Bryant Sonny Pirughtaq Koonooka

Bryant Sonny Pirughtaq Koonooka

August 14, 1973 ~ April 11, 2018

Bryant Sonny Pirughtaq Koonooka was born on August 14, 1973 to Job and June Koonooka.

Piru grew up going to school and staying close to the land and sea. His family always went camp every summer, first to Ikuygek. Then later the family camped down south. Those days there were many families camping, so we always had neighbors from both here and from Savoonga and built close ties with relatives. We mostly camped with Timmy and family at Aghvightek. Then we built our own cabin at Naayvam Kangii. Piru started hunting birds down there and became his favorite subsistence activity. He also went crabbing with his dad Job and that also became a favorite winter activity, as well as uupaniiq on the shore ice otherside. He went boating with his uncle Paapi at spring hunting. From then he got accustomed to hunting walrus. He learned to carve at high school and made a living by carving bone, ivory and baleen. Job also very much enjoyed time with his sons going looking for and hunting reindeer on the island. Many times they went together in summer and winter.

Piru completed high school in 1991 as class valedictorian. In 1992 he went to AVTEC in Seward and completed training as a heavy equipment operator with his buddy and cousin Jeremy, and other cousin Gilbert. They all came back and the next year started working with VSW installing water systems and sewage and running water in the houses in the next few years.

In May 9, 1997 he married the love of his life, Cheryl. They had three daughters Chanelle Ingleq, Vanessa Mercedes Kangk, Jeannie Uker, as well as two sons Harry Agluuy and Amos.

Then later he got his pride and joys, his grand children Emerson Aghvaay, Parker Apaluuya and baby Aubrey Lynn Esnengiitaq, whom he loved so dearly.

After that he worked with a crew extending the water plant, then worked there with VSW. He operated a lot of the heavy machinery in the village. He and his crew kept them well maintained.

In 2006 he built a cabin about halfway to south side to be able to go camping quickly and to have shorter and faster for weekend trips. He also was part of making the roads in 2010.

In 2016 he got hired at NSHC, so he moved to Nome and traveled around the villages working on their VSWs. There also he lived in the same building as his daughter Kangk, who worked at Quyana Care. He got to always spend time with her, other daughters, and his dearest grandchildren. They got to have time together going berry picking, fishing, riding even by boat to White Mountain.

Dear Piru passed away on the evening of April 11, 2018 at the Norton Sound Regional Hospital.

Piru is preceded in death by his aunts, uncles and cousins (in chronological order), Gilbert Levi Semyu, Myron Tallimak, Eldon Aghpuuk, Timmy Temkeruu, Carla Apiyaya, Ila Qasaak, Kevin Tekeghaghwaaq, Gerard Angaaya, Archie Yugraawen, Donna Anaghateki, Rachel Wista and Judy Atenga; his grandparents Harold Tiiwri and Ina Waalla, Vernon Qaqsungiq and Beda Avaalak; and his mother-in-law Jessie Ayuqliq.

He is survived by his parents Job and June; aunt Roberta Uumki whom he considered as his second mom; brother Chris Petu, sisters Denise Tekep, Jewel Ayuuk & Ina Qasaak; his loving wife Cheryl; daughters Chanelle Ingleq, Vanessa Kangk, Jeannie Uker; his sons Harry Aglughaq and Amos; his nieces Denisha Safi, Natalie Ukaala and Ella Qanenguq; his grandsons Emerson Aghveghaqetaq and Parker Apaluuya; and granddaughters Evelyn Qanik, Kiana Inghuyaghhaq and dearest Aubrey Lynn Esnengiitaq; as well as many uncles, aunts and cousins.


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

External Links