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1959 Matthew 2024

Matthew R. Puariea

February 14, 1959 — March 26, 2024

Albuquerque

Matthew R. Puariea

Born: February 14, 1959

Died: March 26, 2024

 

Matthew Puariea, Matt, passed away March 26, 2024 from complications of depression. He was born within a month of his parent’s relocation from Illinois to Albuquerque. They traveled via Volkswagen bug in January and when he was old enough to know, he told his Mom he would have been mad to be born an Okie. He was born on Valentines Day, the perfect birthday for such a kind hearted man. 


He grew up in the Northeast heights of Albuquerque riding bikes, catching lizards in the mesa and camping and fishing. The family camped for recreation and many campgrounds around the state were family favorites. He participated in Boy Scouts and sang with a Youth Choir that performed throughout the State. Matt was a gracious big brother and taught his siblings to fish and drive. He graduated High School from Eldorado, exhibiting a gift for welding. Completing a welding program at TVI, he moved to Texas and worked for a couple of years. 


Upon his return, he applied and was hired into a 5 year apprenticeship program at Sandia National Laboratories as a Structural Technician. Once the apprenticeship program was complete, he became a journeyman. The duties included were plant modifications, carpentry, mechanical work on building systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, rigging and crane work, machinery moving and installation, as well as steel fabrication and welding. He was considered by his peers, an expert welder and worked the last decade in the sheet metal shop. He earned many letters of commendation from lab customers and managers. He was a perfectionist in all of his work and the engineers that ran projects at the Labs, preferred his work. They would say, “I requested him on all my jobs because he always did it just right.” When he was finally satisfied with the completion of a job well done, he would say, “that’s just lovely.” 


He supported organized labor both as a union member and and served for many years as a trustee for the Metal Trades Council and was a long time delegate of the Central New Mexico Labor Council. He often hauled water to meetings, collecting the plastic for recycling. He believed in recycling all he could, wherever he found himself, at work, home or even traveling. As an example, he hauled bags of glass back from Glacier National Park because they had no glass recycling. 


He was a fixture at the All Unions Labor Day Picnic at Tiguex Park. He washed watermelons, provided knives and cutting boards to cut the watermelons, roasted corn, supplied pounds and pounds of green chili as well as sliced cheese. Anyone who tasted his guacamole loved it and made sure to look out for it at pot lucks. The folks in the break room at work were always pleased to see his zucchini bread show up, he reported it never lasted long.


When Matt’s Father passed away early, he began eating dinner with his Mom, barring union meetings, for the rest of her life. They cooked together and Matt helped with the garden for many years. They also had season tickets to the NM Philharmonic Classics Series and enjoyed many symphonies together. The last several years of symphony attendance found Mom surrounded by three of her children, enjoying the talents of the Philharmonic. Matt was the official driver.


Throughout the years, Matt enjoyed many various activities; roller blading, skiing, mountain biking, sailing, camping, snow shoeing, and hanging out watching PBS or movies. He was a member of the Military Officers Association of America Ski Club for many years, but a shoulder injury ended that fun. 


Unfortunately, retirement found Matt struggling with his health and finding purpose with the loss of Mom. His siblings will miss him terribly, but will always remember all the fun we had together. 


Matt is survived by his siblings, Ben Puariea (Patricia), Beth Clark (Donnie), Karla Puariea and Jeffrey Puariea, nieces & nephews; Chris, Bryan, Katelyn and Greg, as well as great-nieces and great-nephews and dear cousins. He is preceded in death by parents, Jack & Shirley Puariea, grandparents, aunts, uncles and several cousins. 


We will have a small service for him at La Puerta Natural Burial Grounds on Friday, April 26, 2024 at 10:30 am. Allow at least an hour to arrive. Please see the map below and make sure to bring a folding chair, sunscreen, a sun hat and a beer to share with Matt. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, Matt wouldn’t want folks dressing up.


Pall bearers will be Jeffrey Puariea, Gregory Saavedra, Karl Kuhn, Tom Wank and Richard Parker.

      If you would like to make a donation in memory of Matt, the family would recommend either PBS or the New Mexico Philharmonic.

      Directions to La Puerta Natural Burial Grounds are below in the Photo Gallery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Matthew R. Puariea, please visit our flower store.

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