Native artist and fisherman Gary Stevens dies at 53
August 23, 2023
Gary Albert Stevens, 53, passed away in June in his Las Vegas home of natural causes. His memorial service will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, at Chief Shakes House on Shakes Island in Wrangell, followed by a reception and potluck at the American Legion Hall.
He was born to Gary James and Susan Georgina Stevens on March 28, 1970, in Wrangell. He was Tlingit and Haida of the Naanyaa.iee clan. His Tlingit names were Gush Tlein, Ts'eil and "Eagle Looking Out on the Ocean." He was the first grandchild born to the Feller and Stevens family in Wrangell.
He graduated from Wrangell High School in 1989, and at the age of 20 moved to Ketchikan to learn Tlingit formline art.
He later went on to get an associate of arts degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, New Mexico, in 2001 and a bachelor of arts in English in 2003. He was given the Truman Capote Short Story Writer Award in 1999 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Gary owned Down the Mountain prints in Seattle from 2003 to 2012, and with his talent provided the designs for Alaska Wolf and Raven Silkscreens and Apparel owned by his mother and all the art prints for Naanyaa.iee kooexs from 2008 to 2013, and the design to celebrate the Shakes Island restoration in 2014.
When he was 23, he conceived a canoe project. He got community members involved and saw the result of their work at a ceremony for "The Dedication of the Wrangell Canoe" to the Wrangell Cooperative Association in April 1998. It now sits in front of the screen at the Shakes House.
His first commercial fishing trip was when he was a few weeks old, when he trolled on the Fairweather Grounds. He commercial fished with his dad and younger brother on the Miss Susan.
He was preceded in death by his father, Gary Stevens; grandmothers Carol Feller Brady, Patricia Youens Ewing and Edith Ann Stevens; grandfathers John Paul Feller Sr. and James Stevens; uncles Chuck Jenkins Sr., Albert Feller Sr., Otto Feller, Thomas Feller Sr., Carl Bean, Walter Stevens, John Fowler II, Christopher Feller, John Feller Jr., James Shirai, Chester, Ben and George Miyasato Sr .; aunts Sandra Moore, Patricia Ann Stevens and Rachel Shirai Peterson.
He is survived by his mother Susan Georgina Stevens; brother Mark Christopher Stevens; grandfather Brookner Scott Brady; Linnea Brooks, the long-time companion of his dad; uncles Carl Stevens, Earl Kloster, Jerry Knapp; aunts Helen Feller, Luella Knapp, Rhonda Lynn Smith, Harriet Beleal; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.