Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

In Memoriam: Rev. Luis Uzeuta, Jr.

Rev. Luis Uzueta, Jr. (photo courtesy Bishop Stephen Charleston)

Rev. Luis Uzueta, Jr.
(photo courtesy Bishop Stephen Charleston)

The Rev. Luis Uzueta Jr., of North Pole, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 3, 2016. He was the priest-in-charge at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in North Pole. He was born Sep. 7, 1947, in Deming, New Mexico, to Luis Uzueta, Sr., and Anna Sandoval Uzueta.

In 1970 he married Lona Claire Coffey. Upon graduation with a journalism/history degree from New Mexico Highlands University that same year, the couple moved to Nebraska. Later that year he became the publisher and editor of two weekly Nebraska newspapers, the Arapahoe Public Mirror and the Holbrook Observer.

While in Arapahoe, they were blessed with the birth of their two children, AnnaLee and Marcos.
In 1974, Luis and Lona sold their business and the family moved to Wisconsin where Luis earned his master of divinity degree three years later from Nashotah House Episcopal Theological Seminary. The family then moved back to Nebraska. On Dec. 6, 1977, Luis was ordained as a priest. He served in several parishes and missions in the Diocese of Nebraska between 1977 and 1991. He was also the editor of the diocesan publication, The Nebraska Churchman, and was an award-winning photo-journalist.

In 1991, the family moved to North Pole, where Luis became Canon to the Ordinary to the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston. His special ministry in that capacity was providing and coordinating training for lay people and locally-ordained clergy. He became the priest-in-charge of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, North Pole, in 2001.

In other endeavors, Luis trained himself to be a custom firearms engraver. He and Lona both enjoyed participating in Cowboy Action Shooting and were members of the Golden Heart Shootist Society, of which he was serving his second term as president.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Anna and Luis, Sr. He is survived by his wife, Lona Claire Uzueta; daughter AnnaLee Pauls and her husband, George; son Marcos Uzueta, siblings Mary White, Dolly Uzueta, and David Uzueta, nephews Evan Stubbs and Conan White, niece Gentry White, and a host of friends.

Luis will be remembered for his deep compassion and understanding, as well as his witty sense of humor. His genuine love of discovery was reflected in his constant pursuit of learning

The funeral will be held Saturday, Jan. 9, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Fairbanks. The viewing will be from noon to 1 p.m., with the service beginning at 1 p.m.. Officiating will be the Rt. Rev. Mark Lattime. Chapel of Chimes is in charge of arrangements. Memorial contributions can be made to the Fairbanks Rescue Mission or Access Alaska.


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Published in Daily News-Miner on Jan. 7, 2016 – See more at:



“I lost a friend today. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. His passing caught me off guard, stole my breath away, left me standing numb. We worked together in Alaska. He was Mexican. I was Indian. A perfect pair to skim the tundra in a single engine plane, chase the Northern Lights on cold winter nights, listen to stories told over cups of sweet hot tea. How strange to think he is not here. How wonderful to know he is still here. Death is life lived in a new way, a change in light as the sun sets behind the distant mountains. Death is love shared in a different way, a familiar voice heard on the evening breeze. One day soon he and I will see one another again. I know this is true.To the deepest part of my heart I know it. Breathe deep the memory. The ones we loved are watching. Breathe deep the mystery. The ones who loved us are waiting.” [posted by The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston]


Prior to serving in Akasla,  Fr. Uzeuta had served the Diocese of Nebraska from 1977 until 1991 at St. Matthew’s, Lincoln, St. Stephen’s, Ashland, Trinity Memorial, Crete, St. Mark’s, Gordon, and St. Mary’s, Rushville.  He was also Editor of the Nebraska Churchman.

The following tribute is from The Diocese of Alaska.  Many thanks to Phyllis Krotz for sharing it with us.

“With a heart spilling over with grief and shock, I share the news that our brother in Christ, (The Reverend) Luis Uzueta, died last night. He was at his home in N. Pole with his wife, Lona, when he collapsed. He was transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. It is believed he suffered a heart attack.
Please pray for Lona, her children, the family of St. Jude’s, and all who are grieving the loss of our friend.”  [Excerpts from the Facebook page of the Diocese of Alaska]

He is survived by his wife, Lona, and her children. Cards or notes could be sent to Lona at 1392 Benshoof Dr., North Pole, AK 997015.


(Thanks to Kathy Graham for additional information.)

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