Gabriel Peter Guest was born in Bethel, Alaska on April 9th, 1943 to Archpriest Zachary and Matuska Sophia Guest. This was a much simpler time before we had snow machines, outboard motors, cellphones, running water, and all comforts of home that we now take for granted. Families were mainly dependent on subsistence hunting, fishing, trapping, and picking berries. Gabe grew up in a time where sled dog teams were the only means of transportation.
Gabe joined the Army National Guard in 1962 when he was 19 years old. In his first 7 years of service he became a Qualified Expert in weapons from .50 cal. rifles, M-16, and many others. He ranked Sergeant E-5 where he served in the Second Scout Battalion, 297th Infantry. He was dedicated to the Army National Guard for over 11 years. In March 1974 he received an Honorable Discharge.
Gabe met the love of his life Alexandra Sassa Petla at the Queen Fisheries Cannery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. He married her on August 29, 1971 by Father Nicolai Michael from Kwethluk. Soon after they had their one and only daughter, Sheila.
Gabriel was a self-taught man, having to learn everything the hard way by trial and error. In his early years he managed to teach himself how to play the guitar, harmonica, and mouth harp. He successfully built his own house, fish cache, and smokehouse in the late 1970s.
In 1985 at the age of 42, Gabe was determined to go back to school and get his GED before his daughter who would later graduate in 1990. Gabe was the absolute definition of a “Jack of all Trades” for he knew about several areas in the labor industry. He did construction, helping build many structures in his home village as well as Bethel.
He became an expert welder. Gabe was an excellent wood carver and he could make dogsleds, wooden sailboats, wooden toys like bathtub bots, or guns – all hand-carved.
There was nothing he loved more than becoming a grandparent. He would often travel to visit his grandchildren and even lived in Dillingham with them for a while. Although he loved spending time with family, he also greatly appreciated having his own house, boat, maqii, smokehouse, and not having to rely on anyone but himself.
Gabe was a very humble man and lived a simple life similar to the way he grew up, with very few luxuries and all the necessities for proper subsistence. He really enjoyed making people laugh, by telling a silly joke or a simple magic trick. His happy-go-lucky persona and worry-free attitude will truly be missed. Gabe was not one to break a promise, so he didn’t make any he couldn’t keep. He would tell us “weather permitting” when traveling or say “God Willing” if attempting to make plans for the future.
Anyone that knew him in his most recent years knew that he liked to play and win Bingo, eat tradition native foods followed by a hot cup of tea and fresh bread, visiting family, telling stories, watching old Western movies, and most of all making each and every single one of us feel special to him.
Gabe is survived by his only daughter Sheila, son-in-law Leo Roehl Jr.; grandchildren: Ali, Lynda, Michele, Leo III, and Jayden Roehl. Great-grandchildren: Beverly and Tevin Roehl. Siblings: Olga Active, Xenia Jackson, Martha and Jack Beaver, Moses and Emma Guest, Dorothy Eggerman, George and Alex Guest. Along with nieces and nephews too many to name, countless cousins, not to mention many great-nieces and nephews.
Gabriel is preceded in death by his parents: Archpriest Zachary and Matuska Sophia Guest. Wife: Alexandra Sassa Guest. Siblings: Peter, Yako, Charles Jr., and Carol.
Not a lot of people knew that my Apii was battling cancer for a few years. Our family has been through several treatments, remission, and everyting in between. We had to endure the bad and the worst of cancer. Please remember that my Apii would not want anyone to be sad for him, because he was a Man of God and truly believed that the Lord will grant his soul eternal life. He will rejoice and reunite with his loving wife, parents, siblings, and countless others.