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)

Sandra Kay Gelber

Sandra Kay Gelber, a mother, physical therapist and wife, died May 4, 2014, in Juneau.
Born May 12, 1952, in Ohio,  her home was Alaska. She found peace in the wild of this world and shared it with everyone she knew.
A student of the human body, she cured what she could and soothed those who needed comfort. Her enthusiasm was legend, as were her travels. A force of nature, exercise was her religion, but she was proud to have been one of the Chosen.
She leaves behind her sisters, Cheron and her identical twin Susan Ott, son William “Will” Riley, 23, daughter Catherine “Katie” Riley, 21, and her husband, Tim Riley, who all miss the light of their lives.
She was noted for her work with autism and the families who suffer from it. Her efforts to open up the lives of the afflicted spoke volumes about her faith in the ability of the human body to cope with its challenges. Her hope was everyone could still the wilds within and find peace through expression of the body’s potentials. She worked her kids and they prospered from it.
Her family was also especially proud of her efforts to resolve her twin’s life changes and challenges to her benefit while navigating the modern complexities of law, finance and insurance, all at a distance.
Susan and her family will be forever thankful for their faithful advocate and guardian who refused to allow her sister to be abandoned to despair through no fault of her own.  
A pinnacle of health, she was lost on a sunny Sunday afternoon doing what she loved, walking in the woods. She was taken suddenly and her passing remains a mystery.
“The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the good folks who discovered her and tried to bring her back to us,” family members said. “We continue to be overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from all who knew her in both Sitka and Juneau. It speaks testaments to her example and impacts on those around her. The staff and patients at both Sitka Community and Bartlett Regional Hospitals have lost a loyal friend and co-worker.”
Remembrances, regrets and reconnections can be sent in care of the Riley Family, 1220 Glacier Avenue, C-310, Juneau AK 99801.
Please join the family to remember her at McPhetres Hall in Juneau on June 5, 2014, from 6 to 9 p.m., at a potluck; and in Sitka at the Allen Auditorium, Sitka Fine Arts Camp, June 7, 2014, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with a potluck to follow.
“She loved her world and she loved her life. She gave her heart away. We all miss her,” family and friends said.
A fire has gone out in our lives
A tree has been planted

Login Form