FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Leslie Sewell

Services have been scheduled for Leslie Earl Sewell, a Pioneers Home resident who died Feb. 8.
Sitka Christian Center will hold a memorial service 1:30 p.m. Feb. 16, at the Sitka Pioneers Home chapel.
 Les was born on April 12, 1936, in Prattville, Ala. Right after Alaska became a state, in 1959, he and his brother Frederick went to Fairbanks, where they had a printing business, with government contracts at Ft. Wainwright and Elmendorf Air Force bases.
Les moved his wife and four children from Alabama to Fairbanks to make their home, later settling on Badger Road in North Pole.
Les was a great fly fisherman, upholsterer, gardener and woodworker, carving such pieces as walking canes from diamond willow, his family said. “He truly made his own kind of music under the Midnight Sun,”
Les joined the Sitka Pioneers Home family on March 21, 2002.
Family connections were important to Les and he kept in touch with family members by phone and mail, sharing his counsel, advice and love.
He was also very connected with his Sitka Christian Center “family” and really enjoyed going to church mid-week and Sunday.
He was an active member of the Pioneers of Alaska.
He highly respected children and never wanted to hear people calling them “kids,” which he deemed disrespectful.
Les was gracious to others and appreciative of what others did for him. He enjoyed taking trips to the White Elephant Shop, in addition to roaming the Pioneers Home in his electric wheelchair and socializing with other residents.
“His artistic creations, generous spirit, friendly smile and genteel attitude will be missed by everyone who knew him,” friends at the home said.
Les was preceded in death by his loving wife Jackie and a son, Stephen.
He is survived by his daughters, Valerie Cugini, of Denver, Colo., and Nita Armstrong of Fairbanks; son Clarence (Ellen) Sewell of  Purcell, Okla.; grandchildren Steve, April, Kent, Josh, Tamara, Jackie and Kelsey; and five great-grandchildren.

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