OPENING SPLASH – Chaix Mooney shoots out of the water slide at the Mt. Edgecumbe Aquatic Facility Wednesday night. The pool was officially opened to the public Wednesday with an open swim. Scheduled public openings are lap swims on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 a.m.; and open swims 5-8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The pool has an eight-yard lap pool attached to a walk-in therapy area and diving well. Other features include a climbing wall, dual diving boards and a water slide. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Evelyn Jean Cici

Evelyn Jean Cici

    Early Saturday morning, January 6, Evelyn Jean Cici was taken home by the Lord. She drifted off to sleep and died peacefully with her daughter by her side, in her Sitka home.
    She was 77.
    She was born July 18, 1940, in Sitka, the daughter of Florence (Hayes) and Harold Donnelly. She graduated from Sitka High in 1958. She married Angelo Cici in December 1958 and lived in California until returning to Sitka in 1972, after their divorce.
    As a very young adult, Evelyn was diagnosed with mental illness, and she struggled every day. Longtime use of one medication caused permanent damage to her kidneys and 10 years ago was at stage five of renal failure. She rejected dialysis, which would have meant leaving Sitka, and once was given no more than two years to live.
    Despite the odds against her, she not only survived renal failure but many bouts of pneumonia, infections, a fractured hip, breast cancer, Parkinson’s and a host of other physical ailments.
    But she was a fighter, and amazed doctors and others at her resilience and strength. She always had faith that tomorrow would be a better day.; it always was for her.
    “We will miss her big beautiful smile, a gift straight from her heart,” her family said. “She was so loving and gave to those around her.”
    Evelyn was preceded in death by her parents; her brother,  Harold ”Bunny” Donnelly; and two granddaughters, Kahana Smisek and Charissa Cici.
    Surviving are her daughter, Angela Smisek of Silverado, Calif.; sons Joe Cici of Temecula, Calif., and Kelly Cici of Van Nuys, Calif.; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
     A remembrance service is planned for early spring. It will be announced later.

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