SWEET – Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School students Karmen Kane, right, and Sophia Stark make chocolate-dipped strawberries Wednesday night during the Keet Family Night. Hundreds attended the event, which included a chili dinner, activities and heart-shaped cookies. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

John Everson Dies at 68; Services Set for Jan. 20

John Matthew Everson

John Matthew Everson, longtime Sitka resident, passed away peacefully in Seattle on Dec. 31, 2018, surrounded by his family. 


 He was born in San Francisco, California, on July 6, 1950, to Joseph and Virginia Everson, the fourth of ten children. He attended St. Gabriel’s Elementary School in San Francisco and  Salesian High School in Watsonville, California., and graduated from UC Berkeley with a psychology degree.

He spent many years in northern California where he met his future wife, Marnie Chapman, and began his medical career by working as an EMT/ambulance driver in Fall River Mills. He and Marnie lived in Round Mountain, Eureka and Trinidad. Health care, especially emergency medicine, was his calling. He returned to school, attending College of the Redwoods, Foothill College and Stanford University to become a physician assistant (PA).  His work as a PA brought him and Marnie to Alaska in the 1980s, first to Bethel then to Skagway, where he ran the health care clinic and was elected to city council.

He moved to Sitka in the 1990s to work with the SEARHC Community Health Aide Program Training Center. He was a UA faculty member and later was director of the Training Center, taking great satisfaction in helping people from throughout Alaska become community health aides/practitioners.

John retired at age 62.

John was devoted to his family; they were the joy of his life. Laura was born in 2000 and Sally and Theo in 2006. John enjoyed camping, fishing, daily walks with the dog, reading, travel and other adventures with his family. His greatest pleasure was simply being with his kids, supporting them and helping them go about their daily routines.

John and Marnie shared their love for over 30 years, and his memory will live on with Marnie and his three children, Laura, Sally and Theo; brothers Martin Everson, Daniel Everson, Thomas Everson, Timothy Everson and Reverend Joseph Everson III, M.M.; sisters Jane Everson, Joan Everson, Mary Garner, and Theresa Everson; brother-in-law Dennis Garner; sisters-in-law Lucille Everson, Sharon Everson and Li Ping Everson; mother-in-law Toni Diaz; brother-in-law Marlon Sloan; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.  

In remembrance, John’s family encourages people to support blood drives and consider becoming part of Be The Match: The National Marrow Donor Program. His family is forever grateful to the many friends who stood by them and supported them throughout John’s long, brave battle against myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).


Memorial services will be Sunday, Jan. 20. All are welcome to join any part of the service and to share memories and photos. “We will start with a walk through Sitka National Historical Park,” the family said. “Meet at the Visitor Center at 1 p.m. Dress for the weather. Dogs and kids are encouraged.” Services continue at 2:30 pm in Sweetland Hall at the Sitka Fine Arts Campus followed by a community potluck reception in the same location at 3:30 p.m.  Those wanting more information may call Clarice Johnson, 738-2601.

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