GREEN LIGHT – Karen Lucas works in her Katlian Street garden this afternoon. Warm sunny weather this spring has been a boon for local gardeners. The Farmers' Almanac is predicting this summer will be warmer than normal, with the hottest period in early July. (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. 



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 5-28-20)

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 10:55 a.m. Thursday.

New cases as of Wednesday: 13

Total statewide – 425

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 46, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

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



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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