Shirley L. Burkhart Dies; Longtime Sitkan was 88

Shirley Louise Burkhart

Shirley Louise Burkhart, 88, of Sitka, passed away on August 10, 2023, surrounded by friends and family.

She was born on June 30, 1935, in Brownsville, Oregon, to Albert and Lois Richter.

Shirley was a beloved mother, known for her loving and caring nature. She was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.

Shirley’s children have fond memories of their father and the sawmill, and her son Karl recalls the sweet story of how their parents met. It was on a trip to the old dairy farm in his 1946 red Chevy truck, when their father pretended to run out of gas. It was then that he shared his first kiss with Shirley.

In addition to her role as a devoted mother, Shirley had a successful career. She worked at the Baranof school lunch program, Blatchley school, and Sitka Community Hospital as a cook. Shirley was also an entrepreneur, selling Avon, Tupperware, Shaklee vitamins, and Amway products.

Outside of her professional life, Shirley was an active member of various organizations. She was a member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, Women of the Moose, Sitka Emblem Club and the Sitka Woman’s Club. 

Shirley had a passion for bowling, and her father, Al Richter, sponsored a team called “Al’s Gals.”

Shirley will be deeply missed by her surviving family members, including her daughter and son-in-law Marilyn and William Wolf; sons Donald, Karl, David, Frank; and daughter-in-law Suzette, as well as daughter-in-law Michelle.

Niece Ronda and husband Roy Anderson and their children Lindsey and Elliott; niece Shirlene Jensen and daughter Nicole; and many others also survive, including her grandchildren Bill Wolf, Bekki and husband Michael Hatten, Karrie and husband Scott Wilkinson, Kyle Burkhart, Kara Burkhart, and Taylor Burkhart; and great-grandchildren Austin and wife Tiffany, Tristin, and Gannon Hatten, Hailey, Alyssa, Sarina, Haiden, and Brayden Wilkinson, Trenity, Titan, and Tabitha Griffin, Kylee Burkhart, and Wesley Jabbour.

Shirley’s legacy extends to her two great-great-grandchildren, Octavia Michlitsch and Oaklynn Hatten.

Shirley was preceded in death by her beloved husband Lewis (1919-2000) of 49 years, her parents Albert and Lois Richter, her son Ralph Burkhart, her sister Pat Arvin, and daughter-in-law Debi Burkhart.

Shirley Louise Burkhart will be remembered for her love, care, and dedication to her family and community. Her warm presence and kind spirit will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

A service and celebration of Shirley’s life will be held at a later date, to be announced. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to a charity of choice in Shirley’s memory.

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