Aija Vinters Brugman, 79, was born into this life May 9, 1944, in Riga, Latvia and born into eternal life September 16, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Aija’s parents, Eduards and Elza Vinters, fled Latvia when she was just a baby to avoid the Soviet occupation. Her parents emigrated to America with their young children when Aija was five, eventually settling in Indianapolis. Despite fleeing Latvia at a young age, her love of Latvian culture and music would shape Aija’s life.
From a young age, Aija demonstrated great skill in music, especially in piano and singing. She attended Indiana University to study music, and after graduating, went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Butler University. After college, Aija and Helmut H Brugman were married and spent the next forty years loving life together to the fullest, until Helmut’s death.
She passed on her love of music and Latvian culture to thousands of students. Aija was a music teacher in junior high schools early in her career and then taught private piano lessons for more than fifty years. As a conductor of numerous Latvian choral groups and a teacher at the Latvian summer high school “Garezers” in Michigan, Aija trained many generations of American and Canadian Latvians. At Garezers, Aija conducted the choir and taught singing classes for more than twenty years. She also conducted the Indianapolis Latvian Choir and formed the Indianapolis Latvian women’s ensemble, IDVASA, which performed throughout the US and Canada. She had the honor of being a conductor at numerous Latvian Song and Dance Festivals in the US and Canada. In 2018, Aija was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of singing in the Latvian Song and Dance Festival in her homeland of Latvia, joining more than 17,000 choir members in the closing performance.
While her teaching and conducting filled much of her days, her love of God and the gospel filled her heart. Aija loved reading and sharing scripture, which brought her great comfort during Helmut’s passing and her own illness. She proudly served as the President of the Latvian Lutheran Church of Indianapolis for many years.
Despite all of her professional and personal activities, Aija’s love and dedication to her family consumed most of her time. Be it accompanying her children on the piano while they performed at recitals, working alongside Helmut when he formed his own business, or spoiling her children and grandchildren with wonderful vacations, Aija sacrificed for and put her family first.
Aija is survived by her daughters Dzintra (Marc) Tuttle, Heidi Martinez, Ingi (Brendan) Jennings and her son Helmut (Maggie) Brugman; fifteen grandchildren; one great-grandchild; her sister Guna (Bill) Schnackel; one niece and two nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband; her parents; her brother Janis Vinters; and her nephew Chase Schnackel.
Visitation will be Friday, October 6 from 5 pm to 7:30 pm at Flanner Buchanan – Broad Ripple, 1305 Broad Ripple Ave., and the Funeral Service will be Saturday, October 7 at 10 am at the Indianapolis Latvian Community Center, 1008 W. 64th St. Interment at Floral Park Cemetery, then a luncheon at the Indianapolis Latvian Community Center, will immediately follow the service.
Friday, October 6, 2023
5:00 - 7:30pm (Eastern time)
Please note: Flanner Buchanan - Broad Ripple is open during construction. You can access our parking lot using the side entrances on Indianola Ave. or Haverford Ave.