Riba May Dewilde
1964 - 2016
Riba May Dewilde, daughter of the departed Lloyd and Amelia Dewilde, sadly left us unexpectedly Nov. 26, 2016. She had 13 brothers and sisters, and she was the mother of six children: Levi Dewilde, Elliot Cruikshank, Wesley "Scotty" Cruikshank, Lana Simpson, Brian Simpson and Eli Simpson. She was born Dec. 2, 1964, on her mother's rabbit snare line between Ruby and Galena. She was raised on the north fork of the Koyukon River above Huslia, where she lived a subsistence lifestyle.
She raised her children in Eagle in a two-story cabin she had built with help from her kids. She was blessed with five beautiful grandchildren who filled her life with purpose and joy. Seven years ago, she moved to Tok, where she spent the remainder of her life. She enjoyed hunting, fishing and sewing with her grandchildren. She was a well-known artist who would create one-of-a-kind art pieces from animal bones, skins, hooves and other parts.
Mom was a kind women who encouraged and inspired people to make what they could with what they had. Her views on life shocked and influenced people to speak up for themselves. Anyone who was blessed with her presence was attracted to her way of life. Mom never wasted anything, from the soup pot she fed everyone with, to the art she spread all over the world; the bones of every animal she hunted was used. Mom lived her life free of any earthly bounds; with her children, she lived life on her terms and would not allow anyone to change that. Raising her six children the same way she was raised while preparing us for the modern world was our mother's dream. She could create gorgeous pieces of jewelry out of piles of carcasses and bones. She was beautiful, tough, creative; she was this amazing woman who worked hard for everything she owned. Everyone who knew her was blown away by her. She was a great person to talk to.
She will be dearly missed by many. We have lost a truly amazing woman. She knew so many people through her art and through her bright personality.
There will be a fundraiser today, Nov. 30, followed by a celebration of life Dec. 2, at the David Salmon Tribal Hall. Riba's family doesn't plan to sell any of her remaining artwork but will be auctioning one final piece at today's fundraiser. There will be a funeral and burial in Huslia, but the dates and arrangements are undecided at the moment. The family is accepting donations at this time for funeral costs, travel, et cetera. Visit her GoFundMe page at bit.ly/2fJ8kjK. There is also an Alaska USA account under the name Lana Simpson.
Riba Dewilde will be remembered always in our hearts, her artwork, and her skills that she has passed on to those who have been lucky enough to be a part of her life.
Please visit www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsminer to sign an online guest book.
Published by Daily News-Miner on Nov. 30, 2016.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Memorial Gathering
Celebration of Life
David Salmon Tribal Hall
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34 Entries
Looking for Thelma Dewilde. I miss you. Please call me in Anchorage 907 268 6576
Robin Tisland
July 28, 2021
l was lucky to have spent a few months around her workshop in Tok at Joe Young's ...she was the real deal . impressive , beautiful woman who could do it all . RIP Riba
charlie blaisdell
August 16, 2017
TO Riba - You were an amazing person who made the most of your artistic gift, so proud of your heritage - I will remember you always, and I hope you are with God the Great Spirit - peace to your children.
Rosalie Diamondville, Wyoming
January 23, 2017
I cherish my many memories of you Riba. you touched so many lives as you freely shared yourself with everyone. your art work was beautiful but not as beautiful as your heart. by this I will remember you. many prayers are surrounding your family and friends which encompass not only huslia ,eagle,tok,fairbanks, but the whole state of Alaska.we are all still in shock. we love you

December 10, 2016
My thoughts and prayers to family and friends.
Karlene John
December 6, 2016
Offering my deepest condolences
May the God of all comfort reside with you and revive your spirit and heart {Isa 57:15]
December 6, 2016
To La Ona,
I am sorry you lost your sister. I hope time heals everything. Valerie Legan
December 3, 2016
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all in your time of loss! Reba will be missed she was a beautiful artist. So creative. May God comfort you all in this time!
Suzanne Evans
December 3, 2016
My Dear cousin. I remember when I first met you in your mom and dad's house on the hill. You were already creating something beautiful. You introduced me to your Simpson boys. They already knew how to be nice and respectful. I admired you since the day I met you on that sunny June day way back when. You were so nice to me. Thank you for that. Will miss you lotsy my cousin.
Sharon Yatlin
December 3, 2016
Rest in Peace Riba
December 2, 2016
It is said in the Bible at Ecclesiastes 7:1 that a good name is better than good oil, and the day of death is better than the day of birth'. Reba made a good name with many throughout the community as seen by the commentary of her tenacity and freeness of giving. I'm sure your special memories of her will sustain you in the days ahead as she now rests in God's memory.
s. Jenkins
December 2, 2016
I don't really know how to express the loss I feel. Riba was a one of a kind woman who was a good friend of our family. She spent several years being my mother's (Florence "Flossie" Johnson) salmon fishing partner in Eagle in the Yukon River. Much of that time of fishing season she and her children lived with Mom. My mom became Grandma to Riba's children. I took my oldest grand daughter over to visit Riba here in Tok. Riba set her up to make her own hairpiece with dangling beads at the end of a bone to put in her long hair; making my grand daughter very happy. Riba could do anything. She built her own house in Eagle and did not let the fire that destroyed that home get her down. She built a bigger and customized log home to raise her children in. She put all her energy in helping people in the Eagle Village after the flood destroyed the entire old village, especially when the village folks were all isolated until the water receded and the ice blocks left behind were removed from the road. She made sure the process of getting all the misplaced family's a home started. Then she moved to Tok with her kids and took a small basic cabin to become a larger, more work efficient for her art; and a place for her kids and grandkids. I admired her so much. And her children all know how to survive on the land, and not be dependent on others to get by. While doing all that she made a living from selling her artwork. I am fortunate to have known Riba and to call her friend. I also count my blessings to be able to love her children as well. None of this would have been possible without Riba. RIP Riba. I know she and my Mom are visiting and fishing in heaven.
Eloise Howard
December 1, 2016
To the Riba DeWilde family, our prayers are with you. Riba's art work was amazing. She gave our family a gift of her beautiful artwork out of kindness. That type of kindness will stay with us throughout our lives. She shared her talent and time with the Eagle Community School children, this was a true gift to all the students who had contact with her and learned from her.

God bless you Riba. We will miss you.

Charlie, Marlys and Elva House, Eagle, AK
Charlie and Marlys House
November 30, 2016
Charlie and Marlys House
November 30, 2016
My condolences and prayers to all of the family. May she rest in peace.
Jenny Bell
November 30, 2016
Riba, I will miss you everyday, the times we shared and the beauty you brought to my life through your friendship and the splendor of your soul. You taught me about generosity, freedom and how not to fear anything in this world. You were my mentor and taught me how to live in the remoteness of Alaska. You are loved and always will be. Thank you for being part of my life.

To all of Riba's family my your hearts be always warmed by the memories of Riba as your sister, mother or grandmother. Always celebrate her life by living as graciously as she did.

Regina Feliciano
November 30, 2016
Rest in Peace Riba
November 30, 2016
Anne Cervenka
November 30, 2016
May you rest in peace Riba, you will be missed by all.
Evelyn Ekada
November 30, 2016
I am going to miss her everyday life stories, her descriptive writings of her many trips into the wilderness and the latest improvements she made to her house. Her life was rich in so many ways and she tried her hardest to continue her lifestyle in which she was raised. While she has gone on her journey, her memory will live on in our hearts and we can only carry her legacy by passing off information we were blessed with from our parents to our future generations. God be with her children and her family in the days ahead.
Irene Nicholia-Todd
November 30, 2016
My condolences and prayers go out to her family and many friends. She would give me piece of dry meat every time I saw her at events she was selling her art at, always enjoyed seeing her and catching up. Love you dear cousin and may you rest in peace, will miss you greatly.
Sharon Vent-Lestenkof
November 30, 2016
I am still shocked and very sad over the loss of my favorite artist and friend Riba. She helped me advance as an artist. Her favorite thing to say to me if she thought I was a little down was get lost in your art for a while My sincere condolences to her children, grandchildren and sibling whom I love so much.
November 30, 2016
RIP and may GOD be with the family
Pete Peter
November 30, 2016
Rest In Paradise My Friend
Kim Wiehl
November 30, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. I'm sorry for you loss. She was an incredible person.
Starla Cocchi
November 30, 2016
Riba was my friend and my neighbor. I knew Riba and Eli very well and we shared a holiday meal or two together at my home. Riba was an amazing woman whose talents were second to none. She will be dearly missed.
November 30, 2016
Probably the most talented artist I'll ever know <3 RIP RIBA <3
Sheila Vent
November 30, 2016
my ganaa, and sidatza. May our Lord Jesus open up His gate to His Heavenly Kingdom and let you in where you will rest eternally. Gonna miss you at the art shows. from one artist to another artist using our gift that we received from our Ancestors. You worked really hard here on earth and now you can rest and be our heavenly teacher so we can continue creating our artwork. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Rest in Peace sister. Loves
Mary Jane Derendoff
November 30, 2016
My heart is breaking for all the DeWilde family. I, as many of you, am still in shock and cannot believe Riba is gone. So many wonderful memories of my times with Riba, our picnics, berry picking, salmon cooking on Mission Creek. We came back from a long trip outside to be told, hurry down to Mission Creek with your skates. It has frozen smooth, and we are skate sailing. I have a big Alaska flag for a sail! It was another great day with Riba. Love, peace and hugs to Levi, Elliot, Scotty, Lana, Brian and Eli.
Gerri and Jan Dick
November 30, 2016
Reba sounds like a an incredible woman, mother, grandmother friend and a relative. Sorry to hear about your loss.
Irene Tritt
November 30, 2016
What an incredible woman! with talent, knowledge and and love of the life she lived. you will be greatly missed, may you rest in peace.
Jeanie Cattelan
November 30, 2016
I am totally shocked of the news of Riba's death. The first time we meet, we hit it off immediately from her love of the outdoors, her lifestyle, her art, & great personality. We trapped together one winter enjoying the outdoors together. She was a great lady.
November 30, 2016
Sue Entsminger
November 30, 2016
Sue Entsminger
November 30, 2016
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