ON THE ROAD AGAIN – One of The RIDE buses goes down Katlian Street past the city boat grid this morning. After four months of being shut down because of antivirus precautions, the public transportation service resumed operations today. All routes remain the same except the Blue Line bus route, which now turns around at Whale Park instead of the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Dick Wilson Sums Up His ‘Good Long Life’

Dick Wilson

Okay folks. I made it to the age of 91, a good 32 years beyond the average expiration date that was estimated for me when I was born on July 22, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois.

That is a good long life  – though I would have preferred to stick around long enough to finish reading the Harry Potter books for the 50th time. Darn, I was sooo close. I will also miss watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune with my youngest daughter Linda and the nice phone calls I shared each night with my eldest daughter Carol who lives in Ketchikan. 

It was a good life. I joined the Marine Corps in June 1945 at the age of 17 and received an honorable discharge a year later. So off to college in Fort Collins, Colorado, I went and not only graduated with a degree in forestry, but met the love of my life and my forever hiking buddy, Doris Ann Baker. We both loved the mountains and spent a lot of time hiking and climbing. I was known to climb Long’s Peak on January 1 just to be the first person to the top that year. 

In 1949, I became a smoke jumper. Yep, not afraid to jump from a plane into a forest on fire. I was fit, young and sure of myself. I was the first person on the jump list on August 5, 1949, and I was sent out with one other smoke jumper in the smallest of our planes to locate the source of some smoke that had been reported. We never did find a fire, but landed back at our headquarters just as the DC-3, carrying 15 of my smoke jumping comrades, took off to fight the infamous Mann Gulch fire. My fate was to help recover the remains of the dead. I was the only one with a camera on site that day. Some of my photos were published in Life magazine, but I refused to sell the images of my friends, so horribly burned.

Luck had me surviving to marry Doris in 1950, and we set out together to build a family and a life within the culture of the U.S. Forest Service, which meant traveling to various posts in the National Forest system. We moved every few years and my posts included Enterprise, Oregon, where our son Fred was born; Ketchikan, where our daughter Carol was born; and Jamestown, California, where our daughter Linda was born.

Our family moved back to Alaska in 1970, and I made it my goal to retire within this state we loved so much.  

I retired in 1982 and settled with my wife in Sitka.  With so much time on my hands, I took up a new cause advocating for mental health services and mental health rights, particularly for children. I was a member of SAMI (Sitka Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), and was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Board on Mental Health. I thank the community of Sitka for honoring my efforts as a mental health advocate and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity serve the community.

In the end, I want you to know that I valued wilderness and the beauty of nature. That despite being a Marine and a Smokejumper, I was a gentle man who valued peace. I watched romantic comedies, collected and watched all the movie variations of the Cinderella fairy tale, and enjoyed rubbing cat bellies. Most importantly, I want you to know that I loved my family dearly and lived to meet three great-grandchildren who called me G-G-Pa!

Ah, life. It was a great adventure. And so on to the next adventure. 

I am survived by my dear daughters Carol Wilson and Linda Wilson, two beautiful granddaughters, Katherine Tatsuda and Robin Tatsuda, and three great-grandchildren, Desiree, Emily and Jack.



Richard Moore Wilson died Oct. 10, 2018 in Sitka.


After rising through the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service, Wilson ended his career as Chatham Area Supervisor of the Tongass National Forest, and chose Sitka as his home after retiring. In accordance with his wishes the family plans to have a private celebration of his life. In recognition of his love for children, the family suggests memorial contributions in his name be made to organizations that support youths and children.  



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-13-20)

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 10:30 a.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 60

Total statewide – 1,539

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 4 (2 resident; 2 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 14 (11 resident; 3 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 87.

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

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




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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