.

One of the greatest joys of his life was being able to visit Latvia after almost 50 years of Soviet occupation. George was able to reconnect with family and friends and to walk the familiar streets of his childhood. And life just kept getting better. George married Rasma Lielmane, a professional violinist, on December 23, 1991. Accompanying Rasma on many of her concert tours, George became a world traveler. In addition, George and Rasma have a home in Riga, Latvia which they visited frequently over the years.

He is survived by his wife, Rasma Lielmane of Philip, SD; children George (Barb) of Piedmont, SD, Andra of Lakewood, CO, Astra of Denver CO, Anita (Martin Rubenis) of Lakewood, CO; grandchildren, Matthew (Jenny) of Mankato, MN, Marisa (Nick Alderson) of Lancaster, WI, and Maris Rubenis of Lakewood, CO; and great-grandchildren, Madison of Mankato MN, and Landon and Calisa of Lancaster, WI. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews in Australia, Canada, Latvia, and the United States.

George was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Ilga (1968), three half-sisters, Tatjana, Nina, and Vera.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to Philip Health Services for special programs and to Haakon County Prairie Transportation.

Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Home of Philip.

Online guestbook available at www.rushfuneralhome.com