VIGIL – More than 300 people share seven minutes of silence on Totem Square during a vigil for George Floyd, who died last week while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The large turnout for event made it difficult for participants to maintain the six-foot social distance that organizers had hoped for. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Bob Benton


Bob Benton

Longtime Sitka resident Pastor Bob Benton died peacefully at home on March 1. He was 69.

A going-home celebration service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at the Presbyterian Church. A reception will follow at the church’s Latta Hall.

Bobby Jean Benton was born, in his words “at a very young age” in East Tallassee, Alabama, arriving at Elmore Hospital to meet his new family at 5:25 a.m. on May 1, 1948. He was taken home by a very excited mother, where he joined a brother, William Thomas Benton, called Tommy.

He joined a unique family in the small mill town of Carville, Alabama. What made the family unusual was that Bob’s great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother all lived together. 

When Bob was about 4, his mother married Harold Ledbetter. They lived in Carville for about three years, before Harold moved the family to Liberty City, Alabama, to work on his father’s  farm.

Bob attended Reeltown High School in Notasulga, Alabama, and graduated from Macon Academy near Tuskegee. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1966, and was stationed in Anchorage, as a guided missile equipment repairman.

While in the Army, he met Flo Larsen in Seward, at the Army Recreation camp there. Upon his honorable discharge, he continued to pursue her, and they were married on Dec. 21, 1969, in Notasulga, Alabama.

Bob graduated from the American Institute of Banking at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1972. With high recommendations from his employer at National Bank of Alaska, Anchorage, Bob accepted a position as assistant branch manager of National Bank of Alaska (now Wells Fargo Bank) in Sitka in 1973. During their time in Sitka, he supported many community activities.

The family moved back to Anchorage where Bob attended the Charismatic Bible School in Anchorage and was ordained a pastor in 1978. They moved back to Sitka in May of 1978. Bob was blessed to serve for 39 years in the pulpit of the Sitka Christian Center, which he founded.

Bob and Flo are privileged to have four children, who can do no wrong.

Bob was informed in June 2017 that he had inoperable liver cancer.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Flo Benton; their four children, Jena Lasley (Matthew) and Carrie King (Dale) of Anchorage, and Andy Benton and Brian Benton of Sitka; and two granddaughters, Eva King and Beatrice King of Anchorage.





Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 6-2-20)

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 10:20 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 20

Total statewide – 487

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 47, 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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