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)

‘Buddy’ Howard Dies; Former Sitkan was 78

William Eli “Buddy” Howard

With his family at his side, William Eli “Buddy” Howard, journeyed to the other shore on June 4, 2020, in Anchorage. He was 78. He was comforted in life by his wife, Sandy Howard, and their children: Tommy Harrison, Lonnie Harrison, Danny Harrison, Julene Howard, John Howard, Nathan Howard, Gregory Wright, Keith Nelson, Jeffrey Devlin, Joshua Wright, and Patrick Howard. He was extremely committed to family being together.

Buddy was born March 10, 1942, and raised in Sitka; he was a Sitka High School alumnus. He served in the U.S. Army, returned to Southeast Alaska where he worked, raised his family, and honored his Tlingit culture.

His Tlingit name was Shaayi Éesh, of the L’uxnaxh.adi (Coho) clan from Kayaash Ka Hit. He is the child and grandchild of the Chookaneidi clan. He was a Hit S’aati (Clan House Caretaker) of the Mother Coho House in Sitka, and he provided clan leadership in Hoonah. He lived a subsistence lifestyle in Sitka and Hoonah.

Buddy’s jobs in Sitka included as a Teamster truck driver on the airport construction job; firefighter who battled the Sitka Cold Storage fire;  Anchor Taxi driver; and bartender at the American Legion, Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, and Ernie’s Old Time Saloon. 

He worked for the Alaska Marine Highway System and skippered the M/V Dolphin and the M/V Marmot,  buying fish for Wards Cove Packing Co. out of Excursion Inlet.

In Hoonah, where Buddy lived with his wife and family, he was an Icy Strait Point bus driver since Huna Totem Corporation’s tourist destination’s beginning days. He also delivered meals to elders and those in need for Catholic Community Services of Juneau.

While he was working a Sitka job, it was reported in the Nov. 27, 1961, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “A young couple and their four-year-old son undoubtedly owe their lives to the quick action of Daniel Cole, construction and maintenance superintendent at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. At 4:25 p.m. yesterday Cole with a fellow island employee, Buddy Howard, was working on a barge about 100 yards from the shore at Mt. Edgecumbe. Howard noted a boat in distress off the corner of the old pier at the island. Cole jumped into a skiff and as he rowed to the spot noted a man bobbing up and down in the cold waters of the channel. When he reached the area, however, the man was two feet under water and he used a fish net to drag him into the skiff. Then Cole started ashore, but the rescued man revived and cried out his wife and son were trapped in the cabin of the overturned 16-foot boat… Rescued were Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gillian of Sitka and their son, James.”

In his hometown of Sitka, Buddy was a member of the American Legion, Elks Lodge, and Moose Lodge.  He was a beloved St. Michael’s Cathedral Russian Orthodox Church member and an alter boy together with his cousin/brother, Leo Houston, Jr.

He was a shareholder of Sealaska Corp., Huna Totem Corp., and Shee Atiká Inc., having worked—and played Santa Claus—for Shee Atiká. He was enrolled at the Central Council of Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

Buddy was preceded in death by his parents: Eli and Margaret Howard, and Ed and Sarah James; daughter Ann Marie Howard; brothers John Smith Jr. and Robert Smith; cousin/brother Leo Houston, Jr. (born June 4); and many extended family members.

With his wife and children, Buddy leaves siblings Jimmy Howard of Arizona; Ann (Don) Armstrong, Soldotna; Mary I. Miller of Sitka; Walter Smith, Juneau; Norman Smith, Hoonah; and Carolyn Wichman, Kenai.

He also leaves his uncle and clan leader Herman Davis Sr., numerous grandchildren and  great-grandchildren, a large extended and loving family, and many friends who will always remember his strength and conviction, kind and loving character, brilliant smile, and caring nature. 

His family plans to release details of cultural services, church services and other plans later.  The family appreciates all prayers, thoughts, and support. Gunalcheesh.

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.