Ray “Suanuak” Anawrok
Ray Anawrok, known as “Benson” to close cousins, nieces and nephews, was born on May 29, 1947 in Unalakleet. Ray grew up there and as an adult lived in Anchorage.
In the late 1980s, Ray relocated to Seattle, Wash.; Long Beach, Calif., and in 2007, he settled in Korea Town, Los Angeles until his death on March 7, 2017.
Ray’s most recent career began in 2003 in human resources department for the County of Los Angeles. A co-worker said he was a well-respected and valued employee who always went the extra mile to be of service. In May 2016, Ray received a career achievement award from the County. The human resources department will miss his attention to detail and cheerful smile.
In his free time, Ray enjoyed driving his MINI Cooper Roadster along the California coast and traveling inland to attend various Native American Pow Wows and rolling the slot machines in Las Vegas, Nev.
Traveling back home to Unalakleet in summers, to both gather subsistence foods and visit family and friends, was a rite Ray looked forward to and he always had a story to share with co-workers upon his return to Korea Town. Ray was a spiritual being with an ever present sense of serenity and humility about him that he nurtured and shared with those he loved and strangers alike.
Ray was preceded in death by his mom Helen Anawrok; grandparents Oliver and Nannie Anawrok; aunts Frieda Riley, Esther Agibinik, Alice Anagick and Margaret Moore; uncle Nathan Anawrok; brothers Francis Anawrok and William Henry Upicksoun; and father, Arthur N. Upicksoun.
Surving Ray is aunt Rena Anawrok; brother, Allen Upicksoun; sisters, Alma Upicksoun, Martha Upicksoun Feenstra and Anna Upicksoun and many cousins, nieces and nephews who will miss him dearly.
Ray’s final resting place is Unalakleet, near his grandparents and mom. He had two favorite charities. In lieu of flowers and cards, please consider donating in Ray’s honor to either: Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org; or the Southern California Indian Center Inc., www.indiancenter.org.
Ray also supported, since its inception, the American Indian Changing Spirits recovery group located in Long Beach.
Love you loads, Ray. Aho.