BOX OF TREASURES – Haida artist Holly Churchill, of Ketchikan, shows Sitka High School senior Myles Magie a weaving technique on a cedar bark basket Wednesday in the Sitka High art room. Churchill finished a three-week residency today sponsored by the Sitka School District and Sealaska Heritage Institute's Sharing Our Box of Treasures" program. Her residency included work in the high school's new dual-credit program with UAS, the Northwest Coast Arts class, and sessions with Blatchley Middle School and the Sitka Native Education Program Culture Class. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Tomas Puerta

    Family and friends of Tomas Puerta will gather 3 p.m. Saturday at the Halibut Point Recreation Area main shelter to celebrate his life and share memories.
    Tomas, a Sitka resident for 25 years, died Oct. 14 at age 54.
    He was born Sept. 7, 1958, in Chihuahua, Mexico, the son of Loreto Ayala and Librado Puerta. He came to the United States as a young man and lived in other states before coming to Sitka in about 1987. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service.
    He enjoyed hunting and fishing, riding motorcycles, and following football and soccer. He had a ranch in Mexico,  and   he usually wore cowboy hats and boots.
    He married Vanessa Hernandez in February 2010 in Chihuahua, Mexico.
    Tomas was preceded in death by his father, Librado Puerta, 17 years ago; a brother Carlos Puerta, a year ago; other brothers Carmelito Puerta and Federico Puerta; and a sister, Librada Puerta.
    He is survived by his wife, Vanessa Hernandez; a son Jeremy Puerta of Oregon;  a baby daughter and young son in Chihuahua; his mother, Loreto Ayala; a sister, Florentina Puerta; brothers Fidel, Jessie, Librado and Odilon Puerta, all of Mexico; and loved ones in Sitka,  including Kristol Hammack, Amanda, Brandon and Trever Hammack, nieces Hilda R. Puerta and Dora Eells, and friend Jose “Cowboy” Gonzalez.
    His family in Mexico includes nieces and nephews Olis R. Puerta, Aldo R. Puerta, Olis, Aldo, Carlos, Jenny and Gerardo Puerta.
    “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things, therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

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