CHECKING IT OUT – Fia Turczynewycz, a visitor from Ohio, walks her dog,  Mani, past the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center this morning. Tlingit master carver Tommy Joseph’s newly completed yellow cedar Waas’go pole, pictured in the background, was moved out of the park’s carving shed Thursday to make room for Joseph’s latest project – carving a Tlingit canoe with the aid of an apprentice. Joseph’s Waas’go pole is the third version of the Haida pole in the past century – a reproduction of a reproduction made in the 1930s by George Benson, which is placed inside the visitor center. Rangers are working on approval for a location along the park’s trail system for the new pole. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Geraldine Kennedy, 96, Dies at Her Sitka Home

Geraldine (Geri) Isabelle Kennedy

Geraldine (Geri) Isabelle Kennedy, 96, died at her Sitka home of age-related causes on May 15, 2020.

She was born at home, in Wrangell, on December 24, 1923, to Nettie (Carrasco) and Paul Young Jones. Vital Statistics says Dec. 21, but her family all swear by Dec. 24.  She was the fifth of seven kids – her siblings were Harold, Pauline, Irene, Ernestine (Babe), Frank and Maxine.

Geri’s primary school years were spent in various boarding schools in Southeast Alaska, always with a sibling or two.  She graduated in Ketchikan in 1941, then attended one year of school at Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas.

After World War II, she married William (Bill) Kennedy, also of Ketchikan, on June 15, 1946, at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on Woodland Avenue.

Geri worked retail jobs, child care for various friends and relatives, and at Fidalgo Cannery for many summers through the 1970s. 

She was not a member of any local clubs or organizations, but she did re-discover her Native culture in the early 1980s. She learned every craft that offered a class; NW Coast basketry, carving, design (formline), engraving, weaving, and regalia-making. Her basketry skills were very appreciated by many, for many years. Liked and loved by just about anyone she met throughout her life, she always had a smile to share, and was good with a surprise occasional one-liner when dealing with life’s challenges

Geri was preceded in death by all of her immediate family, parents and siblings, her husband William (in 1995), and her son Billy (in 1962).

She is survived by her three daughters and one son; Joanna Hendricks (William Kendricks) of Ketchikan, Arlene Kennedy of Sitka, Susan LaFray David LaFray) of Boise, Idaho, and Rob Kennedy (Ann Ludeman Kennedy) of Port Orchard, Washington.

Numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews, and many others who knew her affectionately as “Aunty Geri” also survive.


No funeral or memorial services are scheduled at this time. Memorial plans for Ketchikan and Seattle will be announced when made.

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 9-17-21)

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 10:47 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 875

Total statewide – 96,002

Total (cumulative) deaths – 454

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 2,207

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 14 new COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 187.73 per 100,000 population. Alert status will be high until the rate per thousand is below 100. Case statistics are as of Thursday.

New cases in Sitka – 5

Cases in last 7 days – 16

Cumulative Sitka cases – 946

Positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 9/10/21 – 1,090

Deceased (cumulative) – 3

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Friday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 6,132 (83.03%)

Fully vaccinated – 5,991 (81.12%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 89.85 percent of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





September 2001

Alaska Pacific Bank has opened an account for donations to be directed to the families of the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11. The account has been opened with a $2,000 contribution from the bank and an anonymous donor.

September 1971

At the Sitka Historical Society’s meeting Sunday, Mrs. Esther Billman of Sheldon Jackson College presented a “surprise package” of recent donations to the Sheldon Jackson Museum by Mr. Hugh Brady, youngest son of former Territorial Gov. John Brady.