FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Geraldine Alice (Antioquia) Garcia

A celebration of life for Geraldine Alice “Geri” (Antioquia) Garcia will be held 2-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Swan Lake Senior Center, hosted by Shee Atika and the Emblem Club.
Geri, 62, died Dec. 16, 2012, in New Bedford, Mass., following a courageous, three-year battle with cancer.
 She was born in Juneau on April 3, 1950, the oldest daughter of Elizabeth (Antioquia) and Glenn Howard. She was Tei Kweidi, the Brown Bear clan and the Eagle tribe.
She grew up in Sitka, where she helped take care of younger siblings Glenn, Doris, Darryl, Cynthia and Judith. She also helped in caring for “Gram” Kitty Charlie, her great-great-grandmother, from whom she learned to speak Tlingit fairly well.
Geri held several jobs throughout her life, as an EMT, a caregiver and purchaser for an office company. She spent the majority of her life as a mother and homemaker.
She married Robert Thompson, and they moved to Ohio for Robert’s tour with the Coast Guard. Eventually they moved to Massachusetts, where Bob was from. Their children are Tracey, David and James.
After several years of marriage, the two divorced. Geri met and married Jose Garcia, and became stepmother to Jennifer.
 Geri loved taking things apart to see how they worked, or fix them if necessary. She helped her Pop work on cars and boats. Building the Squirt, the last boat Pop built, became a family project.
Geri also enjoyed reading, and loved to dance; one of her dancing partners was Charlie Daniels. She was always learning new dance steps, and her favorite of late was the Electric Slide.
Geri came home to Sitka many summers, and along with visiting family, and friends from high school would volunteer in many ways, including at the Alaska Raptor Center and Emblem Club, as well as at the senior center, delivering meals to those at home.
Also during the visits, she and her nephew Brandon would hike up to the graves of great-great-grandparents Sitka and Kitty Charlie, and Grandma Anne Antioquia. She cleaned their graves and put down flowers.
Geri was very proud of her Tlingit heritage, and became a member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood. In her home in Massachusetts she created a Tlingit Wall, which had many pieces of Tlingit art, carvings and postcards.
She attended the Assembly of God Church while in Sitka.
She liked to travel, and she and Joe visited Joe’s family home in Portugal many times. She also traveled by train to Canada on a family trip to Whitehorse, and in 2008 she and Joe surprised her daughter and family in Hawaii for Tracey’s wedding to Paul.
Geri is survived by her parents, Elizabeth and Glenn Howard of Sitka; and children Tracey Ray and husband Paul of Nebraska, David Thompson and  wife Tammy of Kansas, James Thompson of New Bedford and Jennifer Madeira and her husband Paul of New Bedford.
Her siblings, all of Sitka, are Glenn Howard (Joni), Darryl Howard (Stacy), Cynthia Bass (Mark) and Judith Kell (Tony). One sister, Doris Anselm, preceded her in death.
 She also is survived by six grandchildren, Justin, Samantha, Cody, Nathan, Aisyn and Brendan; one great-grandchild, Kora; nine nieces and nephews; four grandnieces and grandnephews; 12 maternal aunts and uncles; and five paternal aunts and uncles.

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