Sky Kaya Nez, 48, of the Standing Row of Pinetree clan & Standing Walnut Tree, of Whiteriver, AZ was reunited with his departed mother, father, and youngest brother on November 8, 2022. Sky was born on January 23, 1974 to Tinker and Phoebe Nez, and spent his early years in Show Low, Arizona surrounded by his many aunts and uncles.
The oldest of around 40 grandchildren of Grant and Pearl Tortice Lee, Sky always led the way, with panache and gusto! Among his many accomplishments include being Alchesay High School’s Class of “Power 92,” student body president his senior year, graduating from Northern Arizona University with a BA in communications & a minor in business management, being the youngest deejay on 88.1 KNNB Apache Radio at age 13, completing a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pocatello, Idaho, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Fort Apache Scout newspaper, traveling to Alaska for a Native radio internship, and visiting Hawai’i, directing the summer Johnson O’Malley work program under the WMAT Education Department, being the first college graduate recipient of the Johns Hopkins University American Indian Public Health Certificate, and presenting to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. He indeed magnified his many talents on earth, and was renowned as a jeweler, writer, poet, photographer, painter, and baker. The White Mountain Apache Culture Center and Museum hosted an exhibit of his work in 2014. He was also a member of the Native American Journalists Association.
Sky was a true friend to everyone and loved using his talents in creative ways to make others happy. Despite being such an accomplished man, the role he most cherished was as a kind & caring uncle to his niece and five nephews, who he always showered with love and attention. His love for his family was boundless. Sky Nez loved his Apache culture, and was always seen at the dances, standing behind the singers, visualizing the images contained in those sacred songs & he always honored Apache women. In a moment of solemn beauty, Sky began his journey back to the Creator through an Apache journey song sung by his cousin on Akimel O’odham lands in Chandler, AZ.
He is survived by sister, Olivia and her husband Matt McReynolds, brother, Darin and his wife Nikki Nez, and his nieces and nephews Maddox Cash Nez, Nezbah Sky McReynolds, Elliott McReynolds, Ollie McReynolds, Austin Nez and Cameron Nez and his Goddaughter TiAnna Riley. He is missed by so many souls whose lives he touched.
A Viewing will be held Monday, November 14, 2022, from 9:00-12:00 a.m. at the Downtown Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Graveside Services will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the Show Low Cemetery.