SITKA TRADITION – Ricky Jarvill, Blatchley Pool manager, and Emma Edson of Alaska Marine Safety Education Association help third-grade students walk out of the water at the Crescent Harbor boat ramp Thursday. The entire third grade learned about cold water survival in the program coordinated by Jarvill and AMSEA. The Sitka School District has been sponsoring the program long enough, more than 30 years, that some parents on Thursday recalled their own third-grade survival experiences. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Virginia Lutz

Virginia (Ginny) Lutz

Virginia (Ginny) Lutz quietly passed away on January 24 at her home in Sitka. She was 58.

Ginny was born on October 13, 1958, in Marshall, Minn., to Charles H. Lutz Jr. and Lonita (Reding) Lutz. Following formative years at Holy Redeemer Elementary school, she graduated from Marshall High School and earned a BA in biology from Southwest Minnesota State University.

In the fall of 1986 she came to Sitka to study fisheries at Sheldon Jackson College. In July 1989 Ginny began her career at the USDA Forest Service as a cartographer using GIS to make maps of the Tongass National Forest. She performed that job until her retirement in May 2012. During her tenure with the Forest Service, she enjoyed and valued many coworkers from all over Southeast Alaska. She was a dedicated employee, conscientious and always a team player.

Ginny was unfailingly polite and self-effacing in her interactions, her family said. She had a smile for everyone and genuinely liked people. She entertained one and all with her humor. She was very private with her own life, but an attentive listener and cared deeply about other people. She was a kind and generous friend to many.

Ginny provided a wonderful example of how to live life to the fullest. She had always loved to travel and continued to do so in her retirement. Following her cancer diagnosis, she took advantage of medical trips to Seattle to explore the city and often added other destinations. She spent time in Interior Alaska, Arizona and Hawaii, and toured in China.

Ginny had a life-long love affair with bacon, ice cream, chocolate, and books. Computers … not so much. She disliked phoniness, TV commercials, fishy tasting fish, and politics.

She is survived by her father Charles of Marshall, Minn.; sister Maria Yablonka and husband Mike of Santa Ana, Calif.; niece Amanda Kor of Santa Ana; sister Margaret (Peggy) Granger and husband Chris, niece Grace Granger and nephew Caden Granger of Orange, Calif.; and companion, Margaret Andrews of Sitka.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Lonnie, and a nephew, Andrew.

Ginny was a life-long conservationist. She took every opportunity to be on the water. She hiked, picked up rocks and shells everywhere, watched birds, and photographed plants, wildlife, water and mountains in all the places she traveled. She suggested memorial donations to the Sitka Sound Science Center, 834 Lincoln Street, Suite 200, Sitka, AK 99835, or to the Ocean Conservancy, 1300 19th Street NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20036.


In keeping with Ginny’s wish for privacy, no formal services have been planned.

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