PERFECT WEATHER – Surfers assess the waves at Sandy Beach this morning. Waves were between 14- and 20-feet today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Shirley Dianne (Stokes) Demmert

Shirley Dianne (Stokes) Demmert died of a long illness on Sept. 1, 2017, at her home in Kingston, Wash. She was 73.


Shirley Demmert

Shirley was born in Bremerton, Wash., Sept. 13, 1943, to Lyle E. Stokes and Ellenor Isabelle (Lockrem) Stokes. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Ronnie and Robert Stokes, sister Joan (Stokes) Nygren, and granddaughter Mandy Ellen Demmert.

Shirley is survived by her husband of 53 years LeRoy C. Demmert, sons Wade C. Demmert and Casey L. Demmert; daughter Jill D. (Demmert) Miller and son-in-law Ryan Miller; daughters-in-law JoAnn (Swain) Demmert and Emily (Wedel) Demmert; brother Richard G. Stokes and wife Peggy; sister Jean A. (Stokes) Reimer and Jean’s husband Tom; brother-in-law Jim Nygren; and grandchildren Christina, Kwyn, Camille, Hunter, Asa, Silas and Trey.

Shirley lived in Albany, Oregon, graduated from Albany Union High School in 1961, went on to Seattle Pacific College and graduated in 1965 with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and English.

She began teaching in the Issaquah, Wash., School District and later the Mercer Island, Wash., School District.

When their first child Wade was born Shirley began to stay home to care for and raise her children. Daughter Jill was born in 1968 and son Casey born in 1972 in Portland, Ore.

The family moved to Sitka in August 1973, where Lee was an educator in the public schools and Sheldon Jackson College. When their youngest child began school, Shirley began teaching in the Adult Basic Education and ESL program at the University of Alaska campus in Sitka.

In 1987, she and two partners bought a bible book and gift store.  They named their store the Shepherd’s Heart.  Shirley eventually bought out the two partners and became sole owner/operator of the business. She loved operating the store, helping the customers, decorating the store routinely to attract customers and make it a successful small business.

Shirley’s devotion was to her family, friends, and her Christian faith, which she lived out daily.  She was an active member of the Sitka Church of the Nazarene and Sitka Christian Center Church, and volunteered at the Sitka Pregnancy Resource Center until they moved to Kingston in 1997.

Shirley with her family and friends thoroughly enjoyed the Sitka lifestyle of boating, camping, fishing and all the outdoors had to offer.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday 23, at the Bayside Community Church in Kingston, Wash., with a reception following.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to Pregnancy Resources Center in Bremerton, Wash. 

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 11-24-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:25 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 578

Total statewide – 27,669

Total (cumulative) deaths – 115

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 619

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 29

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 176 (155 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 147 cumulative

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




November 2000

Photo caption: A painting by the late Dr. Walt Massey hangs on the wall of the Pioneers Home dining room,. bringing smiles from home administrator Julie Smith and Massey’s son Brian and daughter-in-law Amy, the home’s dietary manager. The painting of early-day Sitka was done in 1971, the year Dr. Massey, an optometrist and artist, died. It originally hung in the Canoe Club and was given by the restaurant’s owner, Frank Richards, to local historian Joe Ashby, who gave it to the Pioneers Home.

November 1970

Photo  caption: Sitka High School band director James Hope receives a check for $2,000 from American Legion Post 13 Commander Carroll Kohler. The Legion had voted to contribute $1,000 for uniforms and the Auxiliary voted to match that amount. The check was presented at the Legion’s Veterans Day banquet.