PAINTING WEATHER – Downtown Sitka is pictured from the vantage point of commercial painter Keith Fredrickson’s 60-foot man lift today. Fredrickson Painting Inc. was taking advantage of the partly sunny weather to get a coat of paint on the Sitka Hotel, foreground, today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Althea Buckingham Dies; Former Resident was 97

Althea Rebecca Buckingham


Althea Rebecca Buckingham passed away May 13, 2020, in Puyallup, Washington, at the age of 97.

She was born on Oct. 31, 1922, to Clarence and Hopewell Rands in Corvallis, Oregon. Because of the Depression the family moved to Juneau, Alaska, in 1935, where her parents ran a boarding house to make ends meet.  She and her sisters, Margaret and Barbara, helped their mother with cleaning and cooking until the family again moved in 1938 to Sitka, where Clarence had accepted a job as manager of the retail yard of Columbia Lumber Company.   

Althea graduated from Sitka High School in 1940 and went on to college at Oregon State University in Corvallis.  She transferred to the University of Washington in 1943 but returned to Sitka in 1945 before she completed her degree.  She married Fred A. Shabo on Nov. 1, 1946, in St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. This union produced four children; Kenneth Duane, Frederick Wakefield, Rebecca Jeanne and Deborah Ann.  Because Mr. Shabo was a chief warrant officer in the Coast Guard, the family moved around the country quite often, but Althea was able to bring her children home to Sitka for extended visits when her husband was deployed.

In 1959 Althea and her children moved home to Sitka, where she worked for her parents at the Market Center and Sitka Music Store (later Random House).  In 1962 she married Sherman T. Buckingham and after a short stay in Washington State the family lived in Sitka, where Althea worked as an accountant for Sheldon Jackson College.  When they relocated to Walla Walla, Washington, in 1966, she worked as an accountant for Walla Walla Community College.

After Mr. Buckingham’s death in 1968 Althea remained in Walla Walla until her children finished college in 1972, and then made another move to Wisconsin, where she went back to school and studied to become a certified occupational therapy assistant.  She accepted an OTA job in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where she remained until she retired and returned to Sitka in 1988. 

Althea was very active in community service. She founded the Sitka Assembly’s Commission on Aging, served on the Commission of Health Needs and Community Services and the Sitka Community Hospital Board and also participated in Sitka’s Faith in Action and Brave Heart Volunteers.  Her favorite volunteer activity was sharing Sitka with the many visitors at the cruise ship docks while working with the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In 2006 Althea made her final move to Puyallup, to be near family and medical services.

She is survived by her sisters, Barbara Hames of Sitka and Margaret Morrison of Watsonville, California; her four children, Duane Shabo (Sue) of Lake Tapps, Washington, Rick Shabo (Suzy) of Camano Island, Washington, and Becky Brown (Earl) and Debby Wade (Ken) of Puyallup;  nine grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Because of the current restrictions in place as a result of the pandemic, memorial services for Althea will be scheduled in Sitka at a later date.

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 5-8-21)

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 11:50 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 114

Total statewide – 66,120

Total (cumulative) deaths – 343

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,508

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 7

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 367 (321 resident; 46 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 359

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

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

Partially vaccinated – 4,898 (70.469%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,486 (64.56%)

Total population (16+) –6,949

Sitka has vaccinated (with at least one dose) 1,249 (84.51%) 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:





May 2001

Richard Nelson, Alaska writer and cultural anthropologist, will be speaker at the University of Alaska Southeast, Sitka Campus, commencement exercises at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School

May 1971

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game announced today that the 100-ton herring quota in District 13, outside of the Sitka Sound area, has been harvested. The 750-ton quota for Sitka Sound was taken by April 7.