LOOKING AT PATHWAYS – Pacific High School freshman Virginia Lestenkoff, right, wears a police utility belt as she talks with Alaska Public Safety Academy Corporal Jonnathon Stroebele during the Pathways to Success Career Fair at the Sitka Cloud Teen Center Monday. Dozens of students attended the fair which was held as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day observation in Sitka. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Service Set Nov. 17 For Ethel L. Staton

Ethel Louise Staton

Episcopal services for Ethel Louise Staton will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, November 17,  2018, at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.  Reverend Julie Platson and Father David Elsensohn will officiate.
       The reception will be hosted by the Sitka Emblem Club after the service, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sitka Elks Lodge.
Ethel, 93, passed away quietly in her sleep, while visiting her son, Norm and family, in Juneau on November 7. Her ashes will be interred at St. Peter’s altar columbarium next to her husband, Norman Staton Sr.
 She was born on January 13, 1925, in Ketchikan, Alaska, to Robert and Mabel Milonich. Ethel is of Tsimshian Alaskan Native and Yugoslavian descent and was one of five sisters. Ethel grew up in Ketchikan, graduating as valedictorian of her senior class, and working in her father’s restaurants.
Her husband joined the U.S. Army and came to Alaska where he met Ethel, the love of his life.  They married in 1944 and began their love story for 51 years.
The family moved to Sitka in 1955 and purchased the Pioneer Grill on Katlian Street, and the Sitka Café on Lincoln Street. After selling those businesses they opened and operated Staton’s Steakhouse and Cocktail Lounge.
Norm and Ethel were a team. They tirelessly brought fine dining to Sitka and were known as premier restaurateurs in Southeast Alaska, catering to Sitkans,  Alaska Lumber and Pulp employees and dignitaries with banquets, parties, family dinners and many celebrations. Famous for Norm’s Fish and Chips, their full service, waterfront restaurant was the heart of many of the city’s social gatherings for 25 years on Harbor Drive.
 Norm and Ethel purchased Building 29 on Lincoln Street in 1985, one of the two oldest buildings on the west coast of the United States. After doing some remodeling and restoring, they opened The Log Cache Jewelry and Gift Store because they wanted to still be a part of Sitka’s history. 
Ethel’s passion was service as she leaves a legacy of Native leadership and community involvement. She served on the Shee Atiká Inc. Native Board for 36 years and was the founding member who wrote a personal check paying for the filing fee to incorporate on April 1, 1974. She served as board chairman from 1981 to 1984 and was granted the title of Chairman Emeritus and awarded the William Paul award upon her retirement in 2007.
As a tireless advocate for Shee Atiká through its most troubling times, a consistent voice of protecting the company’s assets, a firm supporter of extending scholarship benefits to present and future generations of shareholders, she personified the best of Shee Atika’s early leadership. She was proud of her grandson Heath, who is now serving on the Shee Atiká board.
Ethel also served on the Board of Governors for the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Commission of Judicial Conduct, and Sheldon Jackson College Board of Trustees, and was Past President of the VFW in Ketchikan, Past President of the Sitka Emblem Club 142, Past President of Beta Sigma Phi, XI Zeta Chapter, President of the Tsimshian Tribal Association of Sitka, the Board of Holland America and the Girl Scout Council.
In Ketchikan at St. Elizabeth’s and St. John’s Episcopal, in Sitka at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea churches, she served on the Altar Guild and Episcopal Church woman groups.
Ethel also received the title of Mrs. Sitka in 1968, showing her talents in sewing, flower arranging and copper tooling.
Her natural grace, elegance and impeccable appearance was what made her stand out, and she took each position giving 120 percent of her time and talents for the betterment of each organization she served.
Her mother and grandmother taught Ethel and her sisters, Pauline, Ena, Jackie and Shirley, to be Tsimshian ladies with class and dignity. A humorous fact her family reflects on: she owned multiple restaurants but couldn’t cook;  thank goodness Norm could.
Whether entertaining with friends at the restaurant  or family at home she knew how set the table, decorate and organize the festivity, hire the best people, do all the clean up, be the best hostess, all with a smile and at the same time looking like a million bucks.
Family will tell you it was a joy to come to Sitka to stay at their home and enjoy the love and laughter from morning to night. Grandchildren and great-grandchild stayed overnight, playing dress up, learning to play poker, singing, dancing, making popcorn, watching TV  cuddling on the couch or the big king size bed. Nieces and nephews came and stayed for months at a time, learning skills in the restaurant business. In Ethel and Norman’s home you were surrounded by love, respected for your ideas and given every opportunity to shine.
When her eyesight started to diminish from macular degeneration she had to give up all her service obligations and close the store. It was a difficult time for her.
Survivors include daughter Candi Barger of Sitka and son Norm Staton Jr., wife Donna of Juneau.
 Grandson Heath Barger, granddaughter Gerri Chambers, great-granddaughter Holly Chambers of Bellevue, Washington.
 Granddaughters Tess Staton (Kyle) of Juneau, Katie Staton-McCann (Justus) of Eugene, Oregon.
 Niece Michele Kohinka of Anchorage,
 Sister Shirley Robards and nephews Cliff (Tuffy) Robards, Robert Leighton (Terry, Caitlin, Garrett) of Sitka.
Nephews Ronnie Leighton, Ivan Leighton, Dominic Salvato; nieces Barbara Pierce, Sharon Thorne, Vida Conway and Donna Turner.
Caregivers Guadalupe Carlos, Janet Vidad and Caitlin Carlos.
Honorary pallbearers are Cliff (Tuffy) Robards, Michele Kohinka, Gerri Chambers, Heath Barger, Katie Staton McCann, Tess Staton, Holly Chambers and Ryan Staton (in memorium).
Correspondence can be sent to 228 Harbor Drive, Sitka, AK 99835.
Memorials may be made to St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church or a favorite charity.
“Our family would like to thank you all for your gestures of love, support, stories, kindness and prayers in memory of our mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and aunt,” her family wrote.

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