Strautmanis, Maris Voldemars
December 25, 1961 – April 13, 2015
Age 53, died peacefully at his home in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Monday, April 13, 2015, after living a full and rich life and surviving pancreatic cancer for four years. He was surrounded by his beloved wife and partner of 25 years, Tamsie Ringler, and the pride of their life, son, Lauris, age 10. Maris, son of Imants and Irena Strautmanis, was born in Fond du Lac, at St. Agnes Hospital, attending Evans Elementary and Sabish Junior High before graduating from Goodrich High School in 1980. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 and then married Tamsie, who he met at college, on August 19, 1989 on Washington Island, Wisconsin. Maris and Tamsie went on to have many wonderful adventures together as Tamsie pursued a professional career as an artist and Maris’ career in journalism spanned print media, radio and finally video, where he found his true vision as a producer of documentaries. After a brief stint in Illinois, where Maris worked for the City News Bureau of Chicago, the two of them moved to Austin, Texas, where Tamsie earned her Master of Fine Arts degree and Maris worked for the Bureau of Economic Geology, both at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1991, they moved to Minneapolis, where Maris was news director at KFAI Community Radio, and in 1998 they moved to Portland, Oregon, where Lauris was born. Tamsie taught art at Mt. Hood Community College where Maris studied television production and he eventually worked as a producer and videographer at MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, Oregon. In 2008, Maris and Tamsie returned to the Midwest when Tamsie accepted a position first at St. Catherine University in Minneapolis and later at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, of which Maris was extremely proud and happy. Meanwhile, Maris was a freelance producer for St.Paul Neighborhood Network and a production specialist for Lakes Area Community Television. Throughout his life his work as a journalist was interlinked with his wife’s creative practice and he generously supported her work and the work of numerous sculptors and arts organizations through pro-bono projects and documentation. Tamsie’s teaching career sent the two of them (later joined by Lauris) travelling together – to England multiple times, to Wales, Brazil, Germany and finally to Latvia, the country of his heritage. Maris spoke the language fluently and participated extensively in Latvian cultural and social acitivites. Even while he was diagnosed and being treated for cancer, he travelled twice to the Pedvale Open-Air Art Museum in rural Latvia to film a documentary about Tamsie’s work coordinating the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art, held in 2014. Maris was a kind and generous family man with a great sense of humor — a supportive, fiercely loyal husband to Tamsie, devoted father to Lauris, and dedicated member of his extended family. He loved roots music, good coffee, cooking, camping, bonfires, and spending summers with family at Tamsie’s family’s property on Washington Island or at his dad’s backyard pool on Hillcrest Lane. He lived with the cruel disease cancer, but refused to allow it to keep him from doing what he loved with those he loved. He lived life to its fullest until he could live no more, and he will be greatly missed. Maris is survived by his wife, Tamsie Ringler and son, Lauris Strautmanis of St. Paul; father, Imants Strautmanis of Fond du Lac; sister, Rasma (Robert) Barbee of Fond du Lac; brother, Sig Strautmanis of Cedarburg; mother- and father-in-law, Karin and Dick Ringler of Madison; brother- and sister-in-law, Thor Ringler and April Sopkin of Madison; nephews and nieces, Henry and Max Barbee, Helena and Sven Marnauz, Uve and Anna Strautmanis, and Fritz and Archana Ringler. Maris was preceded in death by all four of his grandparents, his mother, Irena Strautmanis, brother, Lauris Strautmanis, sister, Rita Strautmanis, and sister-in-law, Alisa Strautmanis. A Celebration of Maris’ Life will be held on Washington Island on August 15, 2015. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Lauris’ Education Fund, c/o Tamsie Ringler, 196 Page Street West, St.Paul, MN 55107.