David D. Wallen Dies; SE Fisherman was 79

David Dodsworth Wallen

David Dodsworth Wallen, a loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend, passed away on September 23, 2023, surrounded by his family, at Evergreen Health Center in Kirkland, Washington. He was 79.

David was born December 25, 1943, in Macomb, Illinois, the oldest of eight children born to Glenn and JoAnne (Dodsworth) Wallen. He graduated from Western High School in Macomb in 1961, and attended the University of Washington, receiving his bachelor of science degree in oceanography, and later working as a oceanographic research assistant while pursuing a PhD in oceanography at the University of Alaska. 

He married Judith Ann Harris (Aurora Ann Fox) in 1968 and they had two children, Serenity Gray (Wallen) and Kesia Micheletti (Wallen). They divorced in 1994, and in 2014, he married Tikvah Melara.

David was a Southeast Alaska legend and “highliner” among fellow fishermen and the fisheries, long-lining for halibut and black cod, and tendering salmon. He worked alongside his first wife Judith, on the F/V Yahli, R/V Aleutian Tern, and F/V Torun, and was captain and co-owner (along with Tom Greer) of the F/V Kesia Dawn in Alaska for 40 years until his retirement in 2011.

He modeled a strong work ethic, and mentored and supported many young fishermen over the years. 

For 39 years he lived in Port Alexander, where he was an active member of the community, giving back to the small, remote community in hand and heart in many roles – such as mayor, city council member, water quality management, handyman, electrician, and assistant in just about any project someone needed help with.

Later he moved to Petersburg, where he again became an active and beloved community member. He volunteered at the local Humane Society and served as president of the Petersburg Community Foundation. In 2017, David, along with his wife Tikvah, moved to Bothell, Washington, and lived there until his passing.

His surviving children have fond memories of him sitting on his back porch observing nature, taking coffee breaks over games of cribbage, chopping wood, hunting for blueberries, mushrooms and beach asparagus, followed by long days of canning, helping with math homework, doing house projects, drinking double tall mochas and eating ice cream, as well as attending Cirque Du Soleil and Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts.

He was proud to walk his two daughters and his “bonus daughter” Danelle (Hein) Gundersen down the aisle on their wedding days.

David loved all animals, especially cats and dogs, and adopted many of them over the years. He also was an avid stamp collector, and was full of curiosity and wonder with all things natural (earth, waterways, and especially the cosmos), including keeping his young daughters up late with hot cocoa to watch Hailey’s Comet pass over. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Marilyn Wallen, and brother Richard Wallen.

He is survived by his children, Serenity (and Kyle) Gray of Kirkland, Washington, Kesia (and Dustin) Micheletti of Bellingham, Washington, and Danelle (and David) Gundersen of Bothell; grandchildren Caden and Easton Gray, and Jasper and Aram Micheletti; his wife Tikvah Wallen and her three children, Ya’akov Melara, Katerinne Melera and Eliezer Melara, all of Bothell.

He is also survived by his five siblings, Marsha (and Thomas) Bleedorn of Wildwood, Missouri; Micheal (and Carol) Wallen of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Barbara (and Conrad) Minor of Lovettsville, Virginia; Janis (and Greg) Ford of Versailles, Illinois; Jeff Wallen of Blandsville, Illinois, and Maureen (Richard’s wife) Wallen of Macomb,  Illinois.

Twelve nieces and nephews, and nine great-nieces and great-nephews also survive.

Donations in David’s name can be made to the Petersburg Humane Association, https://www.petersburghumane.org.

Login Form




At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

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 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






October 2003

Sitka’s new city engineer, Dan Jones, 51, says his nearly 30 years in the field has given him qualifications for all aspects of his new post. ... He replaces Milt Ludington, who has moved to a different position in the city public works department.



October 1973

One of the most active organizations around town this fall has been the Sitka High Drill Team, the Wolverettes. A spaghetti feed Saturday is the latest project.


Local Events


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Instagram!


Daily Sitka Sentinel on Facebook!