FULL FIELD – Bathtub toy ducks float down Granite Creek toward a finish line at Halibut Point Recreation Area Saturday afternoon during the annual Sitka Rotary Club duck race. First place, two Alaska Airlines round-trip tickets, were won by Ron and Leah Kari. This year all 3,500 ducks were sold by June 14. Money raised at the event is donated to dozens of Sitka non-profits. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Florence Ruth Schutte

Services for Florence Ruth Schutte, a longtime Sitka resident, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Sitka Lutheran Church. Pastor Sandra Rudd will officiate.
A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge, hosted by Sitka Emblem Club.
Florence died Jan. 24 at the Sitka Pioneers Home. She was 86.
She was born March 27, 1926, to Edward and Florella (Curtis) Nelson in Monticello, Minn.  She was third of nine Nelson children.
Florence was raised during the Depression but that did not stop her family from being close and doing activities as a family.  Playing cards, board games, and visiting numerous aunts, uncles and cousins were highlights of a Depression-era country life.
    The family moved to Vancouver, Wash., in 1944 where she met a sailor, Wayne Phillips, a fisherman from Sitka.  They married and moved to Sitka in 1946, where Florence began her love affair with all things Sitka.  They fished on two boats, the Bonnie and the Florence. She loved commercial fishing and said, as hard as it was, it was easier than farming.
Florence missed her family and encouraged them to relocate to Sitka – and all but an older brother, Maurice, eventually did move here.
After her divorce from Wayne she met and married Marvin Schutte, who was doing construction at  the Alaska Pulp Mill.  Since his job in construction required a lot of moving, Florence had a “pre-nup” with Marvin promising her they would return to Sitka as soon as possible.  Marvin kept that promise and they did return in 1972.
Florence worked as a secretary at Alice Island Elementary School, where she was beloved by the teachers and pupils for her warmth and humor.
She retired in 1988, when Marvin became ill. He died in 1989.
Florence and widower Russell Betterton found each other and began a companionship that spanned more than 20 years, and they entered the Pioneers Home together in 2009.
Florence was active in many community groups: Pioneers of Alaska, Sons of Norway, Pioneers Home Auxiliary, a lifetime member of Emblem Club, Women of the Moose, Unitarian Fellowship and the Woman’s Club, to name a few.
She volunteered tirelessly over many years at the Senior Center and the Pioneers Home, where her caring and sense of fun were appreciated. She had some great stories told to her by the early pioneer residents.
She was the recipient of many awards for her volunteer work including Citizen of the Year from the Elks Lodge and the First Lady’s Volunteer Award for service to her community and Alaska from Susan Knowles, in 1997.
    Florence always carried a photo of Cross Mountain and she would corral tourists to tell them about Sitka and especially Cross Mountain.
    No story about Florence would be complete without mentioning her famous cinnamon rolls.  She would rise at 4 a.m. to start the rolls, and would share them everywhere.  Oh, how everyone loved those rolls!
Florence did pass on the recipe and the process to her niece Debby.  She watched Debby make them until satisfied that all was as it should be.
If you weren’t getting a cinnamon roll when you met Florence, chances are you would get a joke.  Florence loved humor and her repertoire of jokes was vast. Florence’s sense of humor got her, and many others, through some tough times.
Florence was preceded in death by her parents and six siblings:  Maurice, Agnes, Leonard, Louise Bagley, Allan, and Eleanor Bergwall.
Her brother Richard (Faye) Nelson of Sitka, sister Mary Allred of Vancouver, Wash., and loving companion and best friend Russell Betterton survive her.
Also mourning her loss are 20 nieces and nephews and their families.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Brave Heart Volunteers, PO Box 6336, Sitka.



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-6-20)

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 1:25 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 28

Total statewide – 1,166

Total (cumulative) deaths – 16

Active cases in Sitka – 6 (3 resident; 3 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 74.

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 sitkasentinel.com. 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.                                                                          

Login Form