ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Althea Buckingham Dies; Former Resident was 97

Althea Rebecca Buckingham


Althea Rebecca Buckingham passed away May 13, 2020, in Puyallup, Washington, at the age of 97.

She was born on Oct. 31, 1922, to Clarence and Hopewell Rands in Corvallis, Oregon. Because of the Depression the family moved to Juneau, Alaska, in 1935, where her parents ran a boarding house to make ends meet.  She and her sisters, Margaret and Barbara, helped their mother with cleaning and cooking until the family again moved in 1938 to Sitka, where Clarence had accepted a job as manager of the retail yard of Columbia Lumber Company.   

Althea graduated from Sitka High School in 1940 and went on to college at Oregon State University in Corvallis.  She transferred to the University of Washington in 1943 but returned to Sitka in 1945 before she completed her degree.  She married Fred A. Shabo on Nov. 1, 1946, in St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. This union produced four children; Kenneth Duane, Frederick Wakefield, Rebecca Jeanne and Deborah Ann.  Because Mr. Shabo was a chief warrant officer in the Coast Guard, the family moved around the country quite often, but Althea was able to bring her children home to Sitka for extended visits when her husband was deployed.

In 1959 Althea and her children moved home to Sitka, where she worked for her parents at the Market Center and Sitka Music Store (later Random House).  In 1962 she married Sherman T. Buckingham and after a short stay in Washington State the family lived in Sitka, where Althea worked as an accountant for Sheldon Jackson College.  When they relocated to Walla Walla, Washington, in 1966, she worked as an accountant for Walla Walla Community College.

After Mr. Buckingham’s death in 1968 Althea remained in Walla Walla until her children finished college in 1972, and then made another move to Wisconsin, where she went back to school and studied to become a certified occupational therapy assistant.  She accepted an OTA job in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where she remained until she retired and returned to Sitka in 1988. 

Althea was very active in community service. She founded the Sitka Assembly’s Commission on Aging, served on the Commission of Health Needs and Community Services and the Sitka Community Hospital Board and also participated in Sitka’s Faith in Action and Brave Heart Volunteers.  Her favorite volunteer activity was sharing Sitka with the many visitors at the cruise ship docks while working with the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In 2006 Althea made her final move to Puyallup, to be near family and medical services.

She is survived by her sisters, Barbara Hames of Sitka and Margaret Morrison of Watsonville, California; her four children, Duane Shabo (Sue) of Lake Tapps, Washington, Rick Shabo (Suzy) of Camano Island, Washington, and Becky Brown (Earl) and Debby Wade (Ken) of Puyallup;  nine grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Because of the current restrictions in place as a result of the pandemic, memorial services for Althea will be scheduled in Sitka at a later date.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

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 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

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 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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