Maria Kruelski, 91, was a musician, artist

Maria Kalakura Kruelski, 91, of Danbury, a musician and artist, died Feb. 11, 2012. She was the widow of Edward A. Kruelski, who died in 2000.

Mrs. Kruelski was born May 29, 1920, in New York City, a daughter of the late Nicholas and Lena (Pryslak) Kalakura.

She studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. She and her husband, a horticulturist and metallurgist, married in 1949 and lived in Queens and on Long Island.

They met when Mr. Kruelski, a square dance caller, needed a fiddle player for his band. In 1960, the Kruelskis made their home in Ridgefield, where they lived for 37 years before moving to Danbury.

While in Ridgefield, Mrs. Kruelski was active with the League of Women Voters and worked in the town planning and zoning office for many years.

Mrs. Kruelski was a woman of many talents. She started playing violin as a teen in a Ukrainian music trio. In her 20s, she played violin for several orchestras on the radio in New York City.

She was one of the original members of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, which she played with for many years.

Later in life, her musical interests turned to Old Time Fiddling and Cajun and Zydeco dance music.

She was a longtime member of Connecticut's Bristol Old Tyme Fiddlers Club, the Danbury Senior Center Cellmates and of the Cajun band Bayou Midnight.

She won numerous awards playing in fiddle contests all over New England, and was warmly received in pursuit of her passion as far away as Louisiana.

Mrs. Kruelski's other passion was teaching origami (the art of Japanese paper folding). She was a founding member of The Friends of the Origami Center of America.

The area she got most excited about was teaching the art of Ukrainian Egg Decorating, a tradition which has been passed down to her daughter and granddaughter.

Mrs. Kruelski is survived by a daughter, Elaine Dykman, and her husband, Robert of New Fairfield; two sons, Edward A. Kruelski Jr., of New Milford, and Donald A. Kruelski, and his wife, Mary Foste, of Herndon, Va.; four grandchildren, Ted, Alex, Alyssa and Robert III; one great grandchild, Mason; and several nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by a sister, Anne Kozoriz.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to NYU Langone Medical Center, Center of Excellence on Brain Aging, 145 East 32nd St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016.

Funeral services and burial in St. Mary Cemetery in Ridgefield will be announced.

The Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home in Danbury is in charge of arrangements.