FISH TO FLY – Charter clients claim their fish boxes at the Rocky Gutierrez Airport on Wednesday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson) 




‘Arnie’ Johnson Sr. Dies; Longtime Sitkan was 69

Arnold Walter Johnson Sr.

    Arnold Walter Johnson Sr., better known by family and friends as Arnie, passed away peacefully Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. He was 69.
    He was born March 7, 1949, to Mary B. John and George B. Johnson Sr. He spent  his childhood in Angoon, and graduated from high school in Chilocco, Oklahoma. During the summers before graduating he would fish on the Mary D. with Bobby Duncan.
    Although Arnie spent much of his younger years on the water, he never learned how to swim, but that didn’t keep him from doing what he loved – fishing. And the way he could bait his herring, it was like magic, family said.
    After graduating from high school, he spent some time in Juneau, and later made his way to Sitka, where he began working at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. There he met Elizabeth G. Gardner, and the two began their life together as husband and wife on Aug. 4, 1973, at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Sitka. Together they had five children, and raised them in Sitka.
    His family was very important to him, and he enjoyed taking them out fishing, to visit family in Angoon, and on walks through Totem Park.
    Among his other passions were basketball and pool. If you didn’t see him out on the court playing ball, you could  see him in the stands at MEHS supporting high school athletes, or in Juneau for Gold Medal. He loved the sport, and the importance of being a good teammate.
    Arnie also was well-known in the Greater Sitka Pool League. He played many years with the league, and formed many lifelong friendship doing so.
    As a father of five children, he took great pride in being able to hunt and gather the traditional Native foods for his family; and he was never opposed to sharing with friends.
    He also enjoyed fishing the Sitka Salmon Derby, and knew where and how to fish any spot around Sitka.
    Arnie is survived by his children, Arnold Johnson Jr. (Taija and Chelsea Johnson), Katherine Johnson (Shawn Beauchamp), Lydia Spethmann (David Bean and Dylan Spethmann, father Matt Spethmann), and Victoria Johnson; and grandchildren Hayley, Hadley and Cody Kane and Taylor Helgeson.
    He also is survived by his brothers, Leonard and Stanley Johnson; and sisters Grace Sharclane, Genevieve Willard, Lorena Macasiat, Annie Braley, Velma Paul and Georgia Johnson.
    He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth; his mother and father, Mary B. John and George B. Johnson Sr.; his daughter Dahlia “Dolly” Johnson; his brother George B. Johnson Jr.; and sister, Gloria Plumber.
    “Arnie always did what he could with what he had,” his family said. “And he always told his children, ‘Tell the ones you love that you love them, no matter what. Because tomorrow is promised to no one.’”
    A small memorial will be held at a later date.

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 6-17-21)

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 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 26

Total statewide – 67,936

Total (cumulative) deaths – 366

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,595

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Active cases in Sitka – 2

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 388 (339 resident; 49 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 386

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Tuesday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 5,318 (72%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,940 (66%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 77 percent of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





June 2001

When it comes to selling lots in the Gavan subdivision, the city has to look at the long-term picture, says City Planning Director Wells Williams. Since the 32 city-owned lots in the 69-lot subdivision went on sale in 1997; only 12 have sold. “We’d certainly like to sell a lot more,” Williams said.

June 1971

Myron J.  Oen, a Sitka High science teacher, has been accepted as a participant in the Academic Year Institute for Physics Teachers at Wisconsin State University.