OPEN AIR CONCERT – From left, musicians Ross Venneberg, Brian Neal, Wade Demmert and Roger Schmidt perform an outdoor brass concert for residents of the Pioneers Home Monday. The professional musicians, who are hunkered down in Sitka, are regulars at the annual Holiday Brass Concert. The Pioneers Home has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Delores L. Barker

Delores Lavon Barker, who enjoyed her life in Sitka for  more than 45 years, died Feb. 23 at the Sitka Pioneers home. She was 88.
At her request, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the White Elephant shop.
Delores was born July 24, 1924, in Elizabeth, Ill., to Henry and Clara Koehn. She left Illinois at age 19 to become a welder for Boeing in Washington state, to do her part for the war effort.  She later worked as a waitress in Redmond, Wash., where Mr. Fred Barker took her under his wing and introduced her to the love of her life, and future husband of 62 years, Ernest “Brick” Barker.
After Ernest was discharged from the Army, they moved to Issaquah,  Wash., where they had the first three of their six children; after settling in Kirkland, Wash., they had the last three children.
During this time Delores was a dedicated mother, wife and homemaker.  She also returned to school to complete her high school education and classes in accounting and bookkeeping.
In 1968 her brother-in-law called from Sitka for the family to join them for construction work, Ernest came and Delores and three children soon followed, and so began the Barker love affair with Alaska!
Delores and Ernest bought Island Taxi, and the family business employed all the children and many of the grandchildren for more than 14 years. She worked as the bookkeeper, dispatcher and overall caretaker of the many family and friends who worked there through the years.
Additionally, Delores and Ernest founded Barkers Auto Repair, which is still in operation today.
Delores’s passion, when it came to work, was her volunteer work at the White Elephant, a foundation that not only allowed her access to the community she loved but had assisted her in the emergency care of one of her young children.
Upon her “retirement,” Delores enjoyed working part time for Avis and worked four summers managing Avis in Skagway, much to the delight of fellow Sitkans who had summer businesses in Skagway.
Her next love was watching her beloved Atlanta Braves with her loving husband Ernie.
“Grandma never met a bad person, she could find beauty in anyone and anything – her love and kindness knew no bounds,” her family said.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Ernest Barker; her parents, Clara and Henry Koehn; and her siblings, Clayton Koehn and Dorothy Paup.
She is survived by her six children Larry Barker (Marilyn), Linda Barker-Olsen (Eric) and Patrick Barker (Martha), all of Sitka; Tammy Barker of Tacoma, Wash., Lori Barker (Joey) of Haines and Martin John Barker of Sitka; and a sister Bernice Boots of Iowa.
She is also survived by grandchildren Shelley Gillaspey, Victoria Echols, Angela Delores Mellen, Richard Littlefield, Erica Jones, Denise Heckman, Patrick Barker Jr., Michelle Barker, Melanie Barker, Aaron Weddel, Nolan Weddel and Joshua Beckett. 
She is also survived by 31 great grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren; and many, many nieces and nephews.
Delores Lavon Barker was an accomplished poet, musician, artist and writer who touched so many with her kind and beautiful words.  But most of all she was a devoted mother, grandmother and friend. She will be missed by all ....



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-7-20)

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 p.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Sunday: 19

Total statewide – 1,184

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (3 resident; 5 non-resident)

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

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 78.

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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